Did you know that strength training is not just for adults? In fact, it's a great idea for kids to start strength training at an early age. Strength training for teens and kids has many benefits, including improved physical health, cognitive function, and emotional well-being. It can also help prevent injuries in childhood and adolescence.
In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of strength training for kids, the risks, and how you can get your child started on a program today!
Benefits of Resistance Training for Kids
There are many benefits of strength training for children. A lot of parents don't enforce this type of activity because they are worried about their children injuring themselves. Others aren't aware of the benefits that come with it.
As a result, their kids never get to experience the positive effects of strength training. However, when done correctly under the guidance of a professional, strength training is a safe and effective way for kids to get stronger. Here are seven benefits.
Benefit #1: Increased Strength
One of the most obvious benefits of strength training for kids is that it increases their strength. As your child's muscles get stronger, they will be able to do activities that they couldn't do before, such as playing sports, climbing trees, or riding a bike.
They don't need to have hit puberty to start seeing gains in strength, either. Even young children can develop muscles with the help of resistance training.
Benefit #2: Reduced Likelihood of Injury
Another great benefit of strength training for kids is that it can reduce their likelihood of injury. When children are active, they are at a higher risk for injuries, such as strains, sprains, and fractures. However, if they have strong muscles, they are less likely to get injured because their muscles can help support their joints.
Benefit #3: Increased Bone Density
In addition to increasing muscle strength, strength training can also help kids build strong bones. As kids grow, their bones get longer and thinner. This makes them more susceptible to fractures. If kids engage in strength-training activities, they can help increase their bone density, which will reduce their risk of fractures as they age.
Benefit #4: Increased Flexibility
Another benefit of strength training is that it can help kids increase their flexibility. When kids have strong muscles, they will be able to move their joints through a greater range of motion.
This is important for activities such as gymnastics, dancing, and playing sports.
Benefit #5: Improved Joint Health
Another benefit of strength training for kids is improved joint health. When children lift weights, they are actually strengthening the muscles and connective tissues around their joints. This can help reduce the risk of joint problems, such as arthritis, later in life. Those promoting children's weight lifting often point to this benefit.
Benefit #6: Improved Body Composition
Strength training can also help kids improve their body composition. This refers to the ratio of fat to muscle in their bodies. When kids have more muscle and less fat, they will look healthier and feel better. Additionally, they will be at a reduced risk for obesity and other chronic health conditions.
Benefit #7: Improved Metabolism
Finally, strength training can help kids improve their metabolism. When children have more muscle, they will burn more calories at rest. This is important for maintaining a healthy weight and preventing obesity.
Strength Training Risks
Although strength training provides many benefits for kids, there are also some risks that parents should be aware of, especially when it comes to youth weight training. Don't skip this part, as it's important to understand the risks before starting your child on a strength-training program.
Another risk of strength training for kids is overtraining. This occurs when kids train too often or lift weights that are too heavy. When this happens, kids can experience fatigue, joint pain, and muscle soreness. They may also be at a higher risk for injuries.
To avoid overtraining, make sure that your child takes at least one day off from strength training each week. Additionally, they should only lift weights that are appropriate for their age and fitness level.
When it comes to strength training for kids, don't forget about skeletal problems. When kids lift weights that are too heavy, they can put stress on their bones and joints. This can lead to problems such as joint pain, arthritis, and fractures.
Skeletal injury is also possible from falls and other accidents that can occur during strength training. Make sure to always supervise them during their workouts.
Optimal Age to Begin Resistance Training
So when can kids start lifting weights? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids start resistance training when they are around seven years old. However, it's important to note that all kids are different and some may be ready to start sooner (and later for others).
If you're unsure, it's always best to talk to your child's doctor before starting them on a strength-training program.
Preparation to Resistance Training
Before beginning a resistance-training program, there are a few things that you'll need to do in order to prepare. First, you'll need to find a safe place for your child to workout. This could be at home, in a park, or at the gym. Second, you'll need to gather the necessary equipment. This may include weights, resistance bands, and other exercise tools. Finally, you'll need to create a workout plan. This should include exercises that focus on all of the major muscle groups.
How to Start Strength Training for Kids
Now that you know the benefits and risks of strength training for kids, as well as how to prepare, it's time to learn how to get started. Below are some tips on how to start fun strength training for kids:
- Consult a Professional - Before starting any strength-training program, it's important to consult a professional. This could be your child's doctor, a physical therapist, or a certified strength and conditioning coach. They can help you create a safe and effective workout plan for your child.
- Do Warm Up and Cool Down - Just like adults, kids need to warm up and cool down before and after their workouts. This helps to prevent injuries and increase blood flow to the muscles.
- Keep It Fun - It's important to make sure that your child is having fun while working out. If they're not enjoying it, they're less likely to stick with it. Try to incorporate games and other activities into their workouts. Hot Ground Gym's no-school day camps for kids ages 6 and up can train in small groups and always have lots of fun!
- Keep It Light - When first starting out, it's important to keep the workouts light. This means using lighter weights and doing fewer reps. As your child gets stronger, you can gradually increase the intensity of their workouts.
- Emphasize Proper Technique - It's also important to emphasize proper technique. This means teaching your child how to perform the exercises correctly. Poor form can lead to injuries, so make sure that they are using good form before doing anything at all. Good habits will last a lifetime!
- Supervise - It's especially important to supervise your child while they are working out. This helps to ensure their safety and allows you to offer assistance if needed.
- Rest Between Workouts - Just like adults, kids need to rest between workouts. This gives their muscles time to recover and grow. A good rule of thumb is to allow at least 24 hours of rest between strength-training sessions.
Basic Strength Training Program for Kids
Now that you know how to get started, it's time to create a workout plan. Below is a basic strength training exercises for kids:
Start by having your child do the following:
- Jog in place for 30 seconds
- Do 20 jumping jacks
- Stretch for 60 seconds
- Then, move on to the more intense exercises:
- Squats - 20 reps
- Push-ups - 15 reps
- Lunges - 15 reps (each leg)
- Plank - 30 seconds
Be sure to have your child do the following to cooldown between exercises:
- Rest for three minutes
- Drink water
- Ease back into it
Our recommendation is to have your child strength train two to three times per week. This allows their muscles time to rest and recover between workouts. Weight training for kids can be tiresome, so ease into it.
As your child gets stronger, you'll need to increase the intensity of their workouts. This can be done by adding more weight, doing more reps, or increasing the length of time they spend working out. Just be sure to listen to their bodies and never push them too hard.
Strength training (especially through Hot Ground Gym) is a great way to improve your child's health and fitness. It's important to consult a professional before getting started and to make sure that the workouts are safe and fun. With a little bit of planning, you can create a workout plan that will help your child to build strength, improve their technique, and progress over time. If you're interested in having your child work out at Hot Ground Gym, then contact us today!