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Is Strength Training Safe For Kids?

Written By Jayme Pantekoek | Published Oct 31st 2021

A question that many parents have is whether strength training is safe for kids. As a parent, I completely understand the concern. But as a veteran strength coach, I also understand that the concern is unfounded.

As an article by New York Times health columnist Gretchen Reynolds explains, the misunderstanding can likely be traced back to the 1970s when researchers studied child laborers in Japan and concluded that the children were often abnormally short as a result of lifting and moving heavy objects.

For years, it was widely (and wrongly) accepted that strength training could stunt young peoples' growth and otherwise jeopardize their safety. But in recent decades, numerous researchers and physicians have disproven these beliefs.

In fact, a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics concluded that strength training has many benefits for young people, and it may even be essential to promote optimal health.

According to Mayo Clinic, strength training that is done correctly not only offers numerous health benefits to young people, it also helps protect their muscles and joints from being injured in sports. 

Additionally, the National Strength and Conditioning Association released a position paper in 2009 stating that youth resistance training is now becoming universally accepted by medical, fitness, and sports organizations.

The position paper also stated that the NSCA "recognizes and supports the premise that many of the benefits associated with adult resistance training programs are attainable by children and adolescents who follow age-specific resistance training guidelines."

Ultimately, there is a plethora of scientific information that has been released in recent years that disproves the assumption that strength training is dangerous for young people, and highlights its numerous health benefits.

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