Children learn things effortlessly, ranging from language, to habits, to sports. It has been discovered that the ability to learn new things and practices are enhanced in children, due to their increased cognitive function, concentration, and lack of distractions. Children often have the opportunity to learn new things because they have minor things to worry and think about when compared to the average adult with a busy lifestyle.IF YOU WANT to rile up some parents, just ask them what age is safe for kids to start weight lifting.
Talk to someone vehemently against putting “dumbbells” and “children” in the same sentence, and their argument against youth training likely centers around one of two things: the idea that lifting weights can damage kids’ growth plates, thereby stunting their growth, and/or that weight training can increase their kids’ risk of a bone fracture.
Sounds scary, right? But here’s the thing: Both arguments are completely unfounded. There’s no truth to either of them.
I have no idea where these myths started, but it is backed up by research that it is entirely safe for kids to start lifting weights early in life, provided they do so under a well-designed, supervised program(Gregory Meyer).
Myer and Avery Faigenbaum, Ed.D., C.S.C.S., professor of health and exercise science at the College of New Jersey, are two of the foremost researchers in the field of adolescent fitness and strength training. Both say there is almost zero downside to strength training and working out for children, as long as they’re doing a sound program and under strict supervision. What’s more, both argue that exposing our kids to exercise early in life is one of the best things we can do for them.
What is weight lifting?
We’re not exactly talking about a 7-year-old pressing a 200-lb barbell above her head. In essence, we’re talking about training kids like adult athletes, with the goal of merely getting stronger, healthier, more flexible with increased performances on and off the field.
“Strength training broadly defines the method of conditioning that makes muscles stronger,” Faigenbaum explains. “One extreme is a bodybuilder mentality, where the goal is focused on aesthetics—that’s an adult goal. We’re talking about the other end of the spectrum, which is building functional strength and becoming healthy and physically fit.
Resistance training can improve a young athlete’s potential by preparing him to learn complex movements, master sports tactics, and step up to the demands of training and competition according to the British journal of sports.
Strength training reduces the chances of a kid getting injured playing a sport, n fact, little sports training isn’t enough for kids to make the neuromuscular gains they need to prevent injury and promote lifelong health, that same analysis found. Kids need additional activity.
Kids work at bodyweight until they can perfect their form,” Faigenbaum says. “Once a child can perform the basic complex exercises such as bench press, squat, and deadlift correctly., he earns the right to progress to adding weights to it. There are certainly some teens who can squat double their body weight, but they’ve built up to that weight over time.
Parents concerned about their kids handling added weight, consider this: When kids run and jump and play, they land and hit the ground with an impulse load of 2–10 times their bodyweight going through their bones and joints, Myer says. That means a healthy 10-year-old boy can be looking at some 1,000lbs on his joints—which is way more than anyone’s suggesting he squat. Without learning the proper way to jump and land and without building a strong foundation to absorb that impact that 10-year-old boy is at a much higher risk of injury absorbing that impact without any training under his belt. In fact, resistance training can protect against injury and help nonathletic kids develop “physical literacy” to offset their sedentary lifestyles(Sports health).
What age range is safe for weightlifting and how young is too young?
There is this famous question concerning kids participating in weightlifting, which is, is he not too young or is he ready?
Most kids are ready to start intentionally building strength by 7 or 8 years old. The only real concern? Whether a child is emotionally prepared for training. Kids have to be able to follow instructions to stay safe, so when they have the maturity to listen and follow directions, they’re ready for some strength program.
Apparently, some kids aren’t quite ready at age 8, but Some fitness trainer does strength programs with kids as young as kindergarten. At that age, strength training looks like frog squats, bunny hops, hermit crab touches, and bear crawls across the yard or gymnasium, moves that are fun and solely intended to get kids moving in all different directions, starting to build up muscle naturally.
Another gauge: If your child is ready for sports, he’s probably prepared for strength training. If your kid is already past 8, get him or her in now.
Benefits of exercising and weightlifting early as a kid
Strength training trains the muscles and the underlying neuromuscular system to enhance a child’s ability to run, jump, hop, and skip. Strength matters in every sport, not just football or wrestling. Jumping, throwing, kicking strength is a prerequisite for every movement.
Beyond setting young athletes up for success, though, strength training has a long-term effect on a kid’s development, inactive kids become inactive teens, and then inactive adults, And since kids today are weaker when compared to kids given birth to some few decades ago, the earlier they become active, the better.
Starting strength building in high school is 10 years too late, Our interventions need to start during primary school years. It seems there is a window of opportunity early in life to develop habits and train your systems in a way that propels you into more substantial success for the future.
