Can Weight Training Save Your Child’s Life? Could Be…

Dear Mr. Dad: My 9-year old son is sports obsessed and quite athletic. He’s involved in one sport or another all year long, and he recently told my wife and me that he wants to start lifting weights. Is it safe for kids that young to do weight training?

A: When I was about your son’s age, there were two things I really wanted to do: lift weights and throw a curve ball. I was told that both activities would do serious, irreparable, long-term damage: that throwing curves would strain my elbow and destroy my joints, and that lifting weights would stunt my growth. Several decades later, conventional wisdom has changed on both fronts. Curve balls, researchers now say, aren’t dangerous—but they aren’t necessarily safe either. More about the curve in a future column. But when it comes to kids pumping iron, there’s been a 180-degree change.

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