Busting Common Myth: Reasons Why Strength Training Is Safe for Kids
By Born Tough on
Recommend some parents to put their kid at a nearby gym to start strength weight training and see how they came up with hundreds of baseless reasons telling why kids should not do strength training.
Table of Contents
- 1. Why Weight Training Is Considered Bad for Kids
- 2. Tips To Safely Lift Weight for Kids
- 2.1. Start With Bodyweight Training
- 2.2. They Should Not Be training For Getting Big
- 2.3. Find a Good Trainer
- 2.4. Focus On Their Diet and Recovery
- 3. How To Design a Strength Training Workout Plan For Kids
- 4. Takeaway
It’s commonly believed that strength training can damage kids’ growth plates, therefore stunting their growth, it can lead to weak joints increasing the risk of bone fracture, and much more.
These reasons might sound really scary, right? Well, the good news is that all these arguments are completely unjustified.
There are plenty of studies done by some notable researchers that prove that strength training is completely safe for kids and has some significant benefits unless it’s performed under expert guidance.
Why Weight Training Is Considered Bad for Kids
For many years, many people and even researchers believed that strength training is bad for kids. A common reason they gave for this was that weight training can damage kids’ growth plates.
It was also believed that due to the damage to growth plates, a kid’s growth is jeopardized, their height won’t grow, muscle strength will be weakened, and can also lead to serious injuries.
What Are Growth Plates and What’s Their Importance?
Growth plates are located at the end of bones in kids. Their function is to increase the length and width of the bone.
They can also be known as the areas of new bone growth if due to some reasons they are damaged then a child’s growth can be stopped.
The growth plates close the end of bones once you reach puberty. That’s the reason your body stops growing after a certain age.
Can Weightlifting Affect Growth?
The latest research done by some famous naturopathic doctors has proven that weight training cannot damage growth plates if done in proper form and under expert supervision.
However, lifting heavier than a recommended weight or doing exercise with improper form can cause injuries to the growth plates and can stunt growth.
It’s not necessary that only weight training can cause injury to growth plates. In fact, any type of sport or recreational activity carries a risk of injury.
Tips To Safely Lift Weight for Kids
If your child is fascinated by weight lifting and wants to join a gym then don’t have second thoughts and enroll him/her in your nearby gym.
Here are some useful tips that can help your kid to start strength training safely:
Start With Bodyweight Training
Before starting to lift weights, first, your child should be able to effectively lift his own weight with proper form.
Bodyweight training has a very lower risk of injury as compared to lifting weights or using machines. Moreover, the majority of bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, and squats directly relate to functional strength.
It can help your child’s body in adapting to stress so that there’s much less risk of picking up an injury when they finally start lifting weights.
Not only will your body be able to adapt to weight training, but children could also get a super-effective strength training workout by only using their body weight.
Some of the effective bodyweight exercises are:
They Should Not Be training For Getting Big
Talk to your children before enrolling them in a gym, they should not aim for gaining muscle size through weight training.
The reason behind this is that kids won’t be gaining muscle through lifting weights. The benefits kids get from weightlifting are neuromuscular. It means that kids increase their muscular performance instead of muscle size.
Most of the kids have a goal of achieving those sleeve ripping biceps and a chiseled chest but that won’t be possible at a small age.
When children don’t see their muscle size increasing, they are more likely to overtrain which will eventually result in injury.
Find a Good Trainer
When enrolling your child for weight training, make sure that you find a good gym even if it’s a little far from your home. The environment should be supportive and there should be other age fellows of your child.
The other thing you must keep in mind is that the trainer should be certified and well-experienced in the field of fitness.
The trainer should always be supervising the form while performing any exercise and make sure that children are not left unattended.
Weight training programs for kids differ from adults. You can overload your muscles by lifting heavier or increasing the number of reps but, it’s not advisable for kids as it can lead to an injury.
If you still want to make sure if your kid is in a good shape to start weight lifting then talking to their doctor would be a good idea.
Focus On Their Diet and Recovery
Healthy eating is important for your child’s good health and growth even if they are not doing weight training. Children require highly nutritious foods so that their growth needs are fulfilled effectively.
Through a healthy diet, children can stay safe from many chronic diseases such as obesity, heart problems, diabetes, and much more.
If your child is into weight training then the need for eating nutritious food increases significantly. Their body will be requiring more than the usual amount of food for effective recovery.
Recovery is one of the most important parts of any training program. Your body needs time to heal itself to prepare for the next training load and minimize the risk of picking an injury.
How To Design a Strength Training Workout Plan For Kids
The warm-up should comprise simple bodyweight exercises and stretches. It should be at least 10-15 minutes long to get the blood circulating into your muscles.
Perform Compound Exercises
The compound exercises are more beneficial for improving your functional strength than isolation exercises.
As discussed before, kids could not develop muscle from weight lifting so, it’s recommended for them to focus on compound movements as they engage a big number of muscle groups at once.
Some of the best compound exercises those kids can try are:
- Barbell squats
- Seated cable row
- Back extensions
- Cable pulldown
- Shoulder press
- Bench press
- Dumbbell incline press
If you want to add in some variety to your workouts then you can also add some isolation movements like:
- Dumbbell arm curls
- Triceps kickbacks
- Barbell curls
- Hammer curls
Cooling down after completing your workout is equally important as a warmup. It helps in regulating your heart rate, reduces lactic acid build-up, and prevents injuries.
Light stretching for 5 to 10 minutes is an effective cooldown method.
Next time when someone says to you that weight training is not safe for kids then you can bash them with these reasons that prove that there is nothing wrong with enrolling your kids at the gym.
Kids at the age of 8 to 9 can safely start weight lifting. However, it also depends on your child’s maturity level.
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