Strength Training: Is it OK for kids?
Updated: Sep 4, 2021
Strength training offers kids many benefits, but there are important caveats to keep in mind. The first and most important thing to remember is that movement is exercise. Supporting and encouraging your children to do the things that come naturally to most, if not all children - walking, running, throwing a ball, learning how to swim, kicking a soccer ball, and riding a bicycle are just some of the most common forms of movement for kids. One of the more FAQ' s I get from parents is "when is it appropriate for my child to strength train?"
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that school - age children get 60 minutes or more of daily activity. As part of this activity, muscle and bone - strengthening exercises are recommended at least three times a week.
Exercise disciplines like yoga, calisthenics and stretching are all great at strengthening the body and teaching body awareness. I love when clients have their your children join our workouts for body - weight resistance exercises such as plank, jumping jacks and jogging in place. There are a myriad of benefits to 'young' athletes strength training, provided exercises are done properly. In fact, this form of exercise might put your child on a lifetime path to better health and fitness.
Kids as young as 7 or 8 years of age, can safely use resistance bands, tubing, and light dumbbells - 2 - 5 pounds, provided they are properly executing the exercises. The objective at this young age is to strengthen the body, teach proper exercise technique, and promote a safe joy of movement.
Don't confuse strength training with weightlifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting. Trying to build big muscles can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and areas of cartilage that haven't yet turned to bone (growth plates) - especially when proper technique is sacrificed in favor of lifting larger amounts of weight.
Again, I repeat, the overall objective is safely building strength and overall body awareness.
CAVEAT: YOUR CHILD IS MATURE ENOUGH TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS AND ABLE TO PRACTICE PROPER TECHNIQUE AND FORM.