Strength Training Safety for Kids
Part 2 of 2
Strength Training Safety
Strength training has not always been considered appropriate for children. It was feared that it was unsafe for growing bodies because too much pressure would be placed on growth plates (cartilage that has not yet turned into bone). Today, experts acknowledge that with good technique and proper supervision, children can safely participate in strength training programs.
However, safety precautions must be in place and supervision is imperative. Most strength training injuries occur when children are not supervised, are not using proper techniques, or are trying to lift too much weight. Keep the following safety precautions in mind:
• When learning a new exercise, kids should perform the exercise under the supervision of a trainer or instructor to make sure they are using proper form; smooth, controlled motions; and controlled breathing (not holding their breath). Proper technique is a must to avoid injuries.
• Your child's progress should be monitored. A great way to do this is to have your child keep a record of which exercises are done, how many repetitions, and the weight or resistance used.
• If you are enrolling your child in a strength training class, an adequate ratio is one instructor per 10 kids. That way, you can be assured your child can receive proper instruction and supervision.
• Kids should work out in a hazard-free, well-lit, and adequately ventilated facility.
• Avoid dehydration by encouraging your child to drink plenty of water during and after the workout.
Other things to keep in mind:
• Competition should be discouraged in a strength training program for kids. Instead, the focus should be on participation with lots of movement and positive reinforcement.
• Make sure your child has realistic expectations and understands that it takes time to learn a new skill. Also keep in mind that kids do not increase muscle size until after puberty.
• Make sure each child enjoys strength training and is having fun. Don't force a child to participate in a strength program. Remember, kids can get bored easily so use a variety of exercises and routines to keep them interested and excited.
A Healthy Habit
Help your child establish life-long healthy habits that include a balanced diet, plenty of rest, and regular exercise. Whether your child is a young athlete looking to increase his or her competitive edge, or a kid who needs to get up and moving, strength training is a fun and worthwhile activity.