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Strength
training:
OK for kids?
Strength training offers kids many benefits, but there are important caveats to
keep in mind. Here’s what you need to know about youth strength training.
Strength training for kids? You bet! Done
properly, strength training offers many
bonuses to young athletes. Strength
training is even a good idea for kids who
simply want to look and feel better. In fact,
strength training can put your child on a
lifetime path to better health and fitness.
Strength training, not
weightlifting
For kids, light resistance and controlled
movements are best - with a special
emphasis on proper technique and safety.
Your child can do many strength training
exercises with his or her own body weight
or inexpensive resistance tubing. Free
weights and machine weights are other
options.
Don’t confuse strength training
with weightlifting, bodybuilding or
powerlifting. These activities are largely
driven by competition, with participants
vying to lift heavier weights or build bigger
muscles than those of other athletes.
This can put too much strain on young
muscles, tendons and areas of cartilage that
haven’t yet turned to bone (growth plates)
- especially when proper technique is
sacrificed in favor of lifting larger amounts
of weight.
Done properly, strength
training can:
For kids, what are the benefits
of strength training?
• Increase your child’s muscle strength
and endurance
• Help protect your child’s muscles and
joints from sports-related injuries
• Improve your child’s performance in
nearly any sport, from dancing and
figure skating to football and soccer
Keep in mind that strength
training isn’t only for athletes.
Even if your child isn’t
interested in sports, strength
training can:
• Strengthen your child’s bones
• Help promote healthy blood pressure
and cholesterol levels
• Help your child maintain a healthy
weight