Freshmen and Sophomores should not be allowed to take weight room


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Weight-training can be very dangerous; freshman and sophomores should wait until they are upper-classmen before they decide to take weight room.

Weight lifting is dangerous. According to a statistic from Nicholas Bakalar of the New York Times, “From 1990 to 2007, nearly a million Americans wound up in emergency rooms with weight-training injuries and that annual injuries increased more than 48 percent in that period.”

The controversy of which age is the proper one to start lifting weights has been brought up numerous times. So, the question is, should Cherry Hill East High School offer Mind and Body and/or Weight Room to freshmen and sophomores?

Some feel that children under the age of sixteen should lift weights. However, freshman and sophomores, who are ages fourteen through sixteen, should not have the ability to take Weight Room. Many underclassmen have a greater chances of being negatively affected by lifting weights than the upperclassmen. Also, the underclassmen have not developed the maturity or strength that the upperclassmen have.

The most common injuries in young children from strength training with weights are rotator cuff tears and herniated disks, which can both sideline a youth for up to a year, in addition to exposing them to ongoing problems during their growing stages.

A study was done in Rochester, Minnesota by Edward Laskowski, M.D., on children lifting weights where it was found that,”Heavy lifting can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and growth plates, especially when proper technique is sacrificed in favor of lifting larger amounts of weight.”

With the six day cycle used at East, each class, at one point, is had two or three days in a row. Globalpost, an online news site, recommends that people aged sixteen and under should have at least three rest days per week when weight training. The freshmen and sophomores, who fit into the group just mentioned, will have to work out their muscles through weight training on back to back days. They have a higher chance of having the overtraining symptom than juniors and seniors do, which negatively impacts their performances at school and their fatigue levels during class. Additional side effects of overtraining include appetite changes, personality changes, and changes in the amount of hours slept at night.

Keith Kovalevich, the Weight Room teacher for juniors and seniors, shared his thoughts on the idea of freshman and sophomores taking his class.

“[Underclassmen should] absolutely not [be taking Weight Room]. They lack maturity, need higher lifting skills, lack core strength (squats, deadlifts, and bench press), [they have a greater] risk of injury, [and it] cuts down on [the] opportunity for juniors and seniors [to take the class before they graduate].” Kovalevich said.

With lifting weights, there comes maturity. As I am currently taking Weight Room as a junior, I have observed the level of adulthood shown by each of my classmates. Horseplay in the weight room is not tolerated by any standard. There is a reason why teenagers are not allowed to drive cars until they are sixteen years old in the state of New Jersey. It does not have to do with any physical characteristics, it has to do with the teenager’s level of maturity and responsibility. Aspen Educational Group writer Hugh C. McBride found several statistics on teenage drivers.

“In 1999 – the year Colorado implemented tougher teen driving laws – 60 percent of the state’s 16-year-olds had licenses. By 2006, the percentage of 16-year-old drivers in the state had shrunk to 28 percent.” McBride claimed, The same rules apply to minors driving as to minors lifting. Both of them need an excess of discipline and adulthood, and through Kovalevich’s observations on freshman and sophomores, he feels that freshman and sophomores do not have the maturity to take his weight room class.

However, some say that teenagers should start weight training at a young age. Cassie Shortsleeve, a writer for Men’s Health magazine, compared weight training to a PGA tour golf player known as Tiger Woods. Shortsleeve explained how Tiger Woods began golfing at the age of two.

“The message to parents: If you want your kids to excel in sports, you need to start them young. Of course, beyond developing specific skills—such as throwing, kicking, and swinging—improving strength, power, and speed are key components of sports performance training.” Shortsleeve said.

In summary, freshman and sophomores should not be allowed to take Weight Room as a class, as shown in the possibility of negative effects from their young age and their non-developed maturity, and we should all continue to support the rule which allows only juniors and seniors to take weight room.