How to Progress Weightlifting in Children and Adolescents

Olympic Weightlifting, Strength and Conditioning

While at one time many people did not take up committed sport until their high school years, it is becoming increasingly common to see pre-pubescent children beginning a serious sport career. This trend has affected even weightlifting, once thought to be a "late start" sport. In the 1960s, it was such. Authorities recommended that the serious practice of weightlifting is not started until the trainee has reached sixteen or seventeen years of age. A quick perusal of recent international results shows this clearly is no longer the case. Seventeen-year-olds are now setting youth records that exceed the senior records of decades gone by.


Will Weightlifting Really Stunt Your Growth?


In the 1960s and even up through to the present day, many doctors have cautioned and continue to caution against competitive weightlifting for those below a certain age. The usual reason given is that it will damage the growth plates leading to stunted growth. This can indeed happen in extreme conditions. But in all my years of watching weightlifters train, even if a lifter started at a very young age they all displayed normal growth patterns. And that will be the case with any coach you ask. However, many have repeated this “weightlifting will stunt your growth” caution so often that it is now accepted canon.


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