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Children and teenagers are commonly warned against lifting heavy weights for fear that they may stunt their growth by doing damage to growing bones.
There are ongoing questions and concerns from parents and teenagers themselves surrounding the topic of teens lifting weights. It has generally been accepted by a lot of people that youth, both children and teens should not do weight-training for fear of stunting their growth. This is actually not true. However, even with sufficient evidence pointing to just the opposite, this myth seems to be the prevailing belief in most of the general public. Let it be put to rest; weightlifting does not stunt growth in children and teenagers.

HGH theory

The Human Growth Hormone, or HGH, is present in humans until they stop growing. It is mostly present in higher levels between the ages of 0 to 15 years and tappers off during your young adulthood. It is the hormone responsible for triggering not only your bone growth but also your tissue, organ and muscle growth. The Human Growth Hormone is usually most active when you are sleeping, which is one of the reasons why children need to get more sleep than adults, promoting their cell growth.

Exercise in all forms releases all sorts of hormones in your body, this includes endorphins and the Human Growth Hormone. It has not been proven that as a result of the extra Humane Growth Hormone being released into the human system, tissue growth may be positively effected, causing a person to grow bigger or taller. There other theory is more plausible.

Mineralization of Bones due to Exercise

As mentioned above, increased exercise leads to all sorts of healthy chemical and physical changes in the human body. With lifting weights, there is a degree of stress being placed on the bones and muscles which actually causes them to adapt to the movement. This adaptation is leads to an increase in strength in the muscles and tendons, and improved density in the bones as a result of the mineralization. The overall result here is that the bones and muscles become stronger, which promotes some slight bone growth in your teens body.

The strengthening effect that weight lifting has on your bones and muscles even has a protective effect as well. Your bones are less likely to break and are less fragile when your muscles are stronger because they have more tone. This means muscles can actually really protect your bones. With enough training in weightlifting, participating in any other physical activity, including contact and non-contact sports, is just that much safer for your bones.

What Exactly to Include and Avoid in your Teens Weight Training program

A properly planned weight training program can keep your teens bones and joints safe and protected, avoiding all chances of injury. A program should generally be well-rounded and include all muscle groups evenly. Teenage boys often get fixated on their arms becoming really large, a result of the bombardment of masculinity and macho-men in the media, and they usually focus on doing heavy bicep curls endlessly. This is a big mistake, and this is exactly the type of situation that can lead to your teen being injured.

Exercises like squats and deadlifts which are highly technical and the most effective weight lifting movements should be done under supervision to ensure proper technique. The only time injury is likely here is if the youth is unprepared for a heavy movement and performs 1RM's. Doing 1 to 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions is completely safe and does not stunt growth in your teen.