T Nation

Effects: Weights/Childhood?

Hello, ladies and gents.

Before I get to my question I think it’s appropriate that I introduce myself.

I am a Community Sports Coach and I specialise in Multi-skills and Fundamentals training for children mostly aged between 4-10 years old (based on the Long Term Athlete Development(LTAD) programme). I also coach disabled sports as well as run sessions for different age ranges (including adults). I also coach Rugby Union, and have an interest in Strength and Conditioning and would like to eventually work as a coach in that field as well.

I have been reading T-Nation (both articles and forums) for a while now, but as of yet not posted.

Anyway, my main question is this:

Does any body have any research studies or journal articles about any long term effects that weight training would have from childhood, or at least be able to point me in the right direction?

As I understand it, weight training from childhood does not have any effect on growth, and may in fact lead to increased bone density. If anyone could shed any factual light on the subject I would be very grateful. I will include a study at the end of this post which suggests that the immediate effects of a short term weight training programme for a child lead to very few risks, however I feel this is a fairly basic write up and would like something in more detail and of course longitudinal.

Thanks in advance,

[quote]Pearson, D Faigenbaum, A, Conley, M, Kraemer, WJ. The National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Basic Guidelines for the Resistance Training of Athletes. 2000. Natl. Strength Cond. Assoc. J. 22:(4)14-27.

Resistance Training for Children

Even with the large number of children participating in youth sports, many are not conditioning their bodies for the physical demands and rigors of the sport. If a child is capable of participating in a youth sport, she or he is capable of participating in a resistance-training program designed to condition the body to meet the demands of the sport and help prevent sport-related injuries. It was previously believed that resistance training-induced strength gains during preadolescence (defined as a period of time before the development of secondary sex characteristics) were not possible because of insufficient concentrations of circulating androgens. However, current findings clearly indicate that children can significantly increase their strength above and beyond what is accounted for by growth and maturation, provided that the resistance-training program is of sufficient duration and intensity. Strength gains of roughly 40% have been observed in children following short-term (8-12 weeks) resistance-training programs, although gains of up to 74% have been reported. Further, positive changes in motor fitness skills, sports performance, and selected health-related measures have also been observed in resistance-trained youths. Interestingly, preliminary evidence indicates that resistance training may also increase a child’s resistance to sports-related injuries.

One of the traditional concerns associated with youth resistance training is the potential for injury to the epiphyseal plate or growth cartilage. Although epiphyseal plate fractures have been reported in young weight trainers, most of these injuries involved improper lifting techniques or the performance of heavy, overhead lifts in unsupervised settings. An epiphyseal plate fracture has not been reported in any prospective youth resistance-training study that was appropriately designed and competently supervised. If children are taught how to resistance train properly (e.g., adequate warm-up, correct technique, and a gradual progression of training loads) and if close and competent adult supervision is present, it seems that the risk of an epiphyseal plate fracture while strength training is minimal. In general, it appears that the risks associated with youth resistance training are not any greater than those in other sports and recreational activities in which children regularly participate. However, the potential for a serious injury is possible if youth guidelines and safety precautions are not followed.

The goal of youth resistance-training programs should not be limited to increasing muscular strength but should also include teaching children about their bodies, promoting injury prevention strategies, and providing a stimulating program that gives children a more positive attitude toward resistance training and exercise in general.

When introducing children to resistance training, it is always better to underestimate their physical abilities and gradually increase the volume and intensity of training than to overshoot their abilities and potentially risk an injury. There is no minimum age requirement for participation in a youth resistance-training program; however, all participants should have the emotional maturity to accept and follow directions and should understand the risks and benefits associated with resistance training. A medical examination is recommended for children with known or suspected health problems; however, it is not mandatory for apparently healthy children.

A variety of resistance-training programs have been developed for children, and different types of equipment have been safely and effectively used in these programs. Although extra pads and boards can be used to modify some types of adult equipment, child-size resistance-training equipment is now available and has proven to be a viable alternative to adult-sized machines. Free weights, elastic tubing, and body weight-resisted exercises can also be used. Although youth resistance training has the potential to be a pleasurable and valuable experience, it should be only one part of a total conditioning program that also includes cardiorespiratory, flexibility, and agility exercises.

Typically, children should participate in a periodized program using loads that will allow a 6- to 12-repetition range. In addition, programs are typically lower in volume and may be performed using a lower frequency (2/3 days per week) but can adhere to many of the same principles as adult resistance-training programs. It is important that youth resistance exercise-training programs do not attempt to just implement adult programs because the physiological stress will be inappropriate .

