“Having no injuries in any sport or activity is too high a bar, right? So there are injuries, but they’re just very few that are associated with weight training,” says Dr. Jon Gary, a member of CrossFit Kids.
When people think about kids and weight training, the injury most commonly feared is growth-plate damage, which can lead to stunted growth. Gary says that type of injury is an acute injury, like breaking a bone, and doesn’t accumulate over time or repetitions.
“But there is absolutely no study, there is no evidence that just because you lift weights for a long time means that you’re not going to grow,” he says.
According to Gary’s research, there is a very low incidence for any weightlifting-related injury, and those that happen are more frequently accidental than a result of exertion. He compares youth sport injury rates and finds an astounding discrepancy.
“So we’re talking, you know, three orders of magnitude greater—thousand times, ten-thousand times more injuries in competitive sports than there are in weightlifting—and this is kids’ weightlifting being trained by scientists, not by professional trainers or people even knowledgeable in that,” he says.
The studies recommend a strength-training program specifically designed for kids. According to Gary, CrossFit Kids fits the bill. He shares how CrossFit Kids approaches weightlifting with children.
Additional reading: Old School for New Ideas by Bob Guere, published Dec. 13, 2010.