When I say “strength training,” what comes to mind? Go! If you are like most people, you picture bodybuilders, athletes “pumping iron,” and power lifters. This is not the strength training we are going to discuss. Strength training offers many benefits to kids, whether they are athletes or not. If you want to help your child develop a solid foundation for a lifetime of good health and fitness, strength training is the way to go. Explore the many benefits of strength training for kids.
Myths About Strength Training for Kids
First, let’s talk about what strength training is not. As I mentioned above, it is not powerlifting or bodybuilding. Strength training is not weightlifting. What other myths have you heard about strength training? Common myths about strength training for kids are:
Myth #1: You have to use heavy weights for greater results.
Kids should not begin a strength training program on their own. Many times kids will choose equipment and weights that are not appropriate for them. A structured and monitored strength-training program for kids will help kids achieve healthy results.
Myth #2: Lifting weights will inhibit a child’s natural growth.
Strength training does not affect your child’s height. Look to the family tree for that. The fact is that strength training, when supervised, can have a favorable influence on a kid’s growth and development.
Myth #3: Strength training will harm a child’s bones, tendons, and muscles.
Again, with proper training and supervision, strength training for all kids will do the opposite of what the myth suggest. Strength training and weight-bearing exercises improve the health and stability of bones, tendons, and muscles. Adding resistance training is essential for most water-based athletes to increase bone mineral density and prevent osteoporosis later in life.
Myth #4: Training damages the “growth plate”.
There is no evidence of reported growth plate injuries in kids who take part in monitored strength-training activities.
Benefits of Strength Training for All Kids
Now that we got the myths out of the way, let’s explore the benefits of strength training for kids.
Strength training for kids is another way to improve the health of kids in the US. Currently, more than 1/3 of American kids are overweight. The CDC recommends a healthy lifestyle to prevent certain diseases linked to obesity. A healthy lifestyle includes eating healthy and being physically active. Strength training for all kids is a way to provide children with a well-rounded physical activity plan.
Improves strength and endurance
Kids who take part in strength-training exercises can improve their strength by as much as 20 to 40%.
Prevents sports injuries and encourages faster recovery
Strength training for kids conditions the body, which aids in preventing and/or minimizing sport injuries. If a kid does suffer from an injury, strength training can aid in faster healing and recovery.
Improves performance in other activities
Kids will have the strength, resilience and confidence to perform better in other activities. Other activities can be anything from sports to schoolwork and fun with friends.
Strong bones are essential for a healthy life. Strength training helps children build strong bones. Kids in strength-training programs have healthier bones and bone density. Children who are obese are at a greater risk for osteoarthritis later on in life.
Improves confidence and self-esteem
Strength training for kids improves their confidence and self-esteem outside of the gym. Participation encourages confidence in the classroom, in sports, and in peer groups too.
Teaches kids proper technique for lifelong success
Strength training for kids is goal oriented and precise when done with a professional. The skills learned in strength-training programs provide kids with the techniques to work out safely and successfully. The skills follow them beyond adolescence and their teenage years.
Provides kids with a foundation for health and fitness
Obese children are more likely to be obese adults. Active kids are more likely to remain active into adulthood. Strength training instills a solid foundation for health, wellness and fitness. This foundation supports a healthy lifestyle for years to come. An active kid now is an active adult later. Healthy and active lifestyles result in lower risks for certain diseases and cancers. Healthy lifestyles also promote better mental health, improved relationships, and more.
Key to Strength Training for Kids’ Success
Don’t be scared to start your kid in a strength-training program. The key to a successful strength-training program is to find a qualified instructor. A professional will teach your kid age-appropriate exercises that are safe and fun. Strength training for kids is just another building block to a happy, healthier life. Isn’t that what we all want for our children and ourselves?