At what age can a child begin weight training?

According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, weight training is safe and effective for any child that has reached an age where he/she can participate in any type of sport. Each child is individual and should be able to accept directions and respond to instructions about proper techniques. This typically is around age 7 or 8, although each child should be considered individually. Research has shown that prepubescent children can benefit from weight training and participate safely as long as proper instruction and supervision is provided. Most injuries stem from activities that are improperly instructed or unsupervised. There is no greater risk of injury from appropriate weight training than that from participation in other sports or activities. In fact, learning proper techniques at a young age may prevent injuries in the future. Individuals intending to instruct children need to get proper training in progressing youth in a safe, age appropriate weight training program. Weight training is not only beneficial for children who are active in sports. Benefits not only include increased strength, improved muscle recruitment patterns and neuromuscular activation, but also provide overall health benefits such as decreased obesity and stimulating bone growth and bone density.

(This answer provided for NATA by Lana M. Loken, EdD, ATC.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.