Are you wondering if strength training and lifting weights is good for your son or daughter?
Ease your mind, strength training is a huge health benefit so long as the movements are performed properly. The Mayo Clinic backs me up in this.
Strength training refers to physical exercise that uses resistance against muscles to build strength. This can be done through lifting weights and using your body weight. A good time to start strength training with your kids is around 7 or 8 years old or when they can follow directions well enough to exercise using proper form.
Strength Training Benefits
1. Reduces the risk of injuries by strengthening muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons.
Yay for fewer hospital visits!
2. Helps to build muscles.
In case you're wondering, no, this won’t lead to a child Schwarzenegger.
3. More muscle leads to a higher resting metabolic rate which leads to burning more calories while stationary.
With 50% of the kids in the US considered overweight, this is a good idea.
4. Builds physical, cardiovascular, and cardiorespiratory endurance.
Gotta keep those muscles, heart and lungs healthy!
5. Increased confidence helping with social development.
Does the same for us adults, right?
Strength Training vs. Body Building
Brief side note. There is a difference between strength training and body building. Body building refers to enlarging the muscles and tends to be associated with competitions. This is only recommended after adolescence when the body has finished growing.
Things to Know
I would recommend checking with your child's doctor before beginning strength training especially if your child has a known or suspected health problem.
Repetition: Start with 10 repetitions of one movement, rest and then repeat 2 more times. (3 sets, 10 reps) Be sure to maintain proper form during the entire movement. When your child can do 15 reps of the same weight you can increase the weight that they’re lifting, but no more than a 5% increase. Remember: This isn't about ego, or making your child "super-human". It is about development and a healthy lifestyle.
Frequency: 20+ minute session, 2-3 days a week. Rest a day in between working certain muscle groups so that those muscles can repair themselves and build back up.
Technique: These exercises should be performed with you or another adult. Each movement should take about 2-3 seconds which means that 15 reps will take about 60 seconds.
Breathing: This is extremely important for any type of training your child or even you will do throughout life. Focus on using slow, deep breaths during rest and exhaling when performing a lift or the "push/pull" movements that require effort.
Be sure to check out the next half of this post for example upper body and lower body workouts.
If you or child have any questions, leave them in the comments below. I want to help!