Sorry none on hand but there out there and well slowly getting more.

Benfits stornger and thicker bones Yes Growth resistnce training makes not just the mucles etc get stronger but the bones as well makes them store more calcium and when done young can be HUGE for later in life warding off osteoplurosis (sp) sorry LOL thats a great long term effect.

Im sure there is also a conection between being active etc as a child and that carrying on to later adult life BIG bonus, the evident health qualities heart, lungs, etc, greater LBM which will keep metaboism jacked, the hormones realeased during and following various training GOODetc etc. This would include mental health from the release.

again sorry no studies to site just shooting from the hip from memory and speculation,

Yeah I don’t know of any studies offhand, but young children have been doing strenuous manual labor on farms for instance for centuries. I saw some when I lived in North Dakota and none were dead, injured or looking to be on the way anytime soon.

On yet another anecdotal note my 11 year old daughter started working out recently. She was curious about what I was doing at first and I showed her some basic compound movements. She took to it right away.

I’ve got her doing an upper/lower split routine about every 3rd day. After 4 workouts each way she has doubled the weight she can do for 10 - 12 reps on most exercises. The biggest problem is resisting the temptation to push her too hard.

Even at her age the thrill of seeing herself get stronger is there. I cannot for the life of me think of a way this can be anything, but enormously beneficial assuming continued good sense on my part. She was already a solid eater, so getting her to eat a bit more was no problem. She also sleeps really well so no trouble there.

BTW, upping the weight is almost entirely her call (or so I let her think) she tells me "that was pretty easy and we throw another 1.25, 2.5 or even 5 on each side depending on which movement. I bought her a 5 foot standard bar which weighs 15 pounds and is perfect along with the dumbbells I already had. I picked up a bunch of 1.25 lb plates second hand for 25c each.

Kids are not the fragile, brittle creatures this post modern, scientifically enslaved world is trying to convince them they are. Emotionally, physically or spiritually.

Thanks for the input so far guys, very insightful!

As no-one has any studies to hand, would anyone know of any places to obtain such documents? Maybe an online library? Or would I need to become a member of the NSCA (or the British equivalent, the UKSCA)?

Thanks guys

try pubmed or medline .com

From mayoclinic.com ( http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/strength-training/HQ01010 )

[quote]Mayo Clinic Staff wrote:
Strength training: OK for kids when done correctly
Strength training for kids is OK. But bodybuilding is dangerous. Know the differences and follow these guidelines to keep your kids safe.

The young athlete in your family is disciplined and devoted, squeezing in practice whenever he or she can. Now your child wants to start strength training. You’ve heard coaches and other parents talk about strength training, but you wonder ? is strength training really good for a child?

The answer is yes. Strength training exercises that are supervised, safe and age-appropriate offer many bonuses to young athletes.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association all support strength training for kids ? if it’s done properly. Today’s children are increasingly overweight and out of shape. Strength training can help put them on the lifetime path to better health and fitness.
Strength training, not weightlifting

Strength training for kids ? not to be confused with weightlifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting ? is a carefully designed program of exercises to increase muscle strength and endurance. Weightlifting, bodybuilding and powerlifting are largely driven by competition, with participants vying to lift heavier weights or build bigger muscles than other athletes. This can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and growth plates, especially when proper technique is sacrificed in favor of lifting larger amounts of weight.

Strength training for kids, however, isn’t about lifting the heaviest weight possible. Instead, the focus is on lighter weights and controlled movements, with a special emphasis on proper technique and safety.

Your child can build muscle strength using:

* Free weights
* Weight machines
* Resistance bands
* His or her own body weight

Benefits for young athletes

Strength training for kids has gotten a bad reputation over the years. Lifting weights, for example, was once thought to damage young growth plates ? areas of cartilage that have not yet turned to bone. Experts now realize that with good technique and the right amount of resistance, young athletes can avoid growth plate injuries. Strengthening exercises, with proper training and supervision, provide many benefits to a young athlete.

Supervised strength training that emphasizes proper technique:

* Increases your child's muscle strength and endurance
* Protects your child's muscles and joints from injury
* Helps improve performance in a particular sport

Your child may gain other health benefits from strength training, too. These include:

* Better heart and lung function
* A healthy body composition
* Stronger bones
* Lower blood cholesterol levels
* A good fitness habit that lasts a lifetime

Some studies suggest that improved self-esteem and a decreased chance of depression also are upshots of strength training. Your child may get a feel-good boost after improving his or her performance.
Who benefits most?

