The IDEA Health & Fitness Association states that children can benefit from weight training programs. However, strength training should only be a way for your child to increase muscle endurance and strength. It is not meant to body-build or bulk up. In addition, a child must always follow the correct form to avoid injury. Be sure to get a doctor’s approval before starting any exercise routine—especially if a child suffers from any medical conditions.
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KidsHealth.org suggests that a child establish a healthy weight training routine. If just starting out, engage in weight training only three times a week. Sessions can range from 20 minutes to an hour. Work out only a few muscles groups per session. For example, start with the legs the first day, then move to the chest, shoulders and triceps the next day.
Warm up the muscles before weight training to prevent injury. This can be done by taking a quick walk or pedaling on a stationary bike. Start with basic weight training exercises like squats, bench presses and lat pull downs. Practice the technique without any weights at first. Then do three sets of eight to 19 reps of each of the exercises. Use a light weight at first and then increase it gradually as you finish sets. Be sure to perform two or three types of exercises for each muscle group to make sure the body is worked out thoroughly. Just as you warmed up, finish the weight training workout with a cool down to prevent any injury.
A child’s version of weight training should not just be a scaled down version of an adult routine. Instead, start by seeking the guidance of a coach or trainer. That way, you can be sure your child is weight training in a safe, effective way based on his size and age. Spend five to 10 minutes warming up with a light aerobic activity like jogging in place, jumping rope or walking. Adult sized weights can be used as long as the weight is appropriate for your child’s size. Do 12 to 15 repetitions for each muscle group. Be sure to allow at least one complete day between working out each specific muscle group. Make sure your child is supervised while weight training, ensuring that he is using proper techniques and weight. Although weights can be safely used, a child can use his own body weight to weight train. Exercises like push-ups are an effective form of weight training. Or try a resistance tube.
Successful Strength Training
SpineUniverse.com suggests finding a weight training workout that is fun and safe. Start with a warm up and then proceed to a body elastic or a bar to do pull-ups on. A child can move to weights when he feels comfortable. Begin with six to eight different exercises for each muscle group. Do eight to 15 repetitions at a time. Lower the weight if your child cannot successfully complete repetitions. Gradually increase the amount of sets and reps over time. Only add more weight when your child can properly perform around 10 repetitions. Weight train for about 20 to 30 minutes, two or three times a week. Be sure to rest for one day in between each workout.