Weight Training and Exercise for Youth

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One of the questions I get asked a lot is “is my kid too young to be weight lifting?”. When it comes to weight training and physical activity, the age of a child doesn’t matter. Regardless of the age of a child who wants to workout, it’s all about supervision, proper coaching, technique and the right programming.

One of the biggest myths about weight lifting at a young age is that it stunts your growth. There has not been one scientific study to show or prove that lifting weights stunts your growth. I’m not tall, but I can’t blame that on weight lifting as a kid! I only started lifting weights when I was 25, so I can only blame my parents for my height!

At Just Fitness we run the Sports Academy for one of the local high schools that involves strength and conditioning for grade 9 and 10 kids. We also have a youth program for kids ages 12-15 years old, and we train many sports teams from hockey and baseball, to boxing, gymnastics, and curling. We also do personal training with kids ages 6-17. We firmly believe that a healthy lifestyle and fitness should start at an early age, and we’re all about trying to stop the epidemic that is childhood obesity. The age of the kids determines what exactly we do with them, but mostly it’s functional movements, free weights, bands and bodyweight movements. We can also introduce kids to strength training in bench press, back squats and deadlifts, but we are not looking to build bodybuilders. We choose appropriate weights, reps and programming for each individual child.

Teenage obesity is becoming an epidemic! According to the Canada Health Measure Survey (2010); Over 26% of children and youth are overweight, 60% of Canadian youth do not get the required daily physical activity for optimum growth and development, and 93% of children and youth are not meeting Canada’s physical activity guidelines.

What we aim to do is introduce youth to proper fitness and training techniques by working on strength and conditioning, designed for sports and athletics. Whether or not your child is an athlete, this type of training is ideal for weight loss, fat burning and strength building.

Most organized youth sports are based on speed, acceleration and strength based (hockey, football, volleyball, basketball, baseball/softball, track & field) where the majority of activities involve short bursts of movement followed by full or complete rest, with some having a bit more speed endurance focus (soccer, lacrosse).

By focusing on the right exercises early, kids can improve athletic performance, build coordination, fight obesity, and gain a tremendous amount of self-confidence.

 

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