Strength training benefits older preteens more than younger kids. At the age of 5 to 6, kids should be focusing on body awareness and body control, balance, running, jumping and throwing.

Strength training also helps those kids who have a focused interest in a particular sport. For example, a figure skater or dancer who has a goal of jumping higher can improve with strength training. Football players, soccer players ? just about all young athletes ? can enhance their performance with a strength training program.

Because technique and proper form are so important, don’t let your child begin strength training until he or she is mature enough to accept directions. A good rule of thumb is if your child is old enough to participate in organized sports, such as hockey, soccer or gymnastics, he or she is ready for some form of strength training.
Guidelines for youth strength training

The right strength training program for your child isn’t just a scaled-down version of what an adult would do. Many adult programs focus on fewer repetitions and heavier weights. A youth strength training program needs to focus on:

* Correct technique
* Smooth, controlled motions
* Less resistance and many repetitions

Your child’s coach can tailor a strength training program for your child according to your child’s age, size, skills and sports interests. The general principles of youth strength training are:

* Provide instruction. Show your child how to perform strength training exercises using controlled breathing and proper form. You might ask a trained professional to demonstrate. If you enroll your child in a class, make sure there's at least one instructor for every 10 students to ensure that your child receives proper instruction.
* Supervise. Adult supervision is important to reinforce safety and good technique. For instance, if your child lifts weights to strength train, a spotter ? someone who stands ready to grab the weights ? can step in if the weight becomes too heavy. As a parent, you can get involved in strength training, too. You can supervise your child and serve as a positive reinforcement for healthy lifestyle habits.
* Warm up; cool down. Have your child begin each workout with 5 to 10 minutes of a warm-up activity, such as walking, jogging in place or jumping rope. This makes muscles warm and ready for action, all the while minimizing the risk of injury. End each workout with a cool down, including some light stretching.
* Think light weights, controlled repetitions. One set of 12 to 20 repetitions at a lighter weight is all it takes. Kids don't need weights specially sized for them. They can safely lift adult-size weights as long as the weight isn't too heavy. The resistance doesn't have to come from weights, either. Resistance tubing can be just as effective ? especially for younger kids.
* Rest between workouts. Establish a rest period of at least a day between strength training workouts. Two or three sessions per week are plenty.
* Track progress. Teach your child how to fill out a chart of which exercises, how many repetitions, and what weights or resistance he or she uses during a workout. It will be helpful in monitoring progress.
* Add weight gradually. Only when your child masters proper form should you add weight. If your child can't do 10 repetitions at a certain weight, it's too heavy.
* Keep it fun. Vary the routine often. Kids are more likely to stick with strength training if they don't get bored by it.

Results won’t come overnight. But over time, you and your child will notice a difference in your child’s muscle strength and endurance.
A healthy habit for a lifetime

If your child shows an interest in strength training, know that it can be a safe and effective activity. Along with aerobic exercise, stretching, and balance and stability, strength training is one part of a well-rounded fitness program.

Encourage physical activity in your child ? it’s a key step to becoming a healthy adult.[/quote]

I found this pretty sensible

Thats great, thanks for all of your help.


[quote]A_Spence wrote:
Thats great, thanks for all of your help.


Pretty much along the lines of what you already posted, but no problem.


Ok, Im 14 years old, Im 200 pounds, 5’10", and I shave daily :p. Ive been hardcore lifting for about a year now on a modded Bill Starr 5x5. Im also a rower, and do alot of heavy cardio work, usually daily either in the boat or ergo-rower.

Ive pulled a 440DL, 405SQ and a 245B, raw ofcourse.

Over the past 12 months, Ive grown atleast 5 inches.

I think Im living proof lifting doesnt stunt.

Add Ive hardly been doing high reps stuff. I dont usually venture above 6 reps, Im usually around 2-4. HEAVY.

Im a stickler for technique and safety, and Im sure I have perfect tech on every lift. Ive always stayed safe,a nd I would like to continue lifting for many many years.

I beleive that it comes down to diet for the whole stunting thing. The body needs allloooooootttttt of fuel to grow AND build muscle mass.
Im on 4500 cals a day +, and thats barely sufficeient to support my activities.

Hope this helps.