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Should Kids Lift Weights?

INSIGHTS

SHOULD KIDS LIFT WEIGHTS?

August 27, 2019

by Will Hitzelberger

Intro

We have contracts with several school and club organizations that typically include kids aged 12-18 years old. Most of the time the 8th/9th grader is being introduced to the “weightroom.”

With that is always the concerned parents.

Every year we are presented with the same questions from either players, parents, or coaches.

We know that if one person asks the question, others are thinking it. So, one of ours goal is to provide answers to commonly ask questions specifically centered around the school and club environment.

Is It SAFE/APPROPRIATE for Kids to Lift Weights?

We get asked this question all the time, so let me ask this question back…

“Are you okay with your child doing a push up or pull up, maybe a sit up, or a bear crawl, or even a jump?” I am yet to have a parent say NO to these.

Let’s stick with the push up and pull up for now. You said it’s ok for your child to do a push up or pull up, but you do not want them lifting weights.

Did you know that when you do a push up you are pushing approximately 65% of your body weight? Play that out with an easy example of a 100 pound kid. That would be the equivalent of putting 30 pounds in each hand and having them do a dumbbell bench press. Probably not where we would start. A pull up requires 100% of the body to be pulled up and lowered…for many that is far more than they are even close to capable of doing!

So there are two major reason we use resistance/weights…

1. If I give them 10 or 15 pound dumbbells to press, or a band or dumbbells to do a row or pull down with, it is less and sometimes more appropriate that asking someone to push 65% of their body weight.

2. Before I give reason two, let me intro the demands of running, jumping and cutting:

These young athletes are already running and jumping all day. We should be fine with that, but it doesn’t mean they use great form, technique, etc. when they move. If someone jumps up, they are landing back on the ground with much greater forces than just their body weight. The same is true when we run. When you are sprinting down the line to defend someone, then they cut the ball back, you have to slow down (decelerate), then move the other way. These actions are typically more work than just your body weight. So why do more than just squat until their legs get tired with body weight? Well, they have to deal with forces greater than just their body weight.

We want to be clear…our goal is not to make WEIGHTLIFTERS.

We want to prepare these athletes for the demands of sport. We want to teach good technique and ensure that we are building strength appropriately. Sometimes the most appropriate step is a light dumbbell, because it will be easier than their body weight. Other times, it is adding resistance (a band, a pvc pipe, a dumbbell) to build strength levels to optimize that performance and improve technique of movement.

* All of this said, we do use resistance when appropriate. We do require good form before any level of resistance is added. Stay tuned to gain more insight to how we train these amazing athletes, and the science behind it.

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