Weight Lifting Stunts Growth Myth
There is a good reason for the stunt myth regarding weight training for teenagers, which needs a bit of explanation before the answer can be fully understood. When a child or teenager is growing their bones grow out of a growth plate, which helps to regulate both the shape and the length of the growing bones.
Growth begins at the outside of the growth plate and not in the middle, as the child gets older the bones grow around the growth plate which are the last part of the bone to get hard as adulthood is reached. But while the growth plate is still relatively soft in childhood the growth of the child can be affected if the growth plate is damaged.
Despite the fact that lifting weights may stunt growth, some of the world greatest bodybuilders who are well over 6 foot tall started when they were teenagers. Men like Lou Ferrigno, Dave Draper, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Shaquille O'Neal all started training when they were teenagers.
It all depends on the instruction, the discipline and the technique used to lift a weight. Warming up before adding any serious weight is necessary for all teenagers who train with weights. Technique or form on how the exercise is performed is critical to avoid stunted growth.
Teenagers should also stay away from training to failure and never do 1RM (one rep max workouts) because technique always starts to deteriorate when lifting a weight that is too heavy. When a teenager with soft bones trains correctly he/she will not affect the growth plate and no stunting will occur.
Essentially stunting comes from the injury of the growth plate, which people blame on weight training. This only happens when the person doing the weight lifting is not doing the movement correctly or is training with a weight that is too heavy.