Fitness Q & A - Does Strength Training Stunt Growth?
Of interesting note is the argument regarding strength training and stunted growth. In the event of bone or growth plate damage (which is unlikely during strength training if the program is designed correctly), growth can in fact be stunted. But, if proper strength training parameters are utilized then it can often have the opposite effect. Muscle pull (which refers to the tension or ‘tugging’ where the muscle attaches to the bone and is incurred during muscle contraction), is a significant factor that stimulates bone thickness. More over, ‘intermittent use of submaximal resistance stimulates height growth’ (Drabik, 1996).
One key point that I have preached endlessly is the fact that an orthopedic assessment MUST precede any strength training prescription. Postural defects can be made worse by incorrect application of strength training and conversely improved by correct application. An assessment is a mandatory precursor to any child's strength training program.
Recommended Youth Training Exercises: Obstacle courses, rope pulling, climbing, vertical strength (standing push-ups), hanging exercises, bodyweight exercises and medicine ball based activities/throws, horizontal strength (push-ups, pull-ups)
Recommendations for Advanced Youth Training: High intensity plyometrics, dumbbell & barbell exercises, single leg squats, deadlifts, and cleans
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