Does Resistance Training Stunt Growth in Teenagers?
Updated: Sep 15, 2019
Many have heard the common myth: lifting weights stunts your growth.
Resistance training is actually recommended as an integral component of any regular exercise program. Goals of the program can vary, which can include to improve muscle strength, increase power, increase muscle bulk, enhance muscle endurance, or a combination of these goals. Athletes have RT programs that are specifically tailored to their aerobic and anaerobic demands from their relative sport, in addition to the amount of importance placed on achieving muscle strength, power, endurance, or hypertrophy. It is crucial that an athlete's training program is designed and tailored to the athlete's needs and is supervised by a qualified professional.
As an integral component of sport specific training, RT can improve psychosocial well-being, sport performance, and overall strength. Despite what many have heard, RT actually poses minimal risk of injury to adolescents. Most of the injuries that occur are a result of overload or improper exercise techniques from a lack of proper supervision. According to Dilip R. Patel MD of Pediatric Clinics of North America, RT has not been shown to affect skeletal growth or maturation in adolescents. There is concern for the prevalence of lower back pain in adolescents that engage in RT, however, it is easy to prevent injury with a properly designed program that focuses on strength and flexibility.
Before Adolescents Begin...
In order to begin an RT program, the adolescent should be evaluated based on their experience with RT, where a program is designed based on the adolescent's experience and current physical fitness. Novices or beginners have <2 to 3 months to no resistance training experience, intermediates have 3 to 12 months of experience, while advanced RT adolescents have 12 or more months of training experience. Factors that guide the design of an RT program include proper warm-up and cool-down periods, level of intensity, frequency of training sessions, order of exercises, volume of exercise, and rest periods.