With children becoming more involved in sports at younger and younger ages, one of the things that comes up often is the strength of the children. We see weightlifting heavily emphasized in professional athletes and amongst both high school and collegiate sports as well. However the commonly asked question is when can a child begin weight training, if they should begin at all. Well in this article we will answer this question in depth so you can make a sound decision for the sake of your own children.
One of the things that you must be aware of is that there is a difference in weightlifting and strength training. Weightlifting is the term that is most commonly used, but strength training is what is more safe for children. The difference between these two words is that weightlifting tends to fall under powerlifting with these two things focusing on brute strength rather than safety and proper technique. Now this is a general assumption and may not be true for everyone, but it is something to be aware of.
With that in mind we do not suggest “weightlifting” but rather suggest strength training. This includes doing bodyweight workouts with your child or trying to use light resistance bands. It certainly does not require choosing weights and seeing how strong your child is, but instead easing themselves into building muscle while not stunting their growth. You can also focus on more fundamental weight lifting movements such as squats or a bench press for when they get older. However we suggest that you do not put any weight on the bar and solely focus on proper form and technique rather than adding weight.
This strength training does not necessarily need to be for athletes alone, but it still serves a great purpose for any child. It can build muscle but it will mainly keep your child active and encourage them to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout their life. Behind the scenes it will also support healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels within your child while strengthening your child’s bones at the same time. Besides those physical health benefits, it will benefit your child’s mental health as well as they become more confident in their bodies while being proud of how hard they can push themselves.
When it comes to strength training you can start working with your child around the second or third grade, but certainly ease into it. Many agencies suggest an activity time of sixty minutes to help keep your child as healthy as possible. Make sure that you also include time to stretch and warm up or cool down before and after all of your workouts so your child’s body stays as strong and limber as possible.
In summary, we would not suggest weightlifting for a child but instead the idea of strength training. This gets your child moving and active without causing harm to their bodies due to excessive weights. So to answer our original question, no weightlifting is not necessarily safe for children so instead substitute that with strength training and you will be good to go!
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