Should your kids start weight training?

Prototype Barbell Coach, Joe Black discusses the myths around weight training for kids

By: Coach Joe Black

Have you ever heard statements or concerns like these: 

“Lifting weights will stunt your child’s growth” or “kids shouldn’t lift weights because they will get injured.”

In today’s post, I want to dispel these myths. 

Growth plates in bones allow the bone to lengthen as a child grows. This is controlled by a hormonal process in the brain, a normal part of puberty, which can not be affected by resistance training (unless a child had improper supervision which resulted in a broken bone). Injuries are primarily attributed to inappropriate weight selection, poor technique, or lack of adult supervision, all of which can be prevented working with a qualified fitness professional.

Over the last decade-plus, healthcare and fitness professional groups alike have endorsed and provided evidence-based support for supervised, well-structured resistance training programs for kids. These include organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Resistance training has numerous benefits for kids. Within the realm of sports performance, it is going to help them become stronger, powerful, faster, and, most importantly, greatly reduce the risk of sports-related injuries. Their strength, speed, and power improvements can better prepare them to learn complex movements, master sports tactics, and withstand the demands of training and competition. 

Outside of sports, the impact of resistance training is equally positive. Resistance training can help improve body composition, lower body fat, strengthen bone, promote high self-esteem, reduce depression, stress and anxiety, and increase neuromuscular coordination. In addition to these benefits, by engaging in resistance training at a young age, kids are setting the foundation and building healthy habits that will help them later in life.

When is it appropriate for kids to start resistance training? Kids can start resistance training when they are 7 or 8 years old or when they show the ability to follow directions and have adequate balance and coordination. It is recommended that kids workout 2-3 times per week under the supervision of a fitness professional who places a high value on full-body, multi-joint exercises done with submaximal loads emphasizing correct form and technique.

There is no better time than now to get your kids and teens involved in exercise. From our Kids Classes to our Youth Barbell Club and our Teen Sports Performance to 1-on-1 and small-group training, we have the right fit to help your kid flourish! 

If you would like your son or daughter to join on of our programs or have any questions, please reach out to joe@crossfitprototype.com

About Coach Joe Black:

Joe is dedicated to helping his athletes and clients reach their strength & conditioning goals through evidence-based coaching and practices. His holistic approach to coaching helps individuals improve their mind, body, and spirit. 

Joe is the head coach of Prototype Barbell Club, one of the biggest competitive weightlifting teams in New England, and has coached youth and adult athletes at the national level. He also coaches our Sports Performance program, helping athletes inside the gym so they can elevate their play on the court and field. 

He is a Level 2 USA Weightlifting Coach, a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer and is currently preparing for his Certificate of Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association.

Sources:

Strength Training in Children and Adolescents, Sports Health, May 2009 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445252/

Youth Strength Training, Science for Sport, February 2018 https://www.scienceforsport.com/youth-strength-training/

Is Strength Training Safe for Children, Renaissance Periodization, February 2018 https://renaissanceperiodization.com/expert-advice/strength-training-safe-children

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