Strength training has many health benefits, from building muscle to increasing metabolism, better sleep, and so much more! From all the positive effects of strength training, it’s a no-brainer that everyone should incorporate it into their workout routine, but at what age is the right age to begin?
I began strength training when I was a freshman in high school, around 14 years old, with my track and field team. This is around the time most other athletes I knew began as well. Any non-athletes I knew started their journey at 16-18+ years old. However, I know schools have begun after-school strength training classes as early as elementary and middle school as another way to get kids to stay active. Previous research indicates that any type of resistance training was unsafe and harmful for children and adolescents. However, many clinicians now “aim to increase the number of youth who regularly participate in muscle-strengthening activities.” The purpose behind the switch in opinions now wants to enhance musculoskeletal strength and reduce the risk of sports-related injuries in the present and future of adolescents.
According to a study conducted by Robert M. Makina, a kinesiology and health education professor at the University of Texas Austin, indicates that children and adolescents who follow age-appropriate training guidelines with qualified supervision have a relatively low risk of injury. He also found that strength training at a younger age does not negatively impact growth and maturation, which was formerly true.
Children to adolescents can be a wide range of age, so what is the ideal age for youth to begin training? Kidshealth.org suggests that kids as young as 7 or 8 can safely begin weight lifting if they have reasonable control over their bodies and use proper form. Typically, children who have already been involved in sports at a younger age can perform proper lifts.
Before having a child begin any fitness routine, always contact your doctor to get the okay. Children should never conduct strength training unsupervised, and it is in the best interest to start training with no weights to get proper form down first. If your child wants to start working out, but you do not feel qualified enough to ensure they are using proper form and safety measures to prevent any injuries, the EZPT App will be your best friend. EZPT acts as a personal trainer that analyzes forms and exercises and offers live feedback right from your phone. While you are supervising, the app is another safety measure to prevent injury in your fitness-motivated kid. And, remember, strength training in youth is not about seeing how much one can lift, but about learning proper movement and techniques to develop skills safely appropriate!