The biggest question of many parents is: when is it okay for children involved in sports to start weight training? Weightlifting for young boys and girls is normally frowned upon, because the traditional thinking is that it is harmful to young bodies that have not reached physical maturity.
The prejudices and myths surrounding this topic are many, so we at Sportize.me would like to clear them up.
One of the things you will hear people say most frequently is that “if a child does weight training, he/she will stay small.” This is false. Strength is a basic physical capability, and working it with weightlifting facilitates the strengthening of a child’s bones, ligaments, joints and muscles during their growth phase.
Another very different issue is what happens to some girls who engage in very demanding sports like artistic gymnastics or high-level sports. In this case, girls train at a very intense level from 6 to 8 hours a day, and if they begin this training at an early age, they run the risk of suffering from primary amenorrhea, or delayed first periods and consequently delayed development of secondary sexual characteristics (low breast development, lack of woman’s body shape, etc.)
A common observation is that boys who are involved in artistic gymnastics are also small. This is true, but not because they are undergoing these same structural changes at the hormonal level. It is because high-level gymnastics is a selective sport where people with smaller frames have an easier time of it.
In sum, it is fine for children to engage in weight training, but always under the guidance of a professional who will provide them with sound guidance on how much weight to lift and how many sets, repetitions and rests to employ.
Interestingly, more schools are including weight training segments in their physical education classes, with weights that are adapted to children’s bodies.
When you think about it, there is no sport your child can practice where strength is not an important factor, and weight training is key to building strength. For example, judo depends a great deal on physical strength, as does basketball (jumps) and baseball (batting).
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