Young weightlifters' performance across time

Sports Biomech. 2003 Jan;2(1):133-40. doi: 10.1080/14763140308522812.


Prestigious professional organisations have questioned the efficacy of resistive training by children or have often neglected to address weightlifting in their position papers on resistive training for children. The purpose of this paper was to address the deficit in data regarding the efficacy of training children for weightlifting and to report data regarding to safety in this population. Eleven subjects (3 female, 8 male) who had trained at the USA Weightlifting Development Centre in Shreveport Louisiana for a minimum of 22 months (mean = 28.8; SD +/- 4.4) served as subjects for this study. Means for the pool of subjects subjected to t-test to compare data obtained at each subject's initial competition with that obtained at the individual's most recent competition revealed significant positive changes in body weight, snatch weight, clean and jerk weight, and total weight lifted. The latter three were significant both in absolute weight and in weight lifted per kg of body weight. Total weight lifted at competitions plotted separately for boys and for girls across time indicated an apparently steeper slope of improvement for boys. The latter were not tested for significance because of the small sample sizes. The lack of injury in training and in 534 competitive lifts was discussed. None required medical attention or loss of training time. It was concluded that there can be no doubt regarding the efficacy of weightlifting as carried out at the USA Weightlifting Development Centre. The importance of proper application of scientific theory of conditioning in a conservative manner for this population was emphasised.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Safety
  • Sex Factors
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*