Will weight training stagnate growth in a teenager?

Is this a myth or fact? If it does, how does it stagnate a youth's growth?

  • Is there any specific reason why you suspect this could happen?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Nov 29, 2011 at 17:48
  • nothing specific, but was just wondering if it's a myth or not.
    – KJYe.Name
    Dec 5, 2011 at 17:46
  • 3
    For future reference I'd like to point out that we're not here to debunk myths without any decent source that supports it.
    – Ivo Flipse
    Dec 5, 2011 at 18:23
  • 2
    This belief is widespread enough for teenagers to think twice before weight training, or for their parents to disallow it. We could do with facts here. Think of the following question: "Could squatting hurt my knees?". No need for decent sources in support to genuinely be in doubt, so it is a legitimate question.
    – Gabriel
    Nov 18, 2015 at 15:35
  • I'm guessing there is a correlation vs causation component to this myth. Shorter limbs generally make it easier to push weights, because of leverage, so you'll see people with that physical makeup having more "success" and being encouraged by their results, and maybe focusing on that activity. Kind of like why you don't see a lot of really tall elite gymnasts. It's not because gymnastics stunts the growth. Oct 5, 2016 at 15:39

2 Answers 2



Training improperly or with poor form will cause all sorts of injuries both acute and degenerative, whether one is a child, teenager or adult.

...but not really

That being said, the argument that lifting heavy things is itself somehow detrimental to growth is susceptible to a simple counterexample: children growing up on farms do all sorts of heavy lifting and their growth seems to be benefited, not stunted.

This Rippetoe and Pendlay interview has a layman's answer:

Pendlay: I personally don’t see any physical problems. We don’t hesitate to put kids in soccer or gymnastics at 4-5 years of age, either of which are way more stressful on the body than weight training, and either of which are way more likely to cause injury. So I think the whole safety thing is a non-issue. ...

Rippetoe: I would just like for somebody to explain to me why it would stunt a kid’s growth. Do they actually think it smashes them down shorter, or shuts off the supply of growth hormone due to pressure in the skull, or that it destroys all the growth plates, or that it [scares] off the Tooth Fairy?

The Starting Strength book has detailed statistics comparing youth lifting to other sports in terms of injuries.

This article by Lon Kilgore goes more in-depth from a scientific perspective.


The concern regarding stunting the growth of teenagers is related to injuring growth plates. It turns out that weight training does not increase the incidence of growth plate injury and does not stunt growth.

However, injury prevention requires correct form and the avoidance of overloading. It is especially important to supervise their training and teach form first. Crossfit Kids, for example, emphasizes form with very low weight (PVC only) until the student shows the emotional and physical maturity to use real weight. You can rely on an adult to make good decisions about their own limits, but the instructor should be making those decisions for a child.

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