When Should a Child Start to Strength Train with Weights?

By Jared Ernest Physical Therapist

When Should a Child Start to Strength Train with Weights?

By: Jared Ernest PT

There is fair amount of confusion and uncertainty regarding the issue of young people (12 yrs and younger) training with weights and resisted movements. Many parents receive information that it is actually damaging to their child’s bone growth and development. However this is more a myth than fact. Strength training when properly instructed and performed has many positive benefits for a young individual to include athletic performance

How to Get Started with Weights

Children that are healthy can start regular exercise at the age of 5-6 years. This initial training should consist of body weight movement such as chin-ups, push-ups sit-ups etc with focus on good form. Depending on child’s strength and co-ordination modification to these movements may be required. Also at this time your child should be performing calisthenic type movements such as jumping jacks, leg kicks etc. These benefit your child from a stand point of muscular endurance and co-ordination.

As your child ages and develops the ability to perform movements with his/her body weight than a more traditional strength training routine can be introduced. This program should be basic to encompass the major muscle groups of the developing child/adolescent.
Examples would be a chest press, lat row, leg extension etc. these movements should be performed with light weights and high number of repetitions

Reaping the Benefits

A stronger child usually enjoys a more successful outcome with the sports they play to include less injuries. A healthy, physically fit child translates into a healthy, physically fit adult.
It is never too early to instill the values of exercise into your child’s psychic. Also it is a wonderful way for families to spend time together

Finishing Strong

Properly demonstrated and performed there is not a reason your child should not be involved with building the muscles of his/her body. Physical therapists and athletic trainers at JOI Rehabilitation are well trained to develop a program for your child not only to assist with sports but general health and fitness.

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