Young Kids Working Out: “I Don’t Want My Child Lifting Weights!”
Let’s set the scenario as usual:
Dad calls in (not mom because dad is a very experienced and knowledgeable high school hero). “I would like to bring my son/daughter in to try out your program.”
“Great what/why would you like to bring them in?”
Parent, “I want them to start working on some speed and agility, but I DO NOT want them lifting weights.”
This is usually followed by a solid ten minutes of either how awesome and advanced their child is or the total opposite, about how slow and left behind their child is.
Regardless, our next response is a pitch about how with our youth athletes we teach the basic fundamentals of athleticism: running, jumping, cutting, landing, squatting, pushing, pulling, etc.
The question about lifting weights is then usually brought up again.
Our next response is usually phrased, “Are you okay with your child doing a push up, pull up or squat?”
“Okay, but if I give your child 10lb dumbbells to press while laying flat on their back, they are now actually pressing less than if they were doing a push up. Are you okay with that?”
“Uhhhhhh. I guess???”
“And once we teach them to squat perfectly, we may ask them to hold a pvc pipe above their head, but that weighs 1-2 pounds. Are you okay with that?”
“Uhhhh, yeah I guess.”
My point is this, we will work on making basic movements perfect and more importantly with young kids, we will make it fun and enjoyable. Secondly, it is okay to add resistance, an unstable environment, or any other outside variable that may add a level of difficulty, and the big word PROGRESSION.
LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN:
MOST IMPORTANTLY, WITH ANYTHING, IT NEEDS TO BE PROGRESSIVE.
With young kids we are not working towards max strength, but more so assisting in developing or redeveloping perfect movement patterns.
Is it crazy to send kids to our Learning To Train Program (8-12 yrs old)? Yes and No.
There are so many great benefits for kids to train at a young age. It is fun. It is developmental. It is educational. Most children’s physical activity opportunities are becoming less and less. If a kid loves sports, but is just really struggling to keep up, this may be a good opportunity.
Why, no? Here’s a quick example: Our LTT group was learning how to turn and sprint. There is one particular dad who stares through the viewing window every minute, every session. After this session, he took his child in the parking lot, and was trying to continue the session in the parking lot. As I was on my way out for the day, I stopped and watched the dad re-teaching everything wrong. Give it a rest. The kid is 9. He had a blast in the session. Get in the car and talk about something else.
An argument for another day would be about kids specializing in a sport at an early age. Regardless, with physical activity at all time lows in school and at home, seeking out a fitness program can only benefit your child.
Many of our clients, whose kids workout with us, are on family plans because the parents feel it’s more about their family dynamic of fitness and life-long habits.
Let me conclude this with a bit of a disclaimer:
YOUNG CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE LIFTING HEAVY WEIGHTS.
There are too many other challenging variables to PROGRESSIVELY add.
I read an article years ago that addressed injuries to youth athletes while lifting weights and the majority came from unsupervised kids dropping weights on themselves or other accidental