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Weightlifting For Youth: Can Be Safe and Enjoyable, Expert Panel Says


Participation in the sport of weightlifting and the performance of weightlifting movements as part of a strength and conditioning program can be safe, effective and enjoyable for children for children and adolescents, says a new position statement by an international panel of experts, as long as qualified supervision and instruction is available and progression is based on the technical performance of each lift.

Studies show that incorporation of weightlifting exercises into a training program can provide positive alterations in:

  • body composition
  • cardiorespiratory fitness
  • motor fitness (e.g. jumping and sprinting), andTeenage boy with hand held weights
  • overall weightlifting performance.

Research suggests that the weightlifting injury rate is lower than other forms of resistance training and sports in general. 

"However, it must be emphasized that regardless of the exercise choice, all resistance training programs should be consistent with a participant's training, age, technical competency and maturational statuse," says the expert panel. 

"Owing to the skill level required to perform weightlifting movements correctly, it is important that individuals responsible for teaching complex movements to youth hold the requisitie coaching qualifications, and have experience teaching weightlifting to children and adolescents to ensure their continued safety and well-being," the statement concludes. 

Loyd RS, Faigenbaum AD, Stone MH, et al. Position statement on youth resistance training: the 2014 International Consensus. Br J Sports Med 2014;48:498-505. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092952