To Top

Dogma Debunked

Research shows that preadolescent athletes can improve their strength by as much as 50 percent after eight to 12 weeks on a proper lifting program.

John Balik with son, JustinFor decades doctors and other so-called experts have discouraged kids from lifting weights—something about stunted growth and premature bone-plate closure. Considering all the climbing, running and jumping that kids do—usually off of roofs and out of trees—that never made a lot of sense. Now studies are showing that the danger of strength training for youngsters was overstated.

According to Sports­Health­, the latest studies show that “participating in even a short-duration strength-training program during childhood and especially during adolescence may not only improve one’s body composition, but also increase self-esteem and improve blood lipid profiles.”

Research shows that preadolescent athletes can improve their strength by as much as 50 percent after eight to 12 weeks on a proper lifting program. They also tend to improve bone mineral density and composition, balance and lipid profiles, according to co-authors Katherine Stabenow Dahab, M.D., and Teri Metcalf McCambridge, M.D., from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Their recommendations? “The goal is to perform two to three exercises per muscle group. Start with one to two sets per exercise, with six to 15 repetitions in each set. The participants should rest one to three minutes between sets. Appropriate weight should allow proper form, some fatigue, but not complete exhaustion.”

They also say that adult supervision is central to the strength-training program’s success or failure. Children, especially boys, can be misguided by ego and attempt dangerous lifts with improper form.

Nevertheless, Dahab concludes, “the health benefits of strength training far outweigh the potential risks. Strength training, when done correctly, can improve the strength and overall health of children and adolescents of all athletic abilities. That’s especially important in today’s society, where childhood obesity rates continue to rise.”

Amen, and a breath of fresh air. Time for kids to hit the gym instead of the video-game controller.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Beginning Bodybuilding

  • 15-Minute Shoulders

    Developing impressive delts doesn’t have to take up a ton of time in the weight room. By Brad Borland   A...

    Sharon OrtigasAugust 24, 2017
  • Bigger Triceps, Better Bench

    A bigger muscle is a stronger muscle. These three triceps mass-builders can help you add more weight to your bench press....

    Iron Man MagazineJune 11, 2016
  • Push Yourself

    If you think the traditional push-up is too easy, you’re not trying hard enough

    Cornell HuntApril 8, 2016
  • Pronated Grip Best To Grow A Big Back

    If you’re trying to grow a big back, the lat pull-down is probably a go-to machine for you. Make sure you’re...

    Iron Man MagazineApril 6, 2016
  • Better Sleep, Bigger Gains

      Did you sleep soundly last night—so good that you woke up full of energy? If not, you may be damaging...

    Steve HolmanMarch 13, 2016
  • Do What Needs to Get Done Now

    How badly do you want to build an outstanding physique? How hard are you willing to work to achieve it? Most...

    Skip La CourMarch 3, 2016
  • Hormones And Recovery After A Brutal Workout

    Two days after a brutal leg workout, when delayed muscle soreness is at its peak, you hobble back in the gym...

    Iron Man MagazineNovember 11, 2015
  • Gain More Mass With Functional Hypertrophy Clusters

    How can I increase my strength while also gaining some muscle mass? Is there some special method that accomplishes both goals?...

    Iron Man MagazineOctober 23, 2015
  • How To Master The Front Squat

    Squat. Squat. Squat. There are few movements that activate the nervous system, recruit muscle fibers, and build structural integrity like the...

    Iron Man MagazineOctober 12, 2015