Does Weight Lifting Stunt Growth?
There are plenty of benefits that come from lifting weights. From increasing the bone density to helping you lose weight to even helping you gain weight. Many athletes must have at least some form of weight training in their training routine.
However, a question that some people tend to be concerned about is, Does Lifting Weights Stunt Growth? Concerned parents, teenagers and average people would benefit from the answer. Well, this is the question we are here to answer so sit back, relax and lets go through a few points shall we?
First off it’s a Myth
Yeah it is. This idea that lifting weight somehow slows down the growth rate in young developing humans is in the least absurd. It has been around for decades and seems to have gained popularity as more and more people get into weight training.
The theory is that since kids and teens have growth plates at the end of their bones that promote bone development, too much pressure can cause these plates to solidify or as they call it mineralize sooner due to fractures that many occur in them. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
What Exactly Happens?
Well, the truth is weight training for young and developing humans is actually beneficial in promoting growth. The growth plates will not at any one time get injuries and solidify earlier than usual. The only thing that can cause injuries is if the young human uses the wrong form and stance.
The growth plates, also known as epiphyseal plates are located at the end of the bones in young humans. As the days go by, these divide and grow otherwise known as regeneration. The process is what causes the child or adolescent to grow. Once you reach your maximum height, the growth plates harden or mineralize and these will from the ends of your bones.
Lifting weight even in grownups causes the production of human growth hormone. This helps the muscles that you are working on to heal after the strenuous exercise. In younger people, the human growth hormone will indeed help repair torn muscles while at the same time boosting growth and height.
Growth hormone is not the only chemical we are looking at here. There is also testosterone. This hormone plays a part in causing bone development and muscle growth. While it indeed does cause the growth plates to harden it occurs at such a minimal rate that the effects are usually countered by the human growth hormone.
If you plan on weight training at a young age, start off with eating right. Eat a lot of vegetables, fruits and healthy foods packed with carbs, proteins and vitamins. Such ideas that weight lifting can cause slow and stunted growth are to be dispelled. Regular exercise and a healthy diet allow the children and teens to reach their optimum height. It is the kids that laze around doing nothing while having poor eating habits that are at the greatest risk of not attaining their full height.
A few Tips for Training with Teens
The most important part of any weight training program for teens is to have a supervisor. Teens will likely rush to try out every weight they can find. They are therefore likely to injure themselves. A supervisor or personal trainer will tell them what to do as well as what to avoid and by doing so reduce their chances of getting injuries by up to 50%.
When at the gym, teens should be encouraged to start out with the smallest weights or simply with no weights at all. This will help them learn the right form to use before they progress to larger weights. They can start doing higher reps with little to no weights. By doing so, they continue to learn the right way to lift weights.
Especially to avoid are Olympic lifting and power lifting. These can very easily result in injuries. The teen should also avoid using the various weight machines at the gym as they are designed for adults and not for the small and growing bodies of teens.
If you are a teen who feels that they should shed some pounds then weight lifting is one great option at your disposal. Combine this with being active. Check out the total number of calories you consume. Chances are that they are quite high if you have to deal with weight issues. Drop them to around 2000 and stay active.
When at the gym, start with using the treadmill. When lifting weights your focus should be on high reps. With the right supervision, you will be able to pick weights that allow you to go for 15 reps. Take time to rest between the reps. The right type of motivation from your trainer, friends and family will push you towards your goals and you will be able to make progress.
Average Sized Teens
By average I mean caught somewhere between an athletic build and a sedentary body. The best course of action for you is to pick a more intense workout. Begin by weight lifting just 3 days in a week and doing high reps of 10.
Avoid compound movements at all times. This is because they are a bit more demanding and when done the wrong way could result in injuries. You will get to these as you progress on your training.
Check your diet as this is important too. The ratio of your carbs to your proteins should be the same. Ensure you do not allow yourself to stay hungry as this will cause the body will conserve its energy.
What we can learn from all this is that weight training can actually improve on the growth rate of children and teens. This in part is thanks to the extra growth hormone that is released.
All children should therefore have weight training in their routine provided they receive the right kind of guidance. This will help them stay safe while learning the basic forms.
With a little motivation, the teens can start making good progress.