"Coach, Still SFMA/FMS fan despite the drama and misinformed 😉 Quick question though, is there any evidence on safety with resistance training with kids? Last I remember in school they were questioning the long held theory it stunts growth. Thoughts? - James M. (Arizona, USA)
Don’t know if I fully comprehend the first question. So, I’ll answer it two ways. 1. If an athlete, no matter the age, has a mastery of proper movement under bodyweight conditions, then that athlete can add external-load resistance to those movements. 2. There was an Olympic lifting club at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs during the early to mid 2000s. Don’t know if it’s still there now. But I witnessed preteens training in that club. Their exercise age showed in their ability to perform everything needed to do the two technically complex lifts. Teach them how, and let them gain more power.
The statement about stunting growth. WOW … I like words, a lot, and I don’t know if I possess the vocabulary needed to iterate the inane, thoughtless and possibly reckless belief and practices perpetuated by those who subscribe to that theory. There is nothing I’ve read, heard or seen that substantiates that notion.
I believe it all started with extrapolations from Japanese researchers studying child labor. Because the young workers tended to be unusually short, the researchers deemed the hours of intense physical labor contributed to the stunted growth, and people throughout the world ran with that concept. I’m biased, but I believe folks are simply lazy and will find numerous ways to alleviate the inherent stress that accompanies a proper exercise program – even for their young athletes.
Resistance training its simplest form is: increasing the ability to resist internal or external forces. The training becomes more dynamic when the body must resist the force while the body or the force is in motion.
Training for that is simple neuromuscular adaptation – the brain tells motor neurons to innervate muscle fibers, and they do. The strength gains in children will come from improved neuromuscular facilitation. They know how to do the movements. They practice the movements. The movements become easier.
I recall a German study done where researchers looked at 60 years’ worth of studies on children and weightlifting and only found that children benefitted from the practice. Nothing was found about stunted growth.
I've still yet to find something wrong with a person getting physically or mentally stronger.