The short and simple answer is YES! Young athletes do strength training to help them improve their athletic performance. Your son or daughter can do the same as well. But it needs to be done correctly so they can reap the many benefits it offers.
Before you get started, it’s important that you don’t confuse strength training with bodybuilding or weightlifting. A lot of people think they’re the same but this is not entirely correct. Building big muscles is not something you want your young child to do as doing this can put a lot of strain on their muscles, cartilage and tendon.
Rather, your child should only focus on light resistance, bodyweight training and controlled movements. They need to learn safety and proper technique.
Benefits of Strength Training for Kids
When done correctly, strength training can help your child in the following ways:
- Boost confidence and self-esteem
- Protect their joints and muscles from injuries
- Boost endurance and muscle strength
- Improve sports performance
- Improve flexibility and balance
- Strengthen the bones
- Keep blood pressure at healthy levels
- Keep cholesterol at healthy levels
According to the Department of Health and Human Services it’s important for school-age kids to have at least an hour of daily physical activity. The agency also recommends 3 days a week focused on exercises that strengthen the bone and muscles.
If your son or daughter tells you they’re interested in strength training, this may be a good time to introduce them to workouts specially designed for it. As long as they understand that strength training is more than just bulking up and you’re able to keep an eye on them to make sure they are focused on boosting endurance and muscle strength, then you’re leading them in the right path. Starting them early also means they are more likely to continue with this healthy and active lifestyle as they get older.
But before you get started, here are a few reminders:
- First, be sure to check with your child’s doctor if it’s OK for them to start strength training. The doctor will check your child’s blood pressure, weight, cholesterol level and any potential medical condition.
- It’s also a good idea to consult a personal trainer or a fitness coach with experience working with kids or young adults. If you’re enrolled in a gym such as American Family Fitness, they have trainers there who can help.
- Your child should have a proper warm up and cool down in every session.
- Help your child understand the importance of proper form and technique, as these are more important than the weights they lift.
- Your child can start with adult size weights but start with the lightest weights. For reps, then can do 10-12 at a time.
- Make sure they get enough rest between workouts. They should also make it a point to give each muscle group one full day of rest at a time.
- Finally, always be there to supervise. Adult supervision is a must for school age kids to ensure safety and also so that you can check their form and technique.
Keep it fun for your child to do strength training. Give them enough motivation so they’ll keep working on improving themselves. And don’t forget to give them balanced, nutritious meals to make each workout more effective.
Check out this upper body strength training video designed for kids: