Yes! Children can lift weights and here's why...
We only use proven, trusted and measurable training techniques. That’s why we can confidently say that, yes, children can use weights.
We do realise this subject can be confusing. There is so much jargon and research that it can be a bit overwhelming for anyone, let alone children.
Luckily, with our help, you don’t have to be Arnold Schwarzenegger to understand it all!
To help you understand more, we’ve answered the top five questions that we get asked about resistance training.
1 - You mentioned Arnie! OMG is my child going to be bodybuilding?
No. They’re unlikely to look like the Terminator. Schwarzenegger was a bodybuilder. Your children won’t be bodybuilding.
Bodybuilding, Olympic lifting and powerlifting too, are related to strength and resistance training but are not the same.
Our Foundation Strength programme is a specifically designed resistance training programme created with sports performance in mind.
2 - I thought weightlifting is bodybuilding?
By basic definition carrying the groceries is weight lifting! You can lift weights for several reasons. Including bodybuilding.
We use weights - and other forms of resistance training such as rubbers bands or bodyweight exercises - in our Foundation Strength programme for sports performance and general fitness.
3 - How does it help, then?
Resistance training can help increase flexibility and mobility, improve performance, prevent injuries and much more!
According to the National Institution of Health, it may even be more beneficial to start with a strength programme before participating in sports.
That’s why we encourage all children, not just those involved in sports, to participate in our Foundation Strength programme.
4 - Isn’t playing sports enough for children?
Participating in a sport is beneficial for a child’s physical development. There is, however, an increased chance of suffering sporting related injuries as a pre-adolescent.
Resistance training can help reduce the chances of injury. Replicating movements and actions (e.g a pass) while using resistance can help train the body for the real thing.
Young people should also integrate a variety of everyday, functional, bodily movements into workouts. This means things like sitting or standing, picking a school bag up or reaching for something on a shelf. Building - and repeating - the strength and motor skills of these ordinary movements can help to address the causes of injury in children.
Our Foundation Strength programme incorporates these movements, such as pushing and pulling, to develop these motions and help prevent injury.
5 - But I've heard that lifting weights is dangerous for children?
Yes. Weight training can be dangerous. Just like playing sports can be dangerous. It only becomes dangerous without supervision or, indeed, the correct supervision.
You wouldn’t let someone who isn't qualified teach your child how to scrum in rugby or slide tackle in football. So why would you let someone teach your son or daughter how to lift weights?
With the correct technique, informed instruction and professional knowledge, it is perfectly safe for children to participate in a strength training programme.
We pride ourselves on our high standards of coaching. Our Foundation Strength programme is taught by level-2 qualified strength and conditioning coaches. Many are sports science graduates or professional athletes.
If you would like further information on our Foundation Strength programme or would like to book your children onto the programme please click here.
For further reading on this subject, we recommend reading this paper by Myer et.al (2011) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3105332/