Should Children Strength Train ?
The picture above is of my awesome children, Sapphire and Cohen with my old training partner Blue. I say my old training partner because Blue is pushing 12 years old now. So in sheepdog terms he is an OAP ! When he was a young lad Blue used to come running in the hills with all my young rugby players. He is famous in North Wales for rounding up the last player in the group !
As I dad you might guess I’m keen for my children to take part in sport. Both Sapphire and Cohen have been swimming since they were 6 weeks old. Sapphire is about to start gymnastics and Cohen loves football already ! The picture below is the first time they both came to the gym with me.
Now, don’t worry they weren’t squatting 200kg or deadlifting three times their body weight for a single rep ! But they were having fun. Simple things like picking up medicine balls, lying on foam rollers, jumping over hurdles and playing with tennis ball while eating crackers was the order of the day. Check out video below to see Sapphire in action.
Now, the reason why I tell you this is because my children have been strength training. Every time they pick up a medicine ball its strength training. They are using external load. Guess what, as I was training in the gym Sapphire started to copy me. She smashed out three press ups, strength training again ! So my point is this, children SHOULD strength train. They should even do plyometrics. Sport does not care about a child’s physical ability. You wouldn’t have a second thought about letting your child run around would you. Bet you would activity encourage them to. The forces involved in running are massive ! Take a look at these picture below. Can you guess what happens next ?
Thats right, you got it, she jumped !
This is a plyometric depth drop. Sound scary yeah. But kids run, jump, throw, squat, lunge, push, pull and twist all the time as part of play or sport. All we do when they come to train with us is coach them how to do these things safely ! So I guess now is a good time to give you some supporting evidence that this is all safe and effective for children. Below are a number of links for further reading on the subject area:
~ UK Strength and Conditioning Associations Positional Stand on Youth Resistance Training (UKSCA)
~ USA Strength and Conditioning Associations Positional Stand on Youth Resistance Training (NSCA)
~ British Weightlifting Position Statement on Youth Weightlifting (BWLA)