Summer is here in the Sports Medicine Center which means we have a lot more young athletes in the clinic either rehabbing injuries or starting PEP programs to get ready for the fall sports season.
Most of the time, these kids come in with concerned parents who have plenty of questions about their child's injury and what they can do to prevent it from happening again. One common question we get is what age is appropriate for starting weight training.
When I was a kid growing up, most people felt you shouldn't start weight lifting until after puberty. It was thought that starting too soon could stunt your growth.
Current research has not found any evidence to support that thinking. Instead, they are finding the biggest risk for injury is improper technique. With that in mind, the National Strength and Conditioning Association's recommendations on resistance training for youth revolves first and foremost around qualified supervision and instruction. The goal should be to teach youth about their bodies, and get kids excited about physical activity along with increasing muscle strength.
Below are some guidelines from the NSCA on starting resistance training once the above criteria are met:
- A child may be ready to do resistance training once they have the emotional maturity to accept and follow directions. This usually is around age 7-8 when they are in other sport activities.
- Begin with two days per week performing one set of 10-15 repetitions. Focus on the major muscle groups to build confidence before advancing.
- Eventually work towards performing 1-3 sets of 6-15 repetitions with a variety of exercises 2-3 days per week on nonconsecutive days.
I hope this helps if you're trying to decide when to start some resistance training with your children. Share on Facebook
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Griffin, If my memory is correct, there was a very young kid that lifted weights like crazy. I think they called him "little hurcules". What ever happened to him? Does he have any side effects from lifting so early?