A few years ago a patient asked me if it was okay to allow his 8 year old son to begin lifting weights. At the time I had not even thought about a child lifting weights ,but before I answered to quickily I did a little research and found out that yes it is allright for an 8 year old to lift an appropriate amount of weight in modest amounts of time ,over the course of training for sports competitions etc… One must remember that a child of this age doesn’t have hormones in large amounts yet.They will not build muscle in the way a teenager or adult might. Check out the article below for helpful guidance if you decide to train your youth child with light weights. So you might ask what weights would be best.I believe free weights are best at this age coupled with good plyometric training and overall balance and proper conditioning is always the best.Children do best in sports when their bodies are developed through more than one dominate sport.We often see great sprinters that played soccer first…Janette Paul Quite Fire Bantam girl is a great example as well as the high school hurdler William Wynne out of Atlanta Georgia.His father said he played soccer first and he and others noticed how fast he was so track was a natural progression. see Fantasy Track Team
Get a Checkup First, Don’t Overdo It, and Don’t Start Before Age 7, Says American Academy of Pediatrics
By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Teri McCambridge, MD, chair of the AAP’s Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, says the revisions include more specific recommendations about kids and teens who need further medical evaluation prior to being cleared for strength training.
The revised guidelines also include a chart describing the different certifications for strength trainers and the requirements required to get the certifications. “We thought this was important because many health clubs are designing strength training programs for children and we wanted parents to be comfortable with their credentials,” says McCambridge.
Overall, “we continued to emphasize that although strength training is safe and effective in children and preadolescents, we continue to recommend playing sports as the best way to improve skills and have fun,” says McCambridge.
Here are other highlights from the guidelines, published in April’s edition of Pediatrics:
- Don’t start before kids are 7-8 years old. Kids’ balance and posture don’t mature until then.
- Before starting strength training, kids and teens should get a medical checkup.
- Follow proper techniques, with strict supervision by a qualified instructor.
- Warm up for 10-15 minutes.
- Strength-train for at least 20-30 minutes, then cool down for 10-15 minutes.
- Address all major muscle groups, including the core muscles
- Start with light weights and focus on technique.
- Use control; don’t slam the weights up and down.
- Many strength-training machines are designed for adults; free weights may be a better option for kids.
- Don’t strength-train the same muscles every day. Two to three times per week is enough; more sessions may lead to injury.
- When the child or teen can do 8-15 repetitions easily, add weight in 10% increments.
Consistency counts, too. It takes at least eight weeks for strength training to start showing results, and those results are lost about six weeks after quitting strength training, according to the AAP.
The AAP doesn’t support Olympic weight lifting in kids and teens who are still growing, though McCambridge and colleagues note several studies showing it to be safe.
Of course, the AAP condemns using anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances.
View Article Sources
American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, Pediatrics, April 2008; vol 121: pp 835-840.
Teri McCambridge, MD, chair, American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness.