THE ANSWER IS YES...
BUT KEEP READING !!!
This is a question I have been asked by parents many times over the years and my answer is always the same: YES!. Weight training has not been shown to stunt the growth of children, and actually promotes the growth of healthy and strong bones in addition to many other benefits.
In my experience, parents' main concern for their children when it comes to weight training in a gym is the potential to break a bone or growth plate. While the concern is valid, if a child is in a controlled environment, with a good coach who has experience working with kids, and the child is coachable, then the risk is extremely minimal. In fact, kids are more susceptible for injury while playing their sport without proper strength training. This is largely in part because of the many benefits strength training has to offer such as:
In addition, when comparing sports and number of injuries sustained in those sports, weight lifting does not make the top list of sport related injuries according to Stanford Children's Health. According to Stanford, the sports that have children sustain the most injuries are:
While most of the sports in this list are organized, there is still risk of injury in even unorganized sport as indicated by the list above. So if the risk is so minimal for weight training and kids, why are parents so concerned?
Again, in my experience, when parents approach me about weight training for their children they are quick to mention, “but just not crossfit.” It is very common now for parents to think of or maybe even expect a crossfit style environment when they walk into some gyms. As I mentioned earlier, children should be training in a controlled environment, with an experienced coach and in a private or semi-private setting. The coach needs to have a plan and be able to explain and demonstrate to children how to perform various movements. Typically this is done first under no weight or very little weight. As the child progresses over time, the difficulty and intensity of the exercises can increase should the child demonstrate proper form with little deviation.
After looking at the risks of children playing in both organized and unorganized sport vs weight training, it is easy to see that in the proper setting, weight training offers very minimal risk to children and is safe. In fact, the benefits of weight training can even decrease the risk of injury associated with most sports by creating better, stronger, healthier athletes in children.
Author: Annemarie Alf
"We Specialize In Optimizing Teen And Active Adult Lives In North County San Diego By Addressing The WHOLE Person. We offer A Holistic, Integrative Approach To Performance And Wellness That Will Assess And Address The Root Causes That Lead To Pain, Hormonal Imbalances, Fatigue, Weight Gain And/ Or Decreased Performance."