Does lifting weights hinder growth? - Fitness Volt (2023)

Most children have been participating in athletic training and competition since elementary school, which is great for their physical development. However, resistance training can help improve your performance in sports by increasing your strength, speed, stamina, and power. [1]

"But will it stunt growth?" is probably the most common question tweens, teens, and their parents ask before starting resistance training. Most people think that lifting weights can affect height in young lifters. But is this argument valid? Read on to resolve this dispute once and for all.

Does lifting weight hinder growth?

There is no scientific evidenceto show that weight lifting impairs growth.

If there is no science behind this popular academic narrative, then why has this story gained so much traction?

We like you to put on your detective hat for this story. Well, there is no data on how and when this false narrative started or became popular, but these are the most common reasons parents give when asked about the phenomenon:

  • To lift weights, you need to take dumbbells or dumbbells in your hands or put them on your shoulders. Many parents assume that since both situations require weight maintenance, their child's growth plates will be damaged and their height will decrease.
  • Many people subconsciously assume that a child has to defy gravity if they want to grow. Many children's tutors ask them to hang upside down to increase their height. On the other hand, exercises likeraidmidead weightrequire them to lean toward the ground while balancing heavy weights, adding to their parents' discomfort.

The myth that lifting weights affects growth stems from children's concerns that they could damage their growth plates. However, children often fracture their growth plates during resistance training due to poor form, being overweight, and lack of supervision.

Weightlifting Stunts Growth: Problems With This Assumption

Does lifting weights hinder growth? - Fitness Volt (1)

The problem with popular beliefs about weight lifting is that they assume kids hold weights all day. However, if a child trains for 45 to 60 minutes, he's likely to only hold the weight for 15 to 20 minutes max, assuming he does three sets of five different exercises in the 15 to 20 rep range. Our estimate is very conservative as this set and rep schedule is generally followed by professional bodybuilders, and tweens and teens do not need to maintain the same volume.

Also, children are likely to lift heavier things unsupervised at school or on the playground. You can keep your child from lifting weights at the gym, but you can't stop him from making multiple trips down the hall with his best friend on his back. And what about heavy school bags, huh?

In 2009 the National Force andConditioning Association (NSCA)concluded that "resistance training can offer unique benefits to children and adolescents when appropriately prescribed and supervised. Qualified acceptance of youth strength training by medical, sports, and sports organizations is becoming mainstream."2]

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Additionally, a 2020 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics states that "properly designed resistance training programs have no apparent negative effects on linear growth, physical health, or the cardiovascular system" in children and adolescents. [3]

If these studies don't make you feel any more comfortable, let's talk about one of the most famous people in the world:Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The governorHe started training at the age of 15. Although the statistics of him as a rookie in the academy are unknown, theseven times Mr. Olympiahe was 6 feet tall and weighed between 171.6 and 176 pounds at age 16. However, at the height of his career, Arnie stood at 6-foot-2 and weighed between 235 and 260 pounds. Weight training clearly hasn't stunted the growth of the Hollywood star.

How strength training works for tweens and teens

Worried that your child will look like a minion after lifting weights? Don't worry. Resistance training does not have the same impact on children as it does on boys and girls during puberty.

Resistance training in children can increase strength without hypertrophy. These strength gains are primarily attributed to a neurological mechanism whereby exercise increases the number of motor neurons that are recruited to fire with each muscle contraction. It helps increase your strength levels without increasing androgen levels. [4]

On the other hand, resistance training during and after puberty increases muscle growth by stimulating hypertrophy by increasing androgen concentrations.

Benefits of Lifting Weights for Tweens and Teens

Does lifting weights hinder growth? - Fitness Volt (2)

Below are the benefits of resistance training for kids:

1. Increases physical performance

Strength training can not only help increase strength, but also help improve motor skill performance, increase speed and power, build physical competence, reduce injury risk, and help rehabilitate injuries.

2. Improves overall health

Regular strength training can improve your cardiovascular fitness, body composition, bone mineral density, blood lipid levels, and insulin sensitivity. Additionally, research has shown that combining resistance training with aerobic exercise can have positive effects on reducing total body fat in adolescence. [5]

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3. Lifestyle benefits

Taking kids on the fitness journey can help make strength training part of their habit. Furthermore, it can help them develop self-confidence, discipline, courage, resilience, and an iron will.

