At Ames Strength Club we will be working with clients ages 10 and up to make them stronger, more explosive, flexible, and coordinated. The most common question we will get is – is 10 years old too young to lift and will my child be in danger? I am here to tell you that Olympic weightlifting is safe for your kids and will actually be very beneficial for them.
The most common concern is that lifting will stunt a child’s growth by messing up their growth plates. Weightlifting actually increases bone density, which strengthens your child’s bones. Younger athletes will never lift maximally, but sub-maximally to build proper body mechanics, strength, and coordination.
The other concern is that Olympic weightlifting is not a safe sport. Olympic weightlifting is actually one of the safest sports out there. Your child is over 30 times more likely to get injured playing soccer over Olympic weightlifting. Most injuries occur when the athletes don’t have a proper warm-up, lift above their capabilities, or lift with improper technique. As stated before, younger athletes will never lift maximally and they will never lift without proper technique.
At the beginning of their training younger athletes will start by building strength by sticking to presses, deadlifts, and squats. This is to build the foundation for the younger athletes. It serves them no purpose teaching them the clean and jerk right off the bat if they are not strong enough to pull the bar or get it over their heads. Younger athletes need to build up their strength before they work on the explosive movements.
Younger athletes will also learn how to lift and fail correctly. Not every lift will be a successful one, so the athlete needs to know how to get away from the bar. The child’s safety is always the number one priority. For this reason, technique will always be more important than how much they can lift.
Olympic weightlifting is also about confidence. It does the athlete no good to try to lift to failure and get frustrated. We want the athlete to have good feelings about lifting and this is accomplished by having as few misses as possible. As stated before, the younger athletes will lift sub-maximally which in turn will build up their confidence and make lifting more enjoyable.
Done correctly, Olympic weightlifting is extremely beneficial for your child’s health and athletic performance. Olympic weightlifting relies on power and speed that translates into every sport. For some extra reading I have put a few of the sources I drew from below. Olympic lifting is a great sport and is very safe for younger children.
By John Blessington
Ames Strength Club, Head Coach