LCHM Fall 2017 - 20

FEATURE

most children can benefit

FROM STRENGTH TRAINING

I

BY JOANNE M. KOUREY

f you've ever watched young children growth of children, and that children should
play on a playground equipped with not lift weights until they are 12 years old.
ladders, slides, rings, bars and chutes, There is simply no evidence to support either
you'll see them climbing, swinging, jumping, of these statements. In fact, all of the major
throwing, reaching and hanging.
fitness and medical organizations in the U.S.
recommend strength training for youth,
And, while fun, it's really about exploration assuming that basic guidelines are adhered
and growing - growing in agility, coordina- to and that appropriate leadership is present.
tion, endurance and strength. So, why are
there still doubts about resistance training for
"About the question of age, children can
children? Why do few sports programs offer begin to train with weights as soon as they
young athletes a quality resistance training are able to accept and follow directions -
experience? Why is childhood obesity at usually around the age of seven or eight."
epidemic levels in the United States?
(Strength Training for Kids: A Guide for
Parents and Teachers, American Council
For years, people believed that strength on Exercise Fit Facts)
training would negatively impact growth.
The American Council on Exercise Fit Facts,
Despite the evidence, some coaches and
quoted below, believes differently.
parents believe that strength training for
children is unsafe. So, to get them in shape
"Two of the most common misconceptions for sports, they prescribe calisthenics. Most
are that strength training may stunt the young children, however, have difficulty
20 Lehigh County Health & Medicine | FALL 2017

performing push-ups, dips, pull-ups and
even sit-ups correctly or repetitively.
Actually, a well-designed moderate resistance training program provides a means
for building specific strength in muscle
groups that can improve kids' ability to
perform calisthenics and protect the joints
from injury. In fact, the American College
of Sports Medicine states that 50 percent
of pre-adolescent sports injuries could be
prevented, in large part, by enrolling kids in
youth strength and conditioning programs.
"Children and adolescents can participate
in strength training programs, provided
that they have the emotional maturity to
accept and follow directions. Generally
speaking, if children are ready for participation in organized sports or activities
- such as Little League baseball, soccer, or
gymnastics - then they are ready for some



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