In the past I’ve worked with TONS of young athletes. I started out with figure skaters… many of whom actually started at a much younger age than 13. Then I was the head strength-coach for a sport-studies program which had over 700 athletes from 23 different sports. The age of the athletes ranged from 11 to 18 years of age.
I can tell you that stunting growth is what I’d call a half myth. If super heavy spinal loading (performing squats for anything more than an 8RM for example)growth CAN be stunted. However if you keep the weight lower (12-20RM) it will not stunt growth, and it will in fact help increase bone density (which is important for girls as it may help them reduce the risk of osteoporosis) since bone responds to mechanical loading as long as the maturation process is not completed.
Even the ACSM and NSCA have stated that weight training for youngsters is fine IF excessive loading is avoided.
In the initial stages of training the focus should be on:
Learning proper lifting technique
Enjoying the time you spend in the gym as this will help keep it a long-term habit
Correct postural imbalances that might already be visible at that age: young girls tend to suffer from a varying range of hyperlordosis and children in general often have an “head forward, shoulders slumped” posture thanks to the hours they spend on the computer.
I tried this over on the T-Vixen section previously, but haven’t gotten any responses.
I have a 13 year old female relative that has recently shown interest in weight training and has asked me if I would show her the ropes as far as form, routines, etc. From what I have read in recent years, it seems as though the “weights will stunt your growth” deal has been labeled as myth. Most of the information I have come across seems to lean more towards it being alright for individuals to train once they hit puberty, which this girl has.
I wanted to get some of your thoughts/suggestions on this matter. Thank you.[/quote]