4. Prequalification

Because most kids are very active, preventative strength training exercises can help prevent injury by targeting the joints and targeting joints that are often at risk of overuse, like the hips. B. The rotator cuffs at the shoulder. [6]

Risks of Weightlifting in Teens and Teens

After all that's been said and done, lifting weights is serious business. Here are some of the risks associated with weight lifting for children:

  • An improper recovery program can increase the risk of injury. Children ages 8 to 15 do not need to exercise more than three days a week. A day's rest between workouts allows your muscles and bones to rest and recover.
  • Explosive contractions of the muscle-tendon junction in the apophyseal areas during active play, sports, or weight lifting may increase the risk of avulsion fractures even closer to skeletal maturity.

How to lift weights safely

While weightlifting does not stunt growth, a young, inexperienced lifter is at greater risk of injury than more experienced lifters. To minimize the risk of injury in the weight room:

1. Get a trainer

Hiring a trainer can help shorten the learning curve of the practice. Not many YouTube tutorial videos can teach you the correct way to exercise like a trainer by your side.

Does lifting weights hinder growth? - Fitness Volt (3)

2. Focus on building a foundation

Your first goal after starting strength training as a teen or young adult should be to master basic exercises like theseraid,dead weight,supino, zhead pressure.While you should add machine exercises to your training program, be careful not to rely too much on them. To get the best possible return on your investment, you also need to perform a full range of motion.

Focus on building amind-muscle connectionand contract the muscles on each repetition. Don't run after the weights at this point. Weights will come with time and experience. At this stage, too, forget about one-rep max lifts and focus on mastering functional movements.

3. It's a marathon, not a sprint

Many beginners want to lift more weight with each workout. Otherwise, they think they are not progressing. However, it is as far from the truth as you can get.

Don't expect to get stronger or bigger with every workout. Set small incremental goals and don't beat yourself up or push yourself too hard if you miss deadlines.

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4. Master a trifecta

As we talk about global growth, we need to broaden our horizons and put nutrition and recovery in perspective. Many children experience suboptimal and sometimes non-linear growth. However, this has little to do with lifting heavy weights.

An unbalanced diet and recovery program (and genetics) are often responsible for stunted or retarded growth. You need to make sure that you (or your child) are following a personalized program of diet, exercise, and recovery to achieve the best growth results.

How to lift weights without stunting

One study suggests that if a child wants to increase their strength and improve their physical performance, they should complete resistance training for at least 23 weeks. [7]

The study concluded that a training program designed for children should consist of five sets per exercise, 6 to 8 repetitions per set, a training intensity of 80 to 89% of one repetition maximum (1RM), and rest for 3 to 4 minutes. between sets. .

Supervision:Instead of testing your 1RM, ask a professional to help you determine your one-rep max. There are several ways to get to a number without risking injury. You can also use oursconvenient online 1RM calculatorto find your maximum buoyancy.

frequent questions

What is hindering your growth?

There can be many reasons for growth retardation. Growth plate fractures, unbalanced diet, exercise, dietary routines, and genetics are some of the most common reasons.

Does sport make you taller?

There are no studies that prove or deny that exercise can make you taller. Although many people believe that playing basketball can make you taller, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

Does strength training make boys and girls muscular?

It depends on your age. Strength gains before puberty occur through neurological mechanisms, which means that pre-adolescent boys do not gain muscle mass through resistance training. On the other hand, pubertal gains can increase muscle growth through actual muscle hypertrophy, which is amplified by pubertal hormones.


There is no conclusive scientific evidence that weight lifting impairs growth. At the same time, however, no amount of scientific research can confirm whether weight lifting can increase your height, since most people refer to height when they talk about weight lifting in tweens and teens.

However, previous concerns about strength training focused on what would happen if a child lifted weights. However, the focus now is on what happens when a child doesn't lift weights.

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In addition to improving the aesthetics of your body, lifting weights can help increase your confidence and overall functionality, which can translate into other aspects of your life.

