Weight Training For Children
Is weight training ok for children? Heck yeah it is!
Done properly, strength training can offer many benefits to young athletes. It can even be a good idea for kids who want to look and feel better about themselves. It can also be used as a pathway to get into fitness from an early age.
General strength training should not be confused with other forms of strength training; Olympic lifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting. These activities involve lifting heavy weights to build large amounts strength and muscle mass. This can place too much stress on young muscles, ligaments, tendons and may damage to soft tissue growing on their bones (growth plates).
Prepubescent Children under the age of 13, can start off strength training by using bodyweight type exercises (press ups, squats, sit ups), rubber exercise bands, fixed weight machines or light free weights (barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells). Focusing on developing strength by learning body control and proper technique.
Strength Training Benefits for Children:
Strength training done properly can:
– Increase your child’s muscle strength and endurance
– Decrease your child’s risk of injury when preforming their sport
– Help your child’s sporting performance most sports from dancing, gymnastics, football to running etc.
– Help your child maintain a healthy weight
– Improve your child’s confidence and self esteem
– Improve your child’s overall strength and bone density
– Teach your child correct lifting technique required later in life
Strength Training Guidelines for Kids:
1. Favour the lower intensities (light weight for higher reps 10-20 reps)
2. Stay away from overhead pressing or barbell squatting (to minimise compression of the spine when still growing and developing)
3. Favour bodyweight exercise first (before adding in external resistance)
4. Favour eccentric and isometric contractions to help develop strength, body control and injury prevention
5. Keep it FUN!
So, mums and dads don’t worry little Gordy isn’t going to turn into mini Arnold Schwarzenegger anytime soon 😉