Should Kids Lift Weights?
What age is it safe to lift weights? Young athletes can begin a strength training program around the same time they begin to play organized sports, as early as 7 or 8 years old if they express interest and are mature enough to follow directions. Aug 15, · Kids can begin resistance training around the same age they become interested in sports — usually between 6- and 8-years-old. Moving with proper form .
If you want to really rile up some parents, just ask them when they think a kid is old enough to safely start strength training. Sounds scary, right? Myer and Avery Faigenbaum, Ed. Furthermore, strength training actually reduces the chances of a kid getting injured playing a sport, according to a meta-analysis in Current Sports Medicine Reports. Kids actually need additional activity. Also: Stop imagining Billy pumping iron a la vintage Schwarzenegger.
And for helicopter parents concerned about what is qcf level 4 equivalent to kids handling added weight, consider this: What is hcm disease of the heart kids run and jump and play, they land and hit the ground with an impulse load of 2—10 times their bodyweight going through their bones and joints, Myer says.
Without learning the proper way to jump and land—and without building a strong foundation to absorb that impact—that year-old boy is at a much higher risk of injury absorbing that impact without any training under his belt.
Most kids are ready to start intentionally building strength by 7 or 8 years old, both experts agree. The only real concern? Whether a child is emotionally ready for training. At that age, strength training looks like frog squats, bunny hops, hermit crab touches, and bear crawls across the yard or gymnasium—moves that are fun and solely intended to get kids moving in all different directions, starting to build up muscle naturally. If your kid is already past 8, get him or her in now.
Jumping, throwing, kicking—strength is a prerequisite for every movement. And since kids today are weaker than their peers were a few decades ago, the earlier they become active, the better. It seems there is a window of opportunity early in life to develop habits and train your systems in a way that propels you into more physical success for the future.
Another concept to learn: training age. But maximizing training age is more impactful in kids because they have more adaptive processes at what age can children lift weights capitalize on, Myer says.
At what age can children lift weights in particular are ripe with potential because their injury risk explodes at maturation thanks to hormoneshe adds.
Plus, while you can increase bone strength as an adult, the gains you get during childhood are much greater, Faigenbaum adds. For example: As an adult, agility work seriously taxes your nervous system—but over time, you adapt, and your reflexes become faster.
That leads them down the trajectory of exercise deficit disorder, which will eventually lead to obesity, he explains. However, if you can get those outlier kids into strength training around this time, they not only start developing their training age but also have the crucial thrill of becoming good at something.
In fact, a study in Translational Pediatrics found in addition to reduced injury risk and increased bone strength, resistance training helped improve self-esteem in children and adolescents. Of course, there are risks associated with all types of physical activity. But research shows well-devised and supervised strength training programs actually cause fewer injuries than general sports, Faigenbaum says.
The one peripheral factor worth mentioning: Endless studies show anabolic steroids are particularly harmful for adolescents because they freeze the growth plates in bones, stunting height. But, as Myer points out, anabolic steroid use is not about the activity weight lifting but instead about the environment. By exposing kids to strength training via gym class, YMCA programs, or organized sports, parents can steer them away from the dark side of muscle building.
If your child is ready to start strength training, look for an after-school, technique-based YMCA program, or ask a local PE teacher—they know about the sport and know your community, Faigenbaum suggests. I think all boys and girls should perform six weeks of conditioning before they start playing a sport. For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube! So how young is too young?
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Jun 20, · As early as age 7 or 8, however, strength training can become a valuable part of an overall fitness plan — as long as the child is mature enough to follow directions and able to practice proper technique and form. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that school-age children get 60 minutes or more of daily activity. Oct 01, · Rather than dictate a specific age that is safe to begin weightlifting, it depends on the interest and maturity of the child and his or her ability to control his movement patterns. The current view is that kids should go light – perhaps lifting ten percent of their body weight. Lifting weights can help kids as young as 7 years old. “Strength training can be a wonderful part of a sports program,” Dr. Nepple says. “It can improve performance and help reduce the chance of an injury, but children should want to do this and know that they must follow directions.”.
A few years ago, a video emerged showing Tiger Woods driving a golf ball like the pro that he is. The only catch: He was just 2 years old at the time.
Two years old! The message to parents: If you want your kids to excel in sports, you need to start them young. Of course, beyond developing specific skills—such as throwing, kicking, and swinging—improving strength, power, and speed are key components of sports performance training. And that concern has merit. Sports Conditioning , an organization that specializes in youth athletic training. However, Mejia is quick to point out that these injuries are almost always the result of using too much weight with improper technique.
Plus, he adds that smart strength training is absolutely acceptable—as long as the right exercises are chosen and that the youth has an appropriate level of base strength and mobility. Looking for a plan for you? Discover the cutting-edge fitness system that will melt fat, torch calories, and sculpt every single muscle in your body!
Fair warning: You may even be surprised at what perfect form is. Watch the videos below and have your child complete the movements while you observe. Master the basics first. Work on the two movements above—the pushup and overhead squat—until they can be completed correctly, says Mejia.
If your kid doesn't pass the body-weight tests with a score of 3, he or she is not ready for actual weights. These movements require total-body strength that will help in just about every sport. Want a great new move to chisel your abs? Once your kid aces the tests, focus on compound, multi-joint movements.
Choose exercises that emphasize the upper back, core, and hips, says Mejia. Think: Less benching, more rowing. Smart exercises to include: stability-ball leg curls, inverted rows, and reverse flys with light dumbbells.
Stay away from most machines. Many gym machines—such as the leg extension, leg press, and chest fly a. Cable machines are the exception.
Watch the weights. Poor form and excessive loading are the reasons kids wind up injured. Use a variety of strengthening equipment. Medicine balls, bands, and cable-based machines allow for three-dimensional movement. These are ideal because they offer kids variety, while training balance and stability just like free weights, says Mejia. Build muscle faster than ever before by signing up for our free Personal Trainer newsletter. More from MensHealth.
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