Should Your Son or Daughter Be Lifting Weights?
In the past many professionals questioned if strength training for children and teens was effective and provided any benefits. Now researchers are in total support of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) which promotes strength training under the supervision of a qualified trainer, for two or three times a week. Strength training is both safe and healthy for teens and children.
Strength training use free weights, exercise machines, elastic bands and body weight to increase muscle mass and make muscles stronger. Some concerns were that strength training increased the risk of injury for school-aged children and teenagers.
The risk of injury from strength training has been demonstrated to be no higher than the chance of being injured in sports or other type of exercises. Experts in the field of exercise state that strength training provides benefits like increased bone density, lower body fat, and better performance. In addition, strength training can actually aid in reduction of sports injuries if practiced under the supervision of a certified and experienced Professional.
A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, examined age and other factors that could provide benefits in strength training for the young.
At the German Sport University, Dr. Michael Behringer and associates looked at the findings of 42 past studies consisting of 1,728 children and teenagers.
In a majority of the studies, children had used free weights or resistance-training machines. Ranging from use of one to five times a week with an average of 40-minute sessions, the training ranged from a period of one month to just slightly over a year.
In general, the researchers had found the training had been effective in increasing strength. Gains were higher among older children in comparison to children of prepubescent age (around 10 or younger). A few sessions per week showed better results than just one session a week and longer training sessions showed greater benefits than shorter sessions.
The average strength gain varied broadly. A large portion of the studies did show improvements in strength by 20 to 40 percent from their starting strength levels.
Dr. Behringer concluded that strength training is effective for children and teens and is proved to be safe along with yielding health benefits. Children and teens should be encouraged to take part in resistance-training programs.
This data is in line with the 2009 guidelines from the NSCA, which advocates strength training at two or three times a week. Children around ages seven or eight who are old enough to play sports are also usually ready for strength training.
The NSCA highly advises that the performance of strength training should be done with a qualified trainer or part of a school physical education or athletic training program.
Strength for Life teaches teens the fundamentals of strength training, weight room safety, proper form and technique and how to improve sports performance in their Youth Weight Training Program.
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For more information on the Strength for Life Youth Weight Training Program, contact Ed@Strengthforlife.us