Should You Let Your Child Strength Train
Your kids are playing sports. They’re practicing. They’re training. You bring them to and from practice and watch their games, but have you ever given much thought to what they are actually doing at those practices? After watching a number of practices myself and talking with other parents I have discovered that kids are all over the board when it comes to strength training.
There is definitely right and wrong when it come to strength training and what are kids should be doing!
Physical Development in Kids
First, a super-brief lesson about our kids physical Development first! There are 3 major stages to development (this should help you understand why there kids need to be careful during training!):
Prepubescent (8-11 years)
Most kids (boys and girls) are growing at a steady rate during this stage, emotionally, physically and mentally.
Puberty (12-14 years)
This stage could be titled “Skeletal Development“. There’s very little muscular change during this stage, but rather bones are growing super fast. Due to these major growth spurts, the rate of injury during this age is high! The muscle structure and growth does not support the massive bone growth taking place during this time.
Postpubescent (15-18 years)
This stage would be best titled “Muscular Development“. There is a surge in muscle growth due to hormones. Obviously, boys will develop more during this stage than girls will. Muscle finally starts to develop to support the bone growth.
Is Strength Training is right for my Kid?
The most important thing to remember is that strength training does NOT mean building muscle mass, especially for kids ages 14 and younger!
This is a time to work on AGILITY, POWER, QUICKNESS & CORE STRENGTH.
The proper progression with ages means using weights is unnecessary in young kids and resistance should only be added to a strength training routine gradually and as kids get older.
During the ages of 8-11 years is when the foundation for strength training is built. The skill sets of movement and rhythm are focused on repetitively. As kids grow into the next stage (12-14 years) expectations of the same skill need to increase. Increase the rep and start adding light resistance. Not weights, but try some resistance bands or even using their own weight for resistance (push-ups are a perfect example!). As kids get older they will need to start to master skill sets, but still need to be challenged. This is when weight can be added to training (low weight with high reps is best & focus on form). Also, make the situational elements change for more of a challenge.
Absolutely any kid can go through strength training, as long as it is monitored and follows the structure of their age. If you’re not sure specifically what strength training is right for your child, find a strength coach. You can even have your team use a strength coach…they can meet with the team a few times to educate them and then set the off for the season on their own! Building a solid foundation will save your kids from injury in the future.