Youth Strength & Fitness Should Highlight Fun & Movement!

There is no doubt youth fitness training improves strength and endurance, but packing on some muscle will probably happen too.  This could help a lot of skinny, weak kids that are looking to improve the way they look and feel. Everyone is sitting and moving less these days!  Kids should have fun playing games and moving freely while improving their body composition, motor skills, and coordination. And how about those positive social effects as our youth move around exercising and playing with one another…doesn’t every kid want to have a friend and buddy? …sounds like a win-win to me.

Remember those concerns about how we were going to damage the growth plates when kids lifted weights? Those outdated beliefs are all but debunked and so are stunting their growth and possible muscle injuries. The key is to provide well-designed and well-supervised exercise programs for our youth. When supportive practices are used… strength training benefits and minimal risk of injury become very apparent. It doesn’t have to be complicated to provide a great environment for our sons and daughters to develop their bodies and create great learning experiences for them.

Here is a list of general recommendations that provide safe and effective youth strength training practices:

  • Make sure your son and daughter is working with a qualified (professionally certified) fitness professional
  • Have a program designed with your child’s cognitive development, physical maturity, and training experience taken into consideration
  • Make sure the training or playing environment is safe and free of hazards….in other words…make some space available.
  • Engage your youth in 5-10 minutes of dynamic warm-up (play) prior to any strengthening exercises or fun movements
  • 2-3 days of training (play) sessions are plenty while taking days off in between
  • 8-12 exercises which strengthen the entire body are very effective
  • If weightlifting, 8-15 reps (about 60% of maximum resistance) will provide great results in the beginning
  • Focus should be on correct exercise technique and safe training procedures instead of heavy weights initially
  • Throw in some balance and coordination exercises that are zany and challenging
  • Implement more advanced and challenging exercises and fun that enhance power production when your daughter or son is ready

There is no minimum age requirement for youth training, but most experts agree age seven or eight is a general guideline.  One of the most important practices to provide our youth though is a well supervised program of strength training.  When we provide the guidance and support to young people, the physical activity help develops the body in a very healthy and nurturing way. The possibility of injury is minimized and our children learn a great habit at a very young age that will bring benefit to them for their entire lives.  Just remember…have fun…play hard…and laugh with your child every day…good things will happen.

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