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Old 03-23-2006, 08:46   #1
DBradD
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Kids and Weightlifting

There's a huge thread in GNG about kids and weightlifting, so I figured I'd type this over with some folks who might actually know something.

Our son is 9 and he lifts with me. I cleared this with the physical trainers at the gym and his pediatrician. Our rules are:
1. He only lifts light weights. If he can't do it 12 times, then it's too heavy. His idea of "difficult" is a lot different from mine, so he could easily lift the weights 20-25 times if he really tried.
2. He only does simple, basic exercises, always with dumbbells because he's not strong enough to lift a 45 lb bar 12 times on any exercise.
3. Direct supervision by an experienced adult--his Dad in this case. His form is immaculate due to the constant, but very kind, scrutiny.

My contention is that there's no problem with kids lifting weights given these conditions. I think weightlifting is one of the safest forms of exercise and I think it easily has the best potential for a life-long form of exercise. At 8-12 years old, I think it's very tempting to let kids do other, lower quality activities, so anything positive that fills a chunk of time is a good thing. Weightlifting requires a tremendous amount of communication and discipline, so I think it's a very high quality family activity.

Many of the arguments folks make against weightlifting are not valid in my opinion. For example, many recommend that a kid do pushups until they're 14-16 years old. Somebody tell me why a perfect form 20 lb bench (two 10 lb dumbbells) is dangerous and an upside-down 35-40 lb unsupervised bench press (a pushup) is not. Somebody tell me why a 70 lb kid can do pullups (a 60 lb pulldown) but it's not ok for them to do pulldowns with 20-30 lbs. Why is it not dangerous to run miles playing soccer (when each step is 2.5-2.75x bodyweight on ONE leg) and it's dangerous to do light weightlifting exercises for the legs. Not to slam runners, but they make a great example--when I read running magazines, it seems that half the discussion is how to deal with injuries. You don't see this in M&F, for a reason.

So what do yawl think?
DBD

Last edited by DBradD; 03-23-2006 at 08:49..
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Old 03-23-2006, 14:45   #2
Slotback
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It's your call. You're the Dad and what you say, goes. End of discussion.

That said, I would encourage your son to do pushups, handstands, chinups, pullups and other bodyweight exercises as this will help him greatly with his weightlifting as well.
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Old 03-23-2006, 15:01   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Matt19
It's your call. You're the Dad and what you say, goes. End of discussion.

That said, I would encourage your son to do pushups, handstands, chinups, pullups and other bodyweight exercises as this will help him greatly with his weightlifting as well.
Thanks Matt. The other thread wasn't about us, but another Dad whose son seemed to be wanting to get into weightlifting. I posted that they should start similar to what we did, but what seemed like 40 others posted that it was crazy for a kid to start. If I had to guess, I'd say the kid won't get to lift now which I think is kinda sad. Thinking back on it now, if the dad had to ask the question, maybe the kid wouldn't have such good supervision anyway, so maybe I was wrong for that reason.

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Old 03-23-2006, 20:08   #4
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Well, I'm a little disappointed in you DBD. From the title of this thread I thought you were actually teaching your son Weightlifting not weight lifting or weight training. I think Weightlifting is an EXCELLENT sport for the young. They would still be flexible and I think would be easy to teach good technique too.

Now, back to your question; I agree with you 100%. But I think your son would be better served Weightlifting.

Jack
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Old 03-23-2006, 20:15   #5
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LOL. I'll be more precise next time. Weight lifting. I don't know enough about weightlifting to teach anybody anything.

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Old 03-23-2006, 21:19   #6
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When I was a kid I watched the Munich Olympics and told my father I wanted to learn to Weightlift. Of course I didn't know anything about PL or Bodybuilding. Anyhow, what I got for Christmas was a set of the concrete filled weights and a bench with an instruction booklet showing the typical press, bench press, incline bench press, squat, bent row, curls yadda yadda. I of course quickly got bored because those lift weren't nearly as fun as the then Olympic Three looked. I wish my father would have taken me more seriously, or perhaps understood what I was talking about. It's not that I would have been a great OLer by anymeans. It's just that I think it would habve prepared me better for sports and would probably been a life long love, insted of me trying to learn the lifts in my 40's.

In all seriousness, don't try to teach your son the OLs. If he is ever interested in them though, please, get him to a coach.
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Old 03-23-2006, 21:28   #7
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One more thing; Arthur Dreschler is a well known Weightlifting coach. He is the author of the most comprehensive book on Weightlifting ever written, "The Weightlifting Encyclopedia". Here is what Arthur said about that vary subject:

Quote:

This is a very controversial question without a simple answer. The vast majority of medical and sports professionals are not in favor of pre-pubescent weight training or weightlifting. Because little, if any, carefully controlled research on this subject has been conducted, such positions are often not evidence based. In order to answer the question conclusively, longitudinal studies (studies of at least two populations over many years) would have to be conducted. In this case, the study would have to examine a group of children who lifted weights when they were very young, versus a group of children that did not. Moreover, in order to control for other variables, the children who lifted weights, and those who did not, would be needed over the balance of the study, to be randomly distributed in terms of later life activities - a very unlikely scenario.

