Posts Tagged ‘training affects growth’

Is Strength Training Really About Strength with Kids?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Kids are starting to strength train younger and younger these days.  Is it a bad thing?  Not necessarily.  Then, is it a good thing?  I’m not sure either.  Here’s the thing: despite many old beliefs that have been proven wrong through research, IT IS safe for kids to strength train as young as 6 years old.  The fact that it affects growth is a myth, that is if training is done in a safe way and in a supervised environment.

Although it is technically “safe” to do it, does it mean all kids should start lifting weights at 6 years old?  I don’t think so.  What it comes down to when considering if your kids should start to train or not, is really their mental maturity.  Strength training requires a great level of focus and seriousness.  If your kid can’t focus focus for 30 seconds straight, how do expect him to be able to perform an exercise the right when he is required to think about keeping his weight on his heels, sitting back, keeping his chest up and keeping his eyes straight ahead, all at the same time?

Strength training at a young age is not so much about getting the kids stronger, as it is to teach them correct movement patterns and to move the right way.  Gains in strength will be minimal before puberty anyway.  The goal is to have them master those movement patterns, so they can minimize injuries and get stronger at a much faster rate when they’ll hit their puberty.  If your kid is weak and slow at 9 years old, chances are he’s going to be weak and slow for a coupe of years.  But with proper training that reinforces quality movement, they have a chance of becoming much better athletes when they start to grow.

Might not be as easy as it looks  for a kid to master this movement?

Does that mean every kid should start lifting before 10?  God no!  Like I said, it all depends if the kid is mature enough to enter a weight room, be serious, be focused for an hour and understands that it’s a process that is going to make him better in the long run.  And if your kid is not mature enough for it, guess what?  IT’S NO BIG DEAL!!  Kids are kids and they should have fun!  Kids should play different sports and games and acquire as many new athletic abilities as possible through that.

I am a strength coach and I’m training kids as young as 12 years old.  I can’t send them home if they want to be there, because if it’s not me training them, it’s going to be someone else.  And with the quality of training offered in most sports training places, I’d much rather see them at Endeavor, learning to move well and becoming better athletes than being run through cone drills, and agility ladders until total exhaustion by some dude who doesn’t know what he’s doing.  And if they’re not going to train and they don’t want to, it’s fine; let kids be kids, and let’s let them play!