Elementary Strength Training Equipment:Strength training, not weightlifting
Strength training for kids? You bet! Done properly, strength training offers many bonuses to young athletes. Strength training is even a good idea for kids who simply want to look and feel better. In fact, strength training can put your child on a lifetime path to better health and fitness.
For kids, light resistance and controlled movements are best — with a special emphasis on proper technique and safety. Your child can do many strength training exercises with his or her own body weight or inexpensive resistance tubing. Free weights and machine weights are other options.
Don't confuse strength training with weightlifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting. These activities are largely driven by competition, with participants vying to lift heavier weights or build bigger muscles than those of other athletes. This can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and areas of cartilage that haven't yet turned to bone (growth plates) — especially when proper technique is sacrificed in favor of lifting larger amounts of weight.
Benefits of Strength Training for Kids
Done properly, strength training can:
- Increase your child's muscle strength and endurance
- Help protect your child's muscles and joints from injury
- Improve your child's performance in nearly any sport, from dancing and figure skating to football and soccer
And strength training isn't only for athletes. Even if your child isn't interested in sports, strength training can:
- Strengthen your child's bones
- Help promote healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Boost your child's metabolism
- Help your child maintain a healthy weight
- Improve your child's self-esteem
Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness. Policy statement: Strength training by children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2012