In the meantime, those in the "don't lift weights when you are young school" generally argue from three main points of view. First, because the growth plates, bones and other areas of a child's body are developing through the pre-pubescent pubescent years, and trauma during this period can have effects on long term growth, weight training presents a risk. There is certainly evidence that children who suffer traumatic injuries to their growth plates may suffer adverse affects to their growth and development. It is possible that damage may occur to those who perform very heavy work over a sustained period during their growth years, though the evidence here is very limited and speculations in this area have generally been derived from studies of heavy child labor.

Second, there is the concern that children are known to take risks in their athletic endeavors, because of competitive urges, lack of awareness of their limitations, or even parental pressures. They also lack the motor skills of an adult. Consequently, children may try to lift heavy weights and sustain a serious injury.

Third, it is generally believed that children will have only limited strength gains due to weight training (they will learn to exert force more effectively - a neurological phenomena - but their muscles will not grow significantly because of hormonal and other developmental factors). Consequently, the value of such training is limited in prepubescent youth.

All of the above arguments have some validity and could be applied to an extent to athletes who are going through puberty as well . However, their are counter arguments as well. While overloading the body of a young person can never be justified, the principle that the body adapts (within limits) to applied stimuli, suggests that the application of progressive resistance to the body may assist the developing body in growing optimally. For example, it may well be that resistance, applied judiciously, will assist the young body in optimizing the development of muscle strength, coordination, bone density, etc. during its growth. In fact, at least one study reportedly performed in the former Soviet Union, suggests that weightlifting positively (though minimally) affected the ultimate height of young people.

Second, when carefully supervised, many young athletes seem to enjoy weight training. This activity can be so beneficial over ones lifetime, that early development of the weight training habit may have its benefits (if such activity is purely voluntary). It is somewhat surprising that many parents fear weight training yet often express little concern when their children engage in activities such as soccer (where serious knee injuries occur with regularity) or gymnastics (where spinal chord injuries present a true risk). On a comparative basis, there appears to be a significantly greater risk associated with these latter activities.

Finally, while such evidence is anecdotal, some great weightlifters began to train at a very young age and they have not seemed to suffer any adverse consequences. For example, 3 time Olympic Weightlifting Champion, Naim Suleymanoglu, reportedly began strenuous training at the age of 10. He is now over the age of thirty and not only seems to have suffered no ill effects from his training, but he made a credible assault on a 4th Olympic Championship after he was 30, again with no apparent problems.

In conclusion, there is evidence and there are arguments pro and con on the issue of whether pre-pubescent athletes should lift weights, and those arguments could be extended to varying degrees to athletes who are in puberty (certainly, there is much evidence that after puberty, those who follow a well designed and supervised resistance training program enjoy many benefits). Therefore, only a child, his or her parents and their physician (who should always grant approval before training is begun) can decide this issue on an individual basis. Whatever the decision, this much is clear. The very young athlete should never be pushed, allowed to use maximum weights, or train very strenuously or for periods of long duration. Such athletes should always be supervised and focus on learning and employing correct technique when they exercise.

There is evidence to suggest that whatever benefits may be attained are attained from moderate training (e.g., moderate weights, training 2-3 times per week, with a couple of breaks in training of a few weeks during the year). Due to the high adaptability of the young body, the former Soviets found that young athletes who lifted moderate weights actually improved faster than those who lifted heavy ones and such moderate training provides a margin of safety. Second, the training of young people should always be carefully supervised to assure that correct and safe lifting practices are followed. Third, any indication of negative reactions to such exercise must be addressed immediately. In the end, individual reactions to training vary significantly and such reactions must be carefully considered.

Those who are seeking additional information in this area may want to contact the National Strength and Conditioning Association, in Colorado Springs, CO, as they have produced a position paper on this subject, as well as articles in some of their periodicals. The American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics have also produced position papers on this subject.
This was taken from
this website.
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Old 03-23-2006, 22:04   #8
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Thank you very much CalJack! That was very informative text.

The part about folks not thinking anything of their kids playing soccer and gymnastics, but then they worry about weight lifting cracks me up. People are so illogical sometimes.

DBD
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Old 03-24-2006, 12:18   #9
DBradD
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Edit: Correct file in a subsequent post (pdf file).

DBD

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Old 03-25-2006, 09:46   #10
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DBD,

I can't get that link to work.

Jack
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Old 03-25-2006, 10:53   #11
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Attached should be the AAP Policy Statement for your viewing enjoyment.

DBD
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Old 03-26-2006, 20:28   #12
California Jack
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Thanks DBD. Good article. I'm now trying to convice my 11 YO to hit the garage with me.

Jack
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Old 03-26-2006, 21:36   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by California Jack
Thanks DBD. Good article. I'm now trying to convice my 11 YO to hit the garage with me.

Jack
No problem.

For what it's worth, I started lifting seriously at 11 and seem to have suffered no ill-effects because of it, other than being 6" shorter than every other man on both sides of my family--joking! I'm as tall as my brother, Dad, and most of my uncles....

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Old 03-27-2006, 14:02   #14
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I have been lifting weights and moving heavy objects in some form or another since I was 8 years old. I am the strongest, and tallest man in my families known history.

Go Fig...


P.S. Fantastic article! I have to keep that one around for the naysayers.
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