It’s a question that comes up frequently among parents and coaches: when is the right time for kids to start lifting weights? Many people assume that junior lifting is too dangerous for young children, but the truth is that there are benefits to weightlifting at a young age. With careful supervision, kids can start lifting weights as early as six or seven. Here’s what you need to know about weightlifting for kids.
Who Can Do Strength Training?
Children and teenagers who want to take part in organized sports or other activities like football, rugby, or soccer may start strength training at any age. Youth strength training can be done safely by children as young as 5 or 6 years old who have good balance and body control, adhere to instructions and execute the exercises correctly.
The strength-training program shouldn’t be a scaled-down version of an adult’s weight training regimen. Strength training for kids requires them to execute the movements correctly and safely. Strength training is well-known among gym teachers, trainers, and professionals who work in weight rooms. Look for a certified strength-training specialist with expertise working with children and adolescents.
What are the Benefits of Strength Training for Kids
Whereas puberty is a time for developing muscle, strength training with young teens can help them build it faster. Strength training aids in the development of lean muscle, which is essential for strong bones and endurance. To prepare for the abilities needed in their sport, young athletes must first learn how to move their bodies through space.
Juniors lifting can improve flexibility, athletic development, and balance in adolescent boys and girls who don’t already have these traits. These advantages are due to the muscles and joints getting stronger without growing larger.
Lifting weights for children may help prevent injuries. Lifting weights develop stronger bones, which is especially important during puberty when girls’ bones grow fast. Stronger bones absorb more force during athletic activity, lowering the chance of fractures.
Overall, when done correctly, strength training can:
- Strengthen and endurance your child’s muscles
- Assist in preventing sports-related injuries to your child’s muscles and joints
- From dance and figure skating to football and soccer, you can help your child enhance their performance in almost any sport
- Create practical approaches that your child could employ as they become older
Keep in mind that strength training isn’t only for athletes. Even if your child isn’t interested in sports, strength training can:
- Make your child’s bones stronger.
- Assist in maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol level.
- Assist your child in maintaining a healthy body weight.
- Boost your child’s self-esteem and confidence.
Is Strength Training Safe?
Strength-training programs are typically risk-free. Strength training, when done correctly, will not harm growing bones.
Before allowing your child to begin a strength-training program, consult with their doctor, as with any sport. Before starting strength training, kids and teens with certain medical disorders, such as untreated high blood pressure levels, seizures, heart difficulties, and other diseases, must get permission from their doctor. Your child should also be closely supervised and use the appropriate equipment and approach.
Doing the workouts without any weight is ideal for acquiring the appropriate technique. Weight (or resistance, if using exercise bands) can be added once the method is understood, as long as your child can comfortably complete the exercise for 6 to 10 repetitions with proper form. Children should not use adult-only devices and equipment.
The majority of injuries occur when a youngster is unsupervised while playing. The most common injury connected with strength training is muscle strain.
What’s a Healthy Routine?
Rather than lifting a hefty load once or twice, adolescents and teens should condition their muscles with light weights (or band/cable resistance) and a significant number of repetitions.
The amount of weight a child gain is determined by their age, size, and strength. In general, children should lift a weight at least 8 times with good technique. The weight is too large if they can’t lift it correctly and the form is inconsistent.
Preteens shouldn’t focus on gaining muscle mass because this won’t happen until they reach puberty. After puberty, testosterone-a male hormone-increases muscle growth in weight training. Because boys have more testosterone than girls, they develop larger muscles.
Each training session should include a strong emphasis on good form and technique and expert guidance and monitoring.
Strength Training Program Guidelines
When it comes to strength-training routines, keep the following in mind:
- Seek advice from an expert. Young ones can start by working with a coach or personal trainer who has worked with kids before. One great option is Prepare Like A Pro—a multi-faceted physical preparation service that specializes in AFL Strength and Conditioning programs, remote and in-person coaching with AFL-standard coaches, educational seminars, and a weekly AFL-specific podcast.
- A child-to-instructor ratio of no more than 1:10. Better yet, Your child gets personalized AFL training from Prepare Like A Pro. We offer an hour of one-on-one or private small group training sessions with one of their AFL experienced Strength & conditioning coaches.
- The coach should be certified in strength training and have prior experience working with children in strength training.
- Warm-up for at least 5-10 minutes with dynamic stretching and aerobic activities. Reduce the intensity of your workout by doing less strenuous activities and static stretching.
- Begin with a single set of 6-10 reps of 4-6 movements that target the major muscle groups of the upper and lower body, as well as the core.
- Without using weights, kids can begin with junior weight training using bodyweight exercises (such as sit-ups and push-ups) and concentrate on technique. When proper technique is learned, a lightweight and a large number of repetitions (8-15) can be employed. As strength develops, increase the weight, the number of sets, or the sorts of exercises you do.
- Make a point of emphasizing appropriate techniques. The quantity of weight your child lifts is less significant than the form and technique they use. As your child grows older, they can progressively increase the resistance or the number of repetitions.
- Strength exercises should be done for at least 20-30 minutes two or three times a week for best effects. Between workouts, take at least one day off.
Strength training is a component of a comprehensive fitness regimen. Every day, children and teenagers should engage in at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical exercise, including aerobic (cardio) activities such as jogging, biking, and playing outside. Make sure your child drinks lots of water and eats a nutritious diet for optimal performance and recovery.
Book a private coaching session with any of our AFL strength & conditioning coaches:
- Jack McLean, Bayside, VIC /Hawthorn FC, Melbourne FC
- Nalesh Murti, Newcastle, NSW / GWS FC, Newcastle Knights Rugby
- Ben Frith, Penninsula, VIC / St Kilda FC AFL and AFLW
- Dylan Vizzari, East Melbourne, VIC/ Boxhill Hawks FC and Western Bulldogs FC
- Kayne Johns, West Melbourne, VIC/ Melbourne FC AFL and AFLW
- Jordan Seller, Adelaide, SA/ Adelaide FC AFL and AFLW
- Beatrice Devlin, Adelaide, SA/ Former Player at West Coast Eagles, Subiaco FC
- Tom MacKenzie, Geelong, VIC/Geelong FC, Angelsea FC