Note on Children and Strength Training

A side note as we continue to review strength training in children, youth and adolescents.

The most common concern in strength training by children is the premature closure of the epiphyseal (growth) plate of the long bones, particularly the femur and tibia leading to growth abnormalities. Caine (2006) performed an extensive review of the medical literature, of 158 articles. These articles were mostly case studies, but also included some emprical studies. Caine and others found only three instances of injury to the epiphyseal plates that were related to injury from strength training. In each instance the injury occurred in the distal radius and/or ulna (the bones of the forearm). Only one of these cases reported a follow up which was described as “uneventful”. The vast majority of the injuries reported (13) came from football (American), six were related to football (soccer), one from hockey, three from gymnastics, two from basketball and one from baseball. The main mechanism for injury was highly repetitive activity such as running, throwing, as evidenced by cricket and baseball. The authors recommend that strength training should be part of the training regiem of adolescents to prevent damage to the epiphyseal plates.


Caine, D., DiFiori, J. & Maffulli, N. (2006). Physeal injuries in children’s and youth sports: reasons for concerns? British Journal of Sport Medicine, pp749-759 doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2005.017822

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