Is weight lifting for children beneficial? Does it have ill effects? I searched about it but didn't get any answer on this site. It is a bit debatable. will it be beneficial for those aspiring to be bodybuilders or weightlifters? Would it affect their growth? Should I advise my child to give it a try if he really wants to? He is 11 years old.
Lifting weights with proper form while maintaining a healthy diet will not stunt growth. In fact, weight lifting has many benefits for youths including increased strength for sports and higher self-esteem. In particular, Olympic Weightlifting (with its technique-heavy requirement) is very suitable for young people and if they are looking to develop into that sport they should start as early as possible.
A comprehensive analysis of strength training in youth can be found on ExRx (summary below): http://www.exrx.net/WeightTraining/Weightlifting/YouthMisconceptions.html
Weight training programs for youth should be conducted by well-trained adults...
Weight training should take place in facilities equipped to support safe training practices.
Skill-based weightlifting programs that include a wide variety of general athletic preparation are appropriate for children and can commence between the ages of 9 and 12 years of age.
Total exercise training time should not exceed 15 hours per week. Coaches must consider the cumulative effect of all the trainee’s physical activities.
Utilization of maximal weights, although no data currently establishes a clear-cut relationship, has been opposed as a practice that places the child athlete at risk of injury.
See also the following articles:
Strength training in children and adolescents. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2216562
Resistance training, skeletal muscle and growth. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16437017
Yes weightlifting is beneficial for children. If you join a proper Olympic weightlifting club and receive proper instruction from a qualified coach. It is a sport which can be fun if the environment and instruction is right. Any type of activity is better than a sedentary lifestyle. My daughters (11 and 13) have been doing weightlifting at a club and they really enjoy it. They also do gymnastics and cycling and netball etc. They practice the Snatch and Clean and Jerk with comfortable weights as well as strength and conditioning exercise such as squats, jumps, press ups etc. I have noticed a big difference in their confidence, self esteem etc. The good thing about weightlifting is that not only is it healthy, improves your appearance, it also makes you better in general at many sports. Weightlifting strengthens the muscles of the legs and core so will make kids better at any sports which require jumping sprinting etc. I have also found that my daughters really seem to enjoy the training and the atmosphere and environment at the weightlifting club. There are older girls at the club who are fit and strong and good role models. They hang out, chat and listen to music while they are practicing. Healthy bodies make for healthy minds and I have found that their ability to concentrate and focus on homework has improved since they started weightlifting. Any comment about just letting kids be kids is ill informed and could be applied to any sport. Why should kids do any sport at all such as gymnastics, martial arts, cycling, swimming, weightlifting? Because it is good for them and sport can be fun.