We’ve all heard the old wive’s tale that weight lifting stunts the growth of our kids because lifting weights harms their growth plates. Is this really true though? Modern research and studies have found that this actually may not be as true as we have been told.
I’m not recommending that everyone should get their 5-year-old child on an intensive bodybuilding regimen right this minute. However, there is research that has found that some regular resistance and bodyweight training can do more good than harm to a growing child. Having a professionally trained and educated physical trainer curate a fitness routine for your child (approved by their pediatrician) can increase muscle density, improve bone strength, and broaden overall physical literacy, which all will set a stronger foundation for physical movements that will help your child in athletics, dance, etc.
Instead of making an 8-year-old do reps on the bench press, the focus of the child’s workout should be on resistance and bodyweight training. Bodyweight exercises like push-ups and lunges will help the kids strengthen their muscles without putting their growing bodies through unnecessary strain and pressure. General muscle strength training will help protect our young athletes from injury on the field/court.
Although most of these training programs should focus on pretty general strength training, each regimen should be carefully created for the individual child. Each and every child is unique, which should go the same for their workout program. Variables like gender, age, maturity, physical literacy, level of motor skills, and overall strength need to be taken into consideration when formulating these programs for your child.
Most importantly, make sure your young athletes are having fun. Many academic journals on health and fitness have stated that getting our kids to enjoy physical activity at a young age will increase their physical literacy and proficiency of motor skills. Building this foundation will increase the probability that they will enjoy playing sports and staying active as they get older. Your athletes should have fun with and trust their trainer/coach. While there is little to no risk of injury with strength training in children, the majority of these injuries come from poor form or incorrectly doing an exercise. This is more likely to happen if your child doesn’t trust and respect their trainer.
If you’re interested in getting your kid set up with a path towards a healthier life, contact us!
Call or text 714.483.8252 to set up your first free session! Includes an initial personal goals assessment, personalized workout plan and 1-hour individualized workout.