So get them young in the weight room and watch them become the best version of themselves.

Supervision:A doctor should be consulted before beginning a resistance training program for a child with uncontrolled hypertension, uncontrolled seizures, specific cardiovascular disease, or a history of treatment with an anthracycline chemotherapy drug.


  1. Maffulli N. At what age should a child begin regular, moderate, or vigorous intensity continuous exercise? West J Med. 2000 Jun;172(6):413. doi: 10.1136/ewjm.172.6.413. PMID: 10854400; PMC ID: PMC1070938.
  2. Faigenbaum AD, Kraemer WJ, Blimkie CJ, Jeffreys I, Micheli LJ, Nitka M, Rowland TW. Resistance Training for Youth: Updated Position Statement Document from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Thickness guide edition J 2009 August 23 (5 supplements): S60-79. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31819df407. PMID: 19620931.
  3. Paul R. Stricker, Avery D. Faigenbaum, Teri M. McCambridge, CONSEJO DE MEDICINA DEPORTIVA Y ESTADO FISICO, Cynthia R. LaBella, M. Alison Brooks, Greg Canty, Alex B. Diamond, William Hennrikus, Kel Kel Logan, Kody Moffatt, Blaise A. Nemeth, K. Brooke Pengel, Andrew R. Peterson; Resistance Training for Children and Adolescents.pediatricsJune 2020; 145 (6): e20201011. 10.1542/order 2020-1011
  4. RAMSAY, JEAN A.1; BLIMKIE, CAMERON J.R.1; SMITH, KAREN2; GARNER, SCOTT2; MACDOUGALL, J.DUNCAN1; SALE, DIGBY G.1. Effects of strength training in prepubertal children. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise: October 1990 - Volume 22 - Number 5 - pp. 605-614
  5. Alberga, A., Prud'homme, D., Kenny, G.and anotherEffects of aerobic and resistance training on abdominal fat, apolipoproteins, and highly sensitive C-reactive protein in obese adolescents: the HARTY randomized clinical trial.Int J Obes39, 1494–1500 (2015).
  6. Kim D Barber Foss, Staci Thomas, Jane C Khoury, Gregory D Myer, Timothy E Hewett; A school-based neuromuscular training program and the incidence of sports-related injuries: a prospective randomized controlled clinical trial.Trem J AthlJanuary 1, 2018; 53(1): 20–28. doi:
  7. Lesinski M, Prieske O, Granacher U Effects and dose-response relationships of resistance training on exercise capacity in young athletes: a systematic review and meta-analysis British Journal of Sports Medicine 2016;50:781-795.

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Does lifting weights mess with your growth? ›

"There's no evidence that weight lifting stunts growth," she said. "In fact, resistance training can help build coordination and strength in young athletes, and there's a strong push right now for young female athletes to lift weights in the hope that it may offer more injury prevention.

Do lifting weights stop height growth? ›

The myth that kids will stop growing if they lift weights too young is not supported by any scientific evidence or research.

Does lifting weights at 13 stunt growth? ›

Benefits of Weight Lifting for Teens

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has concluded that contrary to what many believe, proper strength training does not stunt growth.

What can stunt your growth? ›

Stunted growth: what actually causes it? The most direct causes are inadequate nutrition (not eating enough or eating foods that lack growth-promoting nutrients) and recurrent infections or chronic or diseases which cause poor nutrient intake, absorption or utilization.

Can too much exercise stunt a child's growth? ›

Exercise can transiently block the expression of statural growth by competitively removing the necessary nutritional support for growth. Statural growth retardation can be corrected by catch-up growth, but stunting may also be permanent (depending on the timing and magnitude of the energy drain).

Should 14 year olds lift weights? ›

Overall, strength training is safe for teens. The rate of injuries is low, with the most common injuries related to inadequate supervision or instruction, using improper technique, or trying to lift too much weight.

What is the average weight for a 13 year old to lift? ›

The average bench for a male 13-year-old is 0.8 times bodyweight. The average bench for a female 13-year-old is 0.7 times bodyweight.

