You may have heard the old wives tale that lifting weights as a child will stunt your growth. Unfortunately, this myth, has been ingrained in many parents head, and is entirely false, and potentially harmful. There has been no scientific study which has validated this premise, however, many studies, showing the great benefit resistance training has on youth athletes. This research has shown that strength and conditioning for the youth athlete can be both safe and effective in developing strength, coordination and athleticism starting from the age of six (NSCA, 2009).
When children are old enough and ready to engage in organized sports, they are also safe to be exposed to a properly designed resistance training program. This is as young as 5 years of age and the fundamental physical competency is they should possess competent levels of balance and postural control, which they should have if they are enrolled in a sports program. This does not mean putting a heavy barbell on their back, but a progressive strength and conditioning program, like the exercises utilized in our Parisi Jump Start classes. Progressive programs like the Parisi program, help to prepare children to be proficient in their movement basics (Jump Start Program) so they have a solid foundation to continue this development along an upward trend as they grow older (Total Performance Program). Solid strength and conditioning training ensures youth athletes develop more coordination, stability and strength as they age and advance in their athletic careers.
Stronger and more coordinated athletes are also more injury resistant. Having higher levels of motor control and kinesthetic awareness allows them to better stabilize the core,distribute bodyweight and resist forces, all which help lower the risk of injury. Many children are specializing in one sport before adolescence, impairing the learning of fundamental movement skills. Not only does this lead to burnout and overuse injuries, it also could lead to physical imbalances, which also could ultimately lead to injury. Participation and engagement in programs like the one here at Parisi Speed School of RI, which allow full body fundamental skill development, are essential in helping to keep all athletes healthy, especially single sport athletes.
The most important things is developing lifelong skills. Learning to move well as a child makes learning to move well for life a lot easier. Children who learn to find a love for movement and physical activity as a child or adolescent, are instilled with this passion and are more likely to continue a healthy exercise lifestyle through their lives.