T Nation

Spinal Loading vs Stunting Growth.

I’ve never really looked into this subject a lot, however, since my dad has gave my 14 year old brother permission to come workout with me, I am worried about fucking up his potential height.

A few reasons this worries me:

  1. Some studies have said that significant muscle growth can affect bone growth due to the tension on tendon’s etc.
    (Richard sandrak is a somewhat extreme (but still relevant) example, or is his height just fucked 100% due to steroids?

  2. Putting a heavy weight on your back (Squat) compresses your spine, surely this would just seem like a bad idea if someone is trying to grow in height?

So what are your ideas, thoughts, opinions on this?

I would just avoid max lifting until fully grown. Practice squats, push up, chins, etc first then move onto weights. Go hard, but no failure.

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[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
<<< lots of young athletes, (e.g. gymnasts where they start them young and push them hard) have stress fractures of the pars interarticularis, which basically attaches the body of the vertebra to the facet joints - this can lead to forward slippage of the vertebral body in relation to the one below it. >>>[/quote]

This is the trouble with this though. All the research I’ve seen declaring these warnings attempts to extrapolate conclusions about weight training from high impact activities like gymnastics where these types of things are known to occur albeit in fairly extreme cases as well.

I haven’t seen any evidence to indicate that weight training in anything like sane applications is detrimental to even young children. Quite to the contrary many predictable benefits have been identified.

I’m not known to be one who is overly enthused by the fitness and health recommendations of the mainstream scientific communities, but for what it’s worth here’s a piece from the American Academy OF Pediatrics.


On an anecdotal note my daughter has been seriously training for about half a year now (her idea) and has undergone a pronounced growth spurt along with being the strongest, healthiest 11 year old girl I’ve ever seen.

Her strength has gone through the roof in truly eye popping fashion practically by accident. She does eat lots of good food which I’m sure isn’t hurting.