“I want to be bigger and stronger” is a phrase heard by the parents of teens, often after the teen’s coach for a sport like rugby or football has told them that getting stronger will help their performances in that sport.
Is it safe for my my Teenager to Lift ?
In a previous article Powerlifting Injury Rates I look at the injury rates for powerlifting compared to other sports, which shows that a properly coached powerlifter has a very low chance of injury. This also includes teenagers, however of special concern to parents is the perceived risk of stunted growth, however there is no evidence of this in young athletes who lift with correct form and supervision by a qualified coach. For more information take a look at Strength Training for Kids which looks at some of the science. For the bemefits of strength training for other sports take a look at Powerlifting for Sports Performance.
Can Teens compete in Powerlifting ?
Teenagers can begin to compete in the sport of powerlifting from the age of 14, in Australia this is the Sub-Junior Division, however competing in a full powerlifting meet for the first time at this age can be stressful for Athlete, Parents and coaches, therefore as a first step to competing I strongly suggest entering the Australian School Bench Press Championships.
Australian School Bench Press Championships
Each year powerlifting Australia run a postal championship with all High Schools eligible to enter students across a wide array of age and weight division. What makes this competition great for the first time athlete is the ability to make their competition lifts in a comfortable familiar environment. The Lifts are witnessed by a teacher and or Qualified Powerlifting Coach and sent via post to Powerlifting Australia to be collated and winners determined from all high schools across the country. National records can be set as part of this event.
The other advantage of competing in the school championships is the minimal costs involved, as the teen powerlifters do not need to wear any special equipment and do not need to pay for membership of Powerlifting Australia.
As a Parent and coach I have been involved in the School Bench Press Championships for several years supervising lifts at Gympie City Gym in cooperation with James Nash State High School.