When kids can begin lifting weights

A sports medicine physician offers advice for parents


Kids are playing organized sports at younger ages these days, which may have parents wondering if they'd benefit from a weight-training program. Dr. Laura Goldberg, a sports medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic, says the biggest concern when it comes to kids and weightlifting is damaging their growth plates.

"So, repetitive activity that is not done properly or overload to that growth plate can cause injuries." explained Goldberg.

Goldberg says kids under 10 typically aren't strong enough to show the proper form when lifting weights and that can lead to an injury. So, they should stick to exercises that rely on their own body weight like push-ups or jumping rope.

Tweens may be able to lift lighter weights, but don't expect them to build bulky muscles. The focus should be on proper form and gaining strength. A regular weight-training program is ok for high school students, but Goldberg says before starting any child on a weight-training program you should talk a professional.

"There are lots of resources online. There are athletic trainers that do this. There are physical therapists that help you. Your sports medicine physicians may not help you with the form itself, but directing you of where to go," advised Goldberg.

Goldberg says for athletes 10 and under, parents should consult a physical therapist before starting them on a weight-training program.