Dad's Shocking Video of His 4-Year-Old Lifting Weights Has People Getting Heated


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As parents, we all our want our kids to grow up fit and healthy. We encourage our kids to eat and try to make sure they stay as active as possible. But when one dad recently shared a video of his 4-year-old daughter at the gym lifting weights, it seems every mom and dad on the Internet had something to say about it.

  • It all started when James Townsend, the co-owner of a Crossfit studio, shared this clip of his daughter, Prisais, lifting some seriously heavy-looking weights.

    A post shared by James Townsend (@youngtonym) on

    "She's my motivation," the dad wrote in the caption on the video. "I was trying to focus and not laugh when she yelled 'C'MON P, I GOT THIS' !!! PR [personal record] Back Squat @ 35lbs, 4 yrs old."

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  • A 4-year-old who can lift 35 pounds sounds pretty impressive, but it wasn't long before the haters came out in force.

    Many of the commenters wrongly referred to Townsend's daughter as "he" -- because apparently only boys can lift weights.

  • Some said the child is "too young" to lift weights.

    "Let his bone structure develop more," they warned, again misidentifying the 4-year-old as a boy.

  • Others expressed concerns that lifting weights could stunt the 4-year-old's growth.

    "What the heck are you doing to that poor kid? He's [She's] going to stay 3 feet tall forever," one said.

  • Despite the shock and surprise many expressed, this isn't the little girl's first time hitting the gym.

    In fact, she even has her own Instagram account where she (or, presumably, her parents) shares photos and videos of her workouts, which include everything from gymnastics to running to, yes, some Crossfit moves.

  • In response to the critics, Townsend posted several comments explaining that he coaches his daughter carefully and she's never in danger.

    "The stunt growth [assertion] is a myth," he wrote. "This will help her development of strong bones, sports performance (LTAD: long term athletic development), muscle strength, endurance, etc."

    Board certified pediatrician Jarret Patton, MD, FAAP, tells CafeMom there is not a direct link between weight lifting and stunted growth; however, kids are susceptible to injuries that could have an effect on their growth and development. "Most commonly there could be muscle or ligament damage, as young bones aren't built for carrying massive amounts of weight," Dr. Patton explains. "More serious injuries can occur, as children can get hernias and fractures as a result of lifting a large amount of weight. If a fracture occurs over a growth plate in their bones, this will cause growth abnormalities."

  • Prisais certainly seems to be killing it during her workouts, but that doesn't mean every kid can or should lift.

    The 4-year-old does her workouts in a controlled environment with direct supervision from professionals in the fitness industry. That makes her situation a little different than most.

    "Before the age of 8, children don't typically have the coordination or the maturity to safely lift weights," Dr. Patton says. 

    He also cautions that most kids should stick to very light weights, and that there's no real long-term benefit to handing over the dumbbells while they're still learning their ABCs. "For children who are physically coordinated enough to lift weights (ages 7-10), the amount of weight lifted should only be a fraction of their body weight. The weight lifted never should be more than their total body weight. However, there is no real benefit of strength training in young children."

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