Is Strength Training ‘Ok’ For My Children?
Weight-Lifting and Powerlifting seem to be a lot more common in the adolescence aged children now-a-days. Perhaps, because of the popularity of Crossfit, who knows? Regardless the reason, it is important for us parents to know what is and is not safe for ours children.
If you were to ask a mom from your child’s school and a dad from open house about their opinion on strength training for kids, you are most likely going to get two completely different responses. There is a long list of myths and skepticism about children and strength training, but I’ve done my research to find out the truth about it all.
First off, lets discuss what “strength training” actually is. Wikipedia describes “strength training” as a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles.” Strength training can be as simple as a push-up which requires only your own body weight as resistance. On other side of the spectrum, strength training can be as complicated as powerlifting in which a variety of equipment is required. As with any sport there are risks. Bob Strauss, a contributor for StrengthPlanet.com states that, “Powerlifting is safe for a child at any age as long as the child is able to perform the lift with proper form and motor skills. Powerlifting is definitely safer than football, basketball, baseball, and wrestling, and most other activities that children do. “
StrongKid.com recently published what they found to be their
Top 5 Myths...
Myth #1: Strength training will stunt the growth of children.
There are no studies that have reported growth plate fractures from youth strength training. In fact, building strong muscles at a young age may help increase musculoskeletal health.
Myth #2: Strength training is unsafe for children.
Any sport carries its own risks. With proper supervision, coaching and spotting there is no reason for strength training to be discriminated.
Myth #3: Children cannot increase strength because they do not have enough testosterone.
According to Strauss, “Testosterone is not essential for achieving strength gains.” Women, for example, do not produce as much testosterone as men; however, they are able to achieve remarkable strength gains through training.
Myth #4: Strength training is only for young athletes.
Absolutely not! As child obesity continues to rise in numbers, I find it critical for us parents to allow our children to explore different varieties of physical activity. Many bodybuilders were never athletes growing up but found a passion in lifting weights. Strength training may very well be your child’s choice, but you will never know without trying.
Myth #5: The sport of weightlifting is inappropriate for children.
Again, with proper supervision and the encouragement of proper form over amount of weight, weightlifting is no more “appropriate” than any other adolescent sport/activity.
This information has put me at more ease when considering the best activities for my boys and I sincerely hope this helps you as well. Ensure that your child is being coached by someone certified, professional and has your same concerns in mind. Lastly, ACE Fitness suggests that what activity you decide is best for your child it should “be safe, have fun and help kids learn to love physical activity.”
Live Healthy, HiL