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The Truth About Weight Training

"Don't work out with that much weight," your mother yells. "You don't want to stunt your growth!" You groan and drop the bar...

But maybe you don't have to!

Does weightlifting stunt growth in teens?

Now that schools are incorporating strength training, discussion on the internet and around dinner tables have become focused on these teens. The older generations have opinions on muscular looks so they criticize this activity. Since they don't like the muscular build on their children, myths were created about fracturing growth plates and ruined backs. These critics may converse about their dislike for weightlifting often, but it doesn't change the truth. Found by many studies and scientists, weightlifting does not stunt your growth nor ruin your back and fracture your growth plates.

Myths on Weightlifting

Growth Plates

"Honey! Your growth plates will fracture and then you won't grow!"

However, this isn't true.

According to an article by Nike, "[A] 2020 clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that properly designed resistance training programs have no apparent negative effect on linear growth, growth plate health, or the cardiovascular system of children and adolescents."

Many other studies come to the same conclusion as the American Academy of Pediatrics. They found that teens fractured growth plates from falling, tripping, or hurting themselves in their sports such as soccer and gymnastics more than while training.

Ruined Spine

"Your back must hurt! if you keep working out you can permanently hurt it and stunt your growth!"

Although many people say this, it doesn't make it more true.

Contradicting that myth, a strong core, resulting from strength training, actually stabilizes your spine. Many people with weak abdominals have problems with painful backs and bad posture. If you allow your child or yourself to work out, you might have a better posture--another pet peeve of the older generation!

F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic also states, "Weightlifting can only be deemed bad for the spine if you perform various weightlifting movements with poor form." Poor form can hurt your back, but if you have a good trainer, as North Scott does, you would be fine.

The Benefits of Weightlifting

The benefits of weightlifting actually are--ironically--the opposite of their myths! Sara Lindberg of Healthline wrote in an article about weightlifting and teens' stunted growth. She found that studies of supervised teen weightlifting shown benefits including:

  1. increasing strength and bone strength index

  2. decreasing fracture risk and rates of sports-related injury

  3. growing self-esteem and interest in fitness


Overall, weightlifting does not stunt your growth. People believe that teen weightlifting will fracture growth plates and damage the spine but it isn't true. No matter the criticism, weightlifting benefits muscle strength, back stabilization, and bone strength, and helps teens' mental health.

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