Why Kids should do strength training

Ah, yes, the follow up on why women should lift weights. Apparently there are plenty of myths about why children should not do strength training. Well, if you happen to have tiny offspring yourself or you are trying to convince mom and dad to let you hit the gym, then this article is for you:

1. It will not make kids short


If I have a dime for every time I heard a kid or his mom voice this concern, I would be a billionaire already. And the answer is a resounding NO, it will not stunt the kid’s growth. Let me explain:

During adolescent growth phase, it is the growth plates at the end of most bones that are the source of growth. These parts are the last to harden which makes it vulnerable to fractures, causing unequal or stunted growth. As long as your children  does strength training with proper supervision to ensure proper technique, with lots of warm ups, and away from failure, they will be OK. In fact the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children to be do strength training. And last but not least, check out Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Michael Vick, and all the super heavy Olympic weightlifters as they all started lifting weights early and they are all taller than average.

2. My kids already does team sport ABC which is better

soccer kid

Yes, team sport are great way to teach kids how to work in a team they say. But please do tell me how it will improve the kid’s confidence if he/she is a natural introvert? What happens if the kid is not exactly the next Stephen Curry and always gets pick dead last? Please also tell me how team sports build discipline and honor on Kobe Bryant and a big chunk of NFL players?

Fact is, most of the school coaches only know about winning the tournament to keep their jobs and pad their resume. I used to train a kid that was selected to his fancy international school rugby and basketball team but has a knock knee syndrome even when he squats with an empty bar, let alone landing from a jump, its a known injury mechanism and the coach doesn’t care! But hey, don’t trust me, trust the US National Institute of Health that discourage early sports specialization in young athletes. In fact the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons state that 1/3 of growth plate fractures occurred during participation in competitive team sport and another 20% on recreational  sports. Yes ma’am, little Timmy’s stunted growth is due to his soccer participation, not from weight lifting which is relatively much safer.

3. It builds self worth in kids

Lets face it, when the kid is lifting weights, he only need to compare with who he was and how much has he progressed. Unlike in competitive team sports where the looser might get booed off court, the kid gets to growth at his own pace. Not to mention that as children goes through their adolescent phase, they often would have body image issue. And lets face it, 6 weeks of  strength training will not only help your kid improve his self worth, it will also help develop a life time healthy lifestyle habit compare to 6 weeks of counseling.

4. Improve posture

Lets face it, kids nowadays spent more of his time sitting playing console games or looking down thumbing at his smartphone. Which means that he probably has at least gluteal amnesia syndrome and shoulder impingement. And unless you fix it early, then the kid will be in for a world of ankle, knees and shoulder pain somewhere down the road. A good personal trainer would easily prescribe glute activation and upper back exercises ensuring little Timmy will be striding with strength and confidence in no time. So its not just about packing muscle.

I have never seen a teenager able to do proper front squat that has a bad posture.

5. Bring the sexes together

Lets face it, in most of the time when a child is participating in team sports, the girls are always separated from the boys. Heck in most high school and university football and basketball teams, the women are simply reduced to eye candy cheerleader or the women’s team are relegated to some forgotten corner of the basement. And what kind of value does this instill to your child that would one day compete on equal grounds with the opposite sex on the employment world? How about mutual respect in marriage?

Although boys tend to be stronger than girls on the upper body pound per pound, girls tend to mature faster, i.e. at certain age, some girls could be stronger than boys. In fact, for the lower body, there is no noticeable strength difference between boys and girls.

By having them train together at an early stage, you will be teaching the children about the importance of mutual respect among the sexes.

6. Instill the value of discipline

Lets face it, you know somebody back in the day that was simply gifted at soccer or basketball. And no matter how much you trained more than him, no matter how lazy he is, he was just good at that sport. The world is not fair.

But even the kid with the best genes still need to train regularly in order to develop his strength gains. And the least talented kid can still pack on 10 pounds of muscle with good training, healthy diet, and adequate rest. And this is the value you will want to instill to your children as they grow up.

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