The 5 Best Weightlifting Exercises for Children
Weightlifting is for everyone. Period. Throughout my high school years, I was always told to avoid lifting because it would stunt my growth and leave lasting damage. It only took 10 years for me to realize that this wasn’t the case at all. While kids have been excluded for decades, there’s more than enough evidence to show us that it’s in their best interest to do weight-bearing exercise.
The ironic thing is that those who avoid this type of activity are more prone to injury and health complications down the road. This is another great example of how powerful word of mouth and biases can be for the health and wellness community. It’s not too late to turn this ship around, however, as schools and communities everywhere are starting to implement a safe approach to weightlifting for children.
Are you ready to hop on board?
We’ve Been Believing a Myth for Decades
In one study by Faigenbaum & Myer, it was shown that sports such as football, soccer, and rugby all have higher injury risks than well-supervised weight lifting for 11–14-year-olds. Furthermore, it states that even finding one’s 1RM (one rep max) is completely safe if there is adequate supervision. Here is a brief excerpt from the paper:
Current research indicates that resistance training can be a safe, effective, and worthwhile activity for children and adolescents provided that qualified professionals supervise all training sessions and provide age-appropriate instruction on proper lifting procedures and safe training guidelines. Regular participation in a multifaceted resistance training program that begins during the preseason and includes instruction on movement biomechanics may reduce the risk of sports-related injuries in young athletes.
There are two key takeaways from this article. First, the efficacy of weightlifting for children is completely dependent on one thing: coaching. I’d strongly discourage kids from having free access to weights. It never seems to work out. There is a reason why most gyms don’t allow adolescents under the age of 16 to access their facilities without adult…