- Controlled movements
- Proper technique
- Correct form
- Uses more repetitions
- Uses lighter weights.
- Free weights
- Weight machines
- Resistance bands
- A child’s own body weight
- Build strength
- Improve muscle coordination
- Enhance long-term health
- Rehabilitate injuries
- Prevent injuries
Training GuidelinesIt is fundamental to find a program that is safe and successful for children. Parents want a program that is designed specifically for kids, is supervised by a fitness professional with child experience, and most of all that it is fun. For strength training there is not a minimum age, however, the kids should be able to understand and follow directions. Before starting a child on any new fitness program check with their doctor or healthcare provider.
A training program should include:
- A session should start with a 5-10 minute warm-up exercise/s like stretching and light aerobics.
- Every session should end with a cool-down combined with stretching and relaxation.
- Kids should not immediately be using weights until proper form and technique are learned.
- Kids should start with their own body weight, bands, or a bar with no weight.
- Using 6-8 different exercises that address all the muscle groups, begin with 8-15 repetitions.
- Each exercise should be done with a complete follow-through of the full range of motion.
- If the repetitions are too much with a specific weight, reduce the weight.
- Repetitions and sets should gradually increase over time to maintain the intensity of the training.
- Add more weight only when the child displays the proper form and can easily do at least 10 reps.
- Workouts should be 20 to 30 minutes long, 2 to 3 times per week to get the most benefit.
- Make sure to rest a day between each workout day.
SafetyStrength training was not always considered appropriate exercise for kids. Doctors and fitness professionals believed that it was unsafe for a child’s growing body because of the added pressure on growth plates or the cartilage that has not fully turned into solid bone. Experts now know that with proper technique and supervision, kids can safely participate in a strength training program. As with any type of exercise/fitness regiment, safety measures need to be in place along with heightened supervision. Most injuries happen when kids are not supervised, not using proper techniques, or from trying to lift too much weight. Here are some safety precautions to remember:
- Learning new exercises should be done under the supervision of a trainer/instructor making sure proper technique and form are used
- Smooth controlled motions should be the goal
- Controlled breathing and not holding their breath needs to be taught
- Proper technique will help avoid injuries
- The kids’ progress should be monitored
- Have the children keep a record of the exercises they have done, how many reps, and the amount of weight/resistance.
- If enrolled in a strength training class, a good ratio is one instructor per 10 students. With this ratio, the kids can receive proper instruction and supervision.
- Kids should train in a hazard-free, well-lit, and properly ventilated facility.
- Make sure the kids drink plenty of water during and after the workout
- Fitness trainers/instructors will see to it that there are frequent rest and rehydration breaks