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Athletic Training

Young weight lifters

01/21/2000

Question:

Should a 13 year-old be lifting weights? Our 13 year-old wants to start lifting weights but, we have been told that it is not good for his health. He is a very talented basketball player on a very competitive team. His coach agrees with us that weights would not be healthy for him and may even "stunt" his growth.

Answer:

Many people have strong feelings about strength training in children. I do not belive that it will stunt his growth. But, based on the literature I have read and my experience with high school freshman, I feel that pure weight training (lifting) should not begin until at least age 15.

I do think that the middle school aged child can do strength training that is proportionate to his/her own body weight. Push ups, pull ups, sit ups/crunches and a variety of different sports should be part of a program to develop neuromuscular training and control.

The key is to make workouts enjoyable and progressively more challenging as his body grows. This will avoid injury and improve self confidence.

I have included a web site that you may find useful. I would go to the Links section to begin your search.

Good luck!

For more information:

Go to the Athletic Training health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Vincent J O'Brien, ATC Vincent J O'Brien, ATC
Head Athletic Trainer
Clinical Instructor at the School of Allied Medical Professions
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University