Is it Safe for Young Boys to Pump Iron

Today Show, NBC News—July 19, 2011

In this Today Show segment Dr. Jordan Metzl of Hospital for Special Surgery, offers his expert advice on the dangers and benefits of strength training among adolescents and children.

Doctor Metzl is a sports medicine physician at HSS and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Matt Lauer: What damage could my 10 year old do to his body in the long term if he doesnít work with weights properly now?

Matt, when I watch that piece I have to say that is not the kind of thing we want to see at all. We are really against power lifting and bodybuilding for adolescents and teens. Itís dangerous for their growing bones and body. We are very much in favor of strength training for kids. Your son can be doing high repetition light weight training. I saw that guy trying to max out on that bench press set, thatís a disaster for a growing kid.

ML: So, if my child wanted to get a little bit stronger, should I set realistic goals and boundaries?

I want you to encourage him to do it. Strength training is a great thing for him to do. It will reduce his injury rate; it will make him play better. You can be a part of it too. The key is high repetition and light weight training which is going to recruit more muscle.

ML: Is it a huge mistake to allow your kids to go off and lift weight by themselves?

Thatís right. The number one reason kids get injured doing strength training is because they are not being supervised.

ML: Would we view it in a slightly different way if the kid was obese and wanted to use weights?

My obese patients are really discouraged from doing sports both physically and psychologically, so I think some of the things strength training offers them is that they can do this without feeling judged.

Watch the segment at today.msnbc.msn.com.

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