Should Youth Lift Weights?
Should Youth Lift Weights?
Some even say to me, “I don’t want my youth lifting weights“. This is a trap question and statement. My answer is “I don’t know”. I won’t know if they will be able to lift weights until they go through our movement and physical checklist. And this is where the hesitation is with parents. They hear the horror stories from other parents in the community that have been with trainers and coaches that really didn’t know what they were doing so the parents generalize the situation and want to protect their child. Which is completely understandable.
Should youth lift weights? The right answer is some youth can lift weights and some youth shouldn’t lift weights. In my 15+ yrs experience with youth and strength and conditioning I could guess that most shouldn’t lift because of their lack of movement skills and training experience in these settings. But there are always exceptions. Most of the time, after 3-6 months of movement training and body weight training these youth athletes would be able to lift weights.
The reality is weight lifting is one of the safest things a person can do. In fact, some of today’s youth need weight training. The question is ,”How do you know its okay for your youth to lift weights?” Here are the steps that MVP Training recommends…
- Find a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) that trains youth athletes. A coach that trains professional athletes is NOT what you are looking for! You don’t send your athlete to an adult doctor and you shouldn’t send them to a performance coach that trains adults either. Youth athletes have certain movement and injury issues and coaches that specialize in youth can help
- Get a Movement Screen. This is the first sign that you have gone to the right place. If they screen every athlete their motives are in the right place. The performance coach should give your child some test that require them to balance and bend in positions that athletes are good in. If they don’t do that well they DONT need to be doing any of that resistance training or lifting.
- Watch the workouts with the athletes. Are all the athletes doing the same thing or are different level athletes doing different lifts?
- Do your research on the coach. What kind of background do they have? Being a professional athlete is NOT good enough. Education is very important. What are they doing to continue their education and learn?
- It will stunt my child’s growth
- It will reduce performance. I get this from parents that have a pitcher, quarterback, or some type of thrower.
- It makes my child slower
- My child will gain weight
- Today’s youth needs resistance more than they did in the past because of their lack of physical movement throughout the day. It is important to be more efficient for physical activity days. Resistance training is one of the ways we can be more efficient and affect growth and movement patterns quicker.
- Helps stabilize joints. Youth joints are very vulnerable to injury because of the growth plates. Wikipedia defines the growth plate or epiphyseal plate as, “The epiphyseal plate (or epiphysial plate, physis, or growth plate) is a hyaline cartilage plate in the metaphysis at each end of a long bone. The plate is found in children and adolescents; in adults, who have stopped growing, the plate is replaced by an epiphyseal line.”
- Creates stronger neuromuscular patterning and signaling for coordination and balance.
Other Resources That Parents Can Use For Youth Lifting Programs…
We always recommend Dr Reed Estes (Leader in Pediatric Orthopedic Medicine)
Great Article on Youth Performance Training
Injury Statistics, Tips, and More Info