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             Fitness Tips For 7/14/2004          

Does Weight Lifting Stunt Growth in Height?

I get this question all the time: "I'm in my teens and I want 
to start weight lifting. But someone recently told me that 
weightlifting can stunt my growth. Is this true?" 

It's seems this myth will never die. But I will try again to 
kill it.
The whole notion of growth being stunted by weight lifting is 
a myth. It didn't stunt the growth of Shaquille O'Neal, David 
Robinson, Karl Malone, Michael Vick, etc. They all started 
lifting in their early teens, and all have gone on to be well 
over 6' tall and star in professional sports. 

Dave Draper and Arnold Schwarzenegger started lifting very 
young and both are 6'1" or taller. Lou Ferrigno started 
working out at 14 years old at the height of 5' 9" and grew to 
6' 5" - taller then anyone in his family!

So the answer is no, weightlifting does not stunt height growth, or 
any other kind of growth, for that matter. There is no scientific 
evidence to support such ideas and, in fact, books such as the 
Russian, School of Height, suggest that weight training may 
stimulate growth. The latest weight training studies done on 
teens showed only positive effects. 

I'd also point out that activities such as running and jumping 
create forces on the body that are six to eight times one's body 
weight. The compression forces on his legs and spine are far 
greater in running and jumping than they will ever be in 
squatting or pressing over head. 

Not only will proper weight training not stunt growth, it allows 
teens to grow up with stronger muscles and bones, along with a 
healthy lifestyle. It certainly benefits any other sport they 
engage in.

Even though proper weight training protocols will not inhibit 
growth, the risk for such occurrences and injuries are just like
anything else. If you have proper instruction and a 
well-organized program,,your chances are very low.

It is important to learn the basics of weight training and get
medical clearance from your doctor before you begin.

Careful attention should be paid to correct weightlifting form, and 
not using too much weight or too much stress placed on the 
joints. This is still true, of course for everyone, regardless 
of age, and no one should ever try to do more weight than they 
can reasonably lift, otherwise injury can occur. 

Correct technique will reduce any risk of injury and develop your 
strength more effectively than not training with proper technique.
The greatest benefits and smallest risks occur when 8 to 15 
repetitions can be performed with a given weight before adding 
weight in small increments. 

Remember if you are going to exercise regularly always do a 
warm up followed by some stretching. After your workout take 
5-10 minutes to cool down and do some more gentle stretching. 
Studies have shown that people who warm up and cool down 
adequately have far fewer injuries.


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