T Nation

Training to Failure-Stunting Growth?

Can anyone explain how training to failure may stunt growth? I’ve started training my girlfriend’s 14-year old brother. I was told by a fellow T-Nationer that training to failure can stunt growth. Given this, I haven’t been training him to failure, nor would I otherwise see a reason to even if this was not the case. But I would like to understand the physical mechanisims that training to failure may stunt growth. Thanks!!

Bullshit.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Bullshit.[/quote]

Good to know!

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Bullshit.[/quote]

Thanks Professor X. So, it’s not true. I still won’t train him to failure. But it is good to know just for my curiosity’s sake. I also wouldn’t want to be telling other people misinformation.

So, this is just as much a myth as weight training in general stunting growth. I’ll look for that thread about training myths and add this to the list.

Thanks for the enlightening comment, Prof.

[quote]jsbrook wrote:
I was told by a fellow T-Nationer that training to failure can stunt growth.[/quote]

Actually, I said that training to failure can contribute to the semi-myth that weights can stunt children’s growth.

I say semi-myth because if done improperly (excessive loads, poor technique, the usual jazz), children’s partially formed growth plates can be put at risk. As back-up, I offer a section of article I had found, taken from the American Academy of Pediatrics official policy statement:

[quote] The American Academy of Pediatrics position on strength training supports the implementation of strength and resistance training programs, even for prepubescent children, that are monitored by well-trained adults and take into account the child’s maturation level. The only limitation the AAP suggests is to avoid repetitive maximal lifts (lifts that are one repetition maximum lifts or are within 2-3 repetitions of a one repetition maximum lift) until they have reached Tanner Stage 5 of developmental maturity. Tanner Stage 5 is the level in which visible secondary sex characteristics have been developed. Usually, in this stage adolescents will also have passed their period of maximal velocity of height growth

The AAP’s concern that children wait until this stage to perform maximal lifts is that the epiphyses, commonly called “growth plates”, are still very vulnerable to injury before this developmental stage. It is repeated injury to these growth plates that may hinder growth. For this same reason, two of the leading researchers in the field of youth fitness, Fleck and Kraemer, agree that maximal lifts should be avoided. [/quote]

So, I still recommend avoiding muscular failure for kids (and most adults, but that’s a separate issue), while advocating properly supervised, well rounded, weight training. Thanks.

Thanks Minotaur. I did appreciate your input. And thanks for the article. I haven’t been taking Jeff to failure, and I see no reason to start. I’m just trying to sort out the myth from facts.

Yep, it’s bullshit. The only possible effect resistance training can have on growth other than shitty form with to much weight would be consistant overtraining. That is the only thing I could think of causing any kind of endocrine system imbalance. Of course, you can overtrain doing just about any exercise. Also, given the endocrine profile of the average teenager, I would say that overtraining them would be damn near imposible.

The thing is tho, overtraining isnt impossible. To much heavy lifting will fry anyones CNS, and thats where the rumors of stunted growth have came from.

Just dont lift heavy everyday, and theyll be fine.

[quote]pat36 wrote:
Yep, it’s bullshit. The only possible effect resistance training can have on growth other than shitty form with to much weight would be consistant overtraining. That is the only thing I could think of causing any kind of endocrine system imbalance. Of course, you can overtrain doing just about any exercise. Also, given the endocrine profile of the average teenager, I would say that overtraining them would be damn near imposible.[/quote]

Good points. The article itself didn’t look to me to be warning against failure; rather it warned against training too close to your 1 rep max. Which I tend to agree with. I don’t see the need for a 14-year old to be doing sets of 4 reps or less. Or training to failure for that matter, but that is for reasons other than stunting growth.

[quote]prophetman wrote:
The thing is tho, overtraining isnt impossible. To much heavy lifting will fry anyones CNS, and thats where the rumors of stunted growth have came from.

Just dont lift heavy everyday, and theyll be fine.[/quote]

Sounds good. That’s probably where the issue of failure came into play too as training to failure regularly is extremely taxing on the CNS.

So, according to that article, 10x3 schemes would never be appropriate for younger teenagers. I’m not sure I agree with that. What do you guys think? I have little experience with appropriate training for adolescents.