“Ooh kids can’t strength train! It’ll stunt their growth! They’ll get injured!”
Ever heard this? I have.
But what’s wrong with teaching children how to squat, lunge, push, pull, press, bend and gait (sprint, run, crawl, walk)? These are all functional movements that even many adults can’t do. Ensuring good functional mobility begins in childhood, and a great age to begin bodyweight strength and conditioning training is seven years old.
Strength training may stunt growth only when form is compromised. Injuries only generally happen during a sport or in practice, hardly ever at the gym, so make sure you have a great coach that knows what they are doing and are able to spot incorrect mechanics and get them corrected before the youth progresses with weights.
One of the most important factors when training young ones is FUN. Moving your body in a fun and safe environment is the basis of great future training.
What is important, as with adults, is that when weight is added, good form is not compromised. This ensures effective muscle recruitment and patterns, which will carry over into sport, as well as preventing injury.
On the topic of how much weight is too much, this is yet to be determined. I mentioned in a previous blog that an athlete generates the force of 2 -3 times their body weight through their legs and spine when they jump off the off floor higher than 70cm.
Weight training will usually only be half the child’s bodyweight at a maximum. If anything, strength training should enhance the youth's ability to move better when playing their sport which is all made up of movements such as squat, lunge, push, pull, press, gait, with rotations as an important function of most sports. Increase the youth’s ability to perform these movements well and the youth will automatically improve their ability to move in everyday life, as well as the sports that he/she plays.
It’s the trainers’ responsibility to instill in each child an understanding of the gym environment they are working in; that there are heavy and sharp objects, along with many metal pieces of equipment that can cut skin and break bones. We always make sure that the child is responsible enough to handle the piece of equipment, before progressing.
EPT’s coaches have years of experience training children and young adults, and always ensure safety first with any exercise.
If you’d like to help your child be more confident, excel at sport or just be better co-ordinated, then call us now!