How to Prevent Stunting Your Growth While Lifting Weights

Women Stretching
Group of women warming up and stretching before a workout at the gym. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

One urban legend argues that any form of strength training can stunt a young person's growth, and therefore should be avoided until young people are are full grown. While this is largely overblown -- strength training can actually be very healthy and helpful for persons who are still growing -- excessive stress on the body caused by weight lifting can cause damage that leads to stunted growth. If you are still growing, take this risk seriously and guard against it.

Step 1

Talk to your doctor. It's best to have a medical professional assess the potential risks and benefits of weight lifting for your body.

Step 2

Learn the proper lifting technique. Many injuries that can cause growth problems occur when the lifts are done improperly, applying pressure to growth plates, bones and other non-muscle structures in the body. You may want to have a personal trainer guide you through these lifts or watch an instructional video before lifting.

Step 3

Warm up and cool down before and after lifting. This can be a quick, five-to-10 minute period of light exercise designed to increase blood flow and get the body ready for exercise. This will also help prevent injuries from occurring.

Step 4

Perform light lifting workouts. One set of 12 to 15 repetitions can be enough for individuals who are still growing and at risk of stunting their growth. More intense lifting workouts featuring multiple sets should be reserved for individuals who have already finished growing.

Tip

Other forms of strength training, such as body mass exercises and resistance tubing workouts, tend to be more safe than weight lifting.

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