Kids + weights = bad?
So, your child has just turned 15, they want a gym membership, you say no because you hear it is bad for their young, developing body.. but is that truly correct?
There is a simple answer. No. No it isn't bad. What is bad could be the fact they aren't strong enough to play sport safely due to their weak muscles - sports that have large amounts of body contact (AFL), or sports that have huge forces travelling through specific joints (Netball, Tennis, Volleyball). Hopefully I have your attention...
Here are two, major bodies in AUS and USA regarding youth resistance training. If I didn't get your attention, hopefully these will...
Let me outline three specific way Resistance Training (RT) is beneficial AND safe for your child;
1. There is no greater inherent risk for your child to RT than there is to play sport. In fact, your child is MORE LIKELY to injure themselves playing sport than lifting weights. How? RT is a discrete task - this means it has a defined start and stop. Take a squat for instance, you start at the top, bend your knees, lower your body, then rise back up. Clear and simple. Sport, however, is a little different - it is what's called a continuous task, it has no defined start or stop. For example, you run to get the ball, you know you're being chased, but how far away are they? You pick up the ball.. BANG they tackle you unexpectedly and you damage your ACL. No warning. No idea that could it of happened, but it did.
Below is an article regarding Children and RT;
2. They develop and refine skills they use later in their sporting life. At some stage, your child WILL start RT. If they learn the skills early, they will benefit from them earlier =greater chance of becoming more elite = greater chance of representing their sport nationally/internationally. Now this is a BIG claim, but is it UNTRUE? No. It COULD happen. Why not give them the chance? If they have the skills others don't, they WILL be scouted earlier - fact!
3. Great for confidence in athletes who don't excel in their sport. This is the most important note; irrespective of their ability in sport, RT is still for your child. They still can reap ALL the benefits associated. Who is to say with a little guidance, RT and developed skills, that they can't get better and become a more skilled athlete in their sport? I have seen this happen first hand - and you can bet that they put the effort in to become a better athlete.
All this being said there IS STILL A RISK. Too much weight, too much progression too soon, not enough rest and poor coaching can ALL LEAD TO INJURY. Its is paramount that if you are allowing your child to RT, that is with an suitably qualified ASCA practitioner with a sound background in Sport Science. Why risk it if you have come this far?