Strength training is safe and highly beneficial for musculoskeletal development during childhood and adolescence, and as outlined in our previous blog, international guidelines recommend strength training as part of every child’s weekly routine.
There are some misguided beliefs around the effects of strength training for children, but the evidence is clear – with appropriate supervision and coaching, strength training does not increase the risk of injury or cause growth defects, and can in fact have tremendous positive effects. Potential benefits of strength training include:
- Improved motor skill development
- Reduced risk of diseases such as heart disease and diabetes
- Increased bone mineral density
- Reduced risk of sports injury
- Positive effects on mental health
Children (and untrained adults!) should begin with body-weight-resisted exercises, with a focus on technique and a series of progressions to master over time. “Soft-resistance” exercises with simple and safe equipment like resistance bands can be introduced as a trainee progresses, preparing them for the world of weight-lifting that lies ahead.
Teenagers will quite often develop an interest in strength training and jump ahead to the weight-lifting-beach-muscle-building stage without appropriate guidance. We highly recommend these kids consult with a physio or strength coach to focus their motivation the right direction, and with improving technology and the option of online coaching, this is now easier than ever.
If you know the basics and are able to help your kids develop an interest in strength training, you’ll be doing them an enormous favour. If you have any doubts or need some direction, give us a call at Total Balance and we will help you get the ball rolling.