One question we hear a lot is whether children should participate in resistance training. Many people in the past believed that strength training in children would lead to stunted growth or possible injury. However, after recent studies, it has been found that neither are true. In fact, regular participation in resistance training as a kid can reduce the risk of injuries in sports and other activities, positively affect the growth of the children, and increase their fine motor skills. It can also reduce the risk of childhood obesity and enhance the cardiac function of the children.
Another reason it is important to start strength training at a young age is that due to the rise in sport specialization, many young athletes are developing muscle imbalances. While this may not be noticeable at their young age, muscle imbalances can lead to complications further down the road. This can be avoided, however, by beginning a resistance training program that focuses on developing balance in the muscles and offsetting the effects of sport specialization.
Even though there are many positives to children getting involved in resistance training, risks and concerns are still prevalent. The main concern is the risk of damaging joints at an early age by placing so much pressure on them. However, the force placed on the joints of youth athletes may be greater during sports participation than resistance training. Either way, the risk of injury is always there and a concern one must cope with. The best way to avoid injury, and make sure the children are taking part in safe resistance training, is by having them work with a trusted strength and conditioning professional who can set up a safe workout designed around the child’s physical capabilities.