The benefits of weight training on the musculoskeletal system of kids
Another concept to learn training age. Training age is a measure of how long someone has been strength training, and it’s especially important for kids as they develop and grow.
“If you start at 10, by the time you’re 16 you can handle a much higher load than another 16-year-old who has a training age of 0 rather than 6.
As with adults, the earlier you start working out, the sooner you’ll see changes. But maximizing training age is more impactful in kids because they have more adaptive processes to capitalize on.
At 14, 15, 16 years old, you have hormonal and neuromuscular factors converging, and if you have a higher training age at this point, it’s much more advantageous for yielding higher adaptation.
If kids can build strength pre-puberty, then they’ll have that good foundation to explode off of when their legs and arms lengthen, the center of gravity changes, and hormones settle in. The goal is to give kids a bigger engine to power their newly bigger cars, Girls, in particular, are ripe with potential because their injury risk explodes at maturation (thanks to hormones).
Plus, while you can increase bone strength as an adult, the gains you get during childhood are much more significant, The data say under the age of 12 seems to be the ideal time to expose the bones of boys and girls to weight-bearing physical activity, like running, jumping, hopping, skipping, playing soccer, playing tag, for optimal health later in life.
Neurological benefits of strength training for kids
Weight training earlier in life has a lot of neurological benefits for kids, it helps in the development of their brain and enhances their cognitive functions.
Our brains continue to learn and evolve and become more connected until the age of 20, but this lead-up period is where our motor control becomes hardwired.
For example: As an adult, weightlifting and strenuous exercises tax our nervous system, but over time, you adapt, and your reflexes become faster. When you’re a kid, that happens at a much faster rate: “We can adapt and alter after 20, but those growing years of peak neuroplasticity are really when we’re primed to take in motor loads and respond and adapt at a very high rate.
The earlier you start, the more fine-tuned your neuromuscular system will be by 20.
Psychological benefits of weightlifting for kids
Weight lifting has a lot of mental benefits for kids, it affects the way they think and interacts with people around them and their environment.
When kids are young, they all run around together. But around 6, 7, 8 years old, some start to change physically, and suddenly they’re moving differently from their peers. Adults know not all bodies are built for speed and agility, but when kids can’t keep up with their peers, they start turning away from the things they’re not good at. That leads them down the trajectory of exercise deficit disorder, which will eventually lead to obesity.
However, if you can get those outlier kids into strength training around this time, they not only start developing their training age but also have the crucial thrill of becoming good at something. They may be the worst at running and playing, but in strength training they can succeed, and the psychological effects of finding success compared to their peers can go a long way, In fact, a 2017 study in translation pediatrics revealed that, in addition to reduced injury risk and increased bone strength, resistance training helped improve self-esteem in children and adolescents.
Risk involved in weightlifting early as a kid
Just like any other sports, weightlifting consists of some risk, but its advantages outweigh its disadvantages. When it comes to all the factors swirling around a growing body, growth plates, muscle plasticity, fluctuating hormones, strength training doesn’t affect any growth or development.
Of course, there are risks associated with all types of physical activity. But research shows that well-devised and supervised strength training programs cause fewer injuries than general sports.
The most common injuries happen to kids’ hands and feet (Strenght journal ), the products of, say, dropping weights or catching fingers on dumbbells. “In a well-designed program, training two to three days per week, focusing on form and progression, injuries are minimal.
The one external factor worth mentioning is the danger of anabolic steroids, for adolescents because they freeze the growth plates in bones, stunting height. It’s reasonable to think that starting a kid down the path of weightlifting early might drive him toward anabolic steroid use early on.
Using anabolic steroids is not about the activity (weightlifting) but instead about the environment. “If a kid is going to a bodybuilding gym, maybe they’ll be exposed to steroids as acceptable, but that’s apparently not a right environment for them to start exercising.
By exposing kids to strength training via gym class, YMCA programs, or organized sports, parents can steer them away from the dark side of muscle building.
If your child is ready to start strength training, look for an after-school, technique-based YMCA program, or ask a local PE teacher, they know about the sport and know your community,
It’s especially important to get them started before sports; You can’t go from the couch to high school cross-country team, training five days a week. It is advisable for all boys and girls should perform six weeks of conditioning before they start playing a sport.
Weightlifting early in life is one of the best ways to inculcate a healthy lifestyle and habit in kids, which can help in preventing obesity, Prediabetes, diabetes, atherosclerosis and other cardiological and endocrinologically related disease. However, just like any other sports, it has to be done under the right supervision, environment, and techniques. The advantages of weightlifting early in life outweighs its disadvantages and is advisable for all parents that want to inculcate healthy habits into their kids. If you notice any unusual symptom, consult the nearest doctor, and consult your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise program for your kids.
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