What size weight should a 13 year old lift? ›

A good rule of thumb is to start with a weight you can easily lift 10 times, with the last two repetitions being increasingly difficult. For some teens, this might be 1 pound to 2 pounds. If you are strong and fit, you might start at 15 pounds to 20 pounds.

What are signs of stunted growth? ›

The primary symptom that may indicate a growth problem is when a child grows less than 2 inches a year after his second birthday. Other symptoms may include: slow development of physical skills, such as rolling over, sitting up, standing, and walking. delayed social and mental skills.

How do I know if I stunted my growth? ›

Growth stunting is identified by comparing measurements of children's heights to the World Health Organization 2006 growth reference population: children who fall below the fifth percentile of the reference population in height for age are defined as stunted, regardless of the reason.

Does height come from mom or dad? ›

The genetics of height

If they are tall or short, then your own height is said to end up somewhere based on the average heights between your two parents. Genes aren't the sole predictor of a person's height. In some instances, a child might be much taller than their parents and other relatives.

Should boys lift weights before puberty? ›

Some boys want to lift weights to build muscles. You will not be able to build muscle until you are in puberty. Before puberty, lifting weights will tone your muscles, but you will not build muscles yet.

Does weight lifting at 12 stunt growth? ›

The misconception that lifting stunts growth is preventing young athletes from fully developing who they are as individuals, on and off the field. By partaking in strength training, young athletes develop in multiple ways that lead to injury prevention and even improved mental health.

Can too much exercise delay puberty? ›

Sometimes delayed puberty and growth can be secondary to a chronic illness, malnutrition, excessive physical exercise and even stress.

Does gym affect height at 15? ›

Lifting weights around the time you hit puberty or your teenage years does not stunt your height. Matter of fact, since weight training is directly related to increased production of testosterone, it might just help your muscle grow bigger, denser and stronger, even taller.

At what age is it OK to start lifting weights? ›

As early as age 7 or 8, however, strength training can become a valuable part of an overall fitness plan — as long as the child is mature enough to follow directions and able to practice proper technique and form.

What age is best to start lifting weights? ›

What age is it safe to lift weights? Young athletes can begin a strength training program around the same time they begin to play organized sports, as early as 7 or 8 years old if they express interest and are mature enough to follow directions.

Why is my bench so weak? ›

If you have a weak bench press, this is a result of numerous factors, which include weak muscle groups such as shoulders, triceps, and chest. It may also be a result of poor or incorrect form and even the result of a muscular imbalance.

At what age should I stop lifting heavy weights? ›

Heavy weights.

Lifting weights is a great way to build muscle strength, but when you're over 50 there is no reason to push yourself too hard. Try a slightly lighter weight that you can safely do 10 to 12 reps with.

What happens if a 13 year old lifts weights? ›

Weight training for teens has many benefits, including improved athletic performance and strength, says a May 2016 study in Frontiers in Physiology. To clear up one unfounded rumor, according to the study, weight lifting as a teen will not stunt growth or affect growth in any way.

How often should a 14 year old lift weights? ›

Generally speaking, beginning with a full-body strength-training program two to three days a week is a safe place to start, in addition to choosing weights that are challenging but not too hard to lift with proper form before moving on to heavier weights.

What should the average 14 year old be able to lift? ›

The average deadlift for male 14 year olds is 1.8 times bodyweight. The average deadlift strength of 14 year old females is 1.6 times bodyweight. Depending on the weight class, deadlifts will range from 105kg to 174kg for men and 77kg to 121kg for women.

Is 13 too early to start lifting weights? ›

Lifting weights can help kids as young as 7 years old. “Strength training can be a wonderful part of a sports program,” Dr. Nepple says. “It can improve performance and help reduce the chance of an injury, but children should want to do this and know that they must follow directions.”

Is it okay for a 13 year old to build muscle? ›

Teenagers can start to build muscle in the gym after puberty. In fact, teenagers may be able to build muscle faster than adults. The hormones that cause a teenager to grow rapidly in puberty increase your metabolism and increase muscle growth.

Is 13 a good age to start working out? ›

Doctors recommend that teens age 13 to 18 engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. 1 At minimum, your teen should get 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. Ideally, they should spend 60 minutes exercising five to six times a week.


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