Strength training for kids is different than strength training for adults. This type of exercise program focuses on controlled movements and proper techniques using more repetitions and lighter weights. It can be done using free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, or even a child’s own body weight.
The benefits of youth strength training are similar to those for adults, though the importance of getting an early start cannot be overemphasized—the most important benefit of any youth fitness program is an improved attitude toward lifelong activity. Improvements in muscular fitness, bone mineral density, body composition, motor fitness performance and injury resistance should be compelling evidence for all parents, though children will likely focus on things like enhanced sports performance and the social aspects of exercise. In fact, children don’t usually have the ability to comprehend long-term concepts until the ages of 11 to 14, so abstract ideas like healthy bones and disease prevention will do little to motivate them, and may in fact demotivate some children. Stick with ideas like self-improvement and individual success, and always make sure everyone is having fun. Fun is the number one motivator in almost every aspect of a child’s life.
Sally is ready to join the basketball team this year. You encourage her, tell her to practice everyday, and even join in on the team’s fundraising efforts. As adults we know the positive health benefits that come with exercise and strength training. These exact same benefits can be applied to children as well.
Building a safe and effective weight training routine for Sally is easier than one may think. The program should include the use of light free weights, an exercise for each muscle group, and a proper warm up and cool down. Let’s not forget the ultimate goal of having fun!
Strength training, or resistance training, is often incorporated in sports and physical fitness programs for children and adolescents. Some adolescents use strength training to improve their appearance by increasing muscle bulk. Depending on specific program goals, strength-training programs may use free weights, weight machines, elastic tubing, or the participant’s own body weight.
There are a few things that you should know about strength training. First, it is very safe. As long as you have a good strength coach showing you what to do, the chance of injury is very small. As a matter of fact, one of the best ways to prevent injuries in sports is to strength train, especially for girls. Strength training is very important for girls for another reason – it is the best way to build strong bones. And don’t worry about the big muscles – girls will get big muscles only if a girl does vigorous weightlifting for many years. Weightlifting can give you that “toned” look if you workout hard enough. For you guys, it can give you that “ripped” look. It is also great for helping you lose weight. One of the best things about strength training is the confidence it builds. You will feel much better when you get stronger. When combined with flexibility, agility and aerobic training, it will make you a better athlete.
Here are the rules:
An adult who’s qualified in youth physiology and strength training should be present at all times, instructing and supervising. While not all great instructors have four-year degrees, in general, you should look for a program geared to youth, taught by a person with a degree in exercise science and experience in coaching young people. You may be more likely to find instructors with this background at larger family-oriented fitness facilities and YMCAs.
The adult should focus on the youth’s proper technique and form and help with adjustments. How many pounds a kid can lift should not be a priority.
Set realistic goals. They should involve coordination, balance and quickness the motor skills that improve performance and decrease the incidence of injuries. The strength will come along as your son matures.