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Is strength training okay for kids?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Strength training should be an important, fun part of any child's physical routine. Strength training, not weightlifting, should be practiced regularly under adult supervision, for any child who participates in organized sports. The emphasis for children should be to learn proper technique and to build endurance through resistance training. Resistance should be minimal to start and slowly build as the child grows and masters the proper technique. Sit-ups and push-ups are great examples of strength, or resistance, training for children.

Yes.  Today, there is research that supports the safety and effectiveness of resistance training amongst both preadolescents and adolescents. Strength training and weightlifting is a safe and effective means of exercise for children.  Many strength training exercises can safely be performed with little to no body weight and with little adult supervision.  Examples of muscle strengthening include: Tug of War, modified push-ups, and even swinging on playground equipment.  Bone strengthening exercises include: hop-scotch, jumping, skipping, running, and gymnastics.

Weight training programs should be designed and supervised by a qualified Health and Fitness Professional in order to ensure the execution of proper technique and assist with spotting.  Slow and controlled movements are most appropriate for beginners at this age.  Progression into advanced phases should be decided based on maturity level, dynamic postural control (flexibility and stability) and the recommendation of a licensed physician. 

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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.