Many parents let their children play football but believe weight training is too dangerous. Bill Starr examines the issue and explains how to train children safely and effectively.
As long as I have been involved in physical culture, the notion that lifting weights is harmful to young people has prevailed. This idea never made much sense to me.
I believe the assumption that lifting weights at an early age is harmful to long-term growth to be completely false. It’s one of those concepts that’s been around for so long no one bothers to challenge it. While just about every authority will say training a very young boy or girl in the weight room is risky, I’ve never come across any scientific data to support the idea—although I’ve read a number of studies done in several European countries that drew the opposite conclusion.
While parents forbid their children from participating in a strength routine, they often encourage them to participate in sports that involve a high degree of risk to life and limb. With that in mind, it seems illogical to forbid youngsters to lift weights. What’s more dangerous? Blasting head-on into an opponent at full speed on a football field or power-cleaning a 10 lb. bar in the garage? It’s a no-brainer, yet the old notion prevails.
What parents need to understand is that by helping their children get started on some sort of strength-training program, they greatly reduce the odds of them getting seriously hurt when playing any sport. Strength training is a safe activity for people of any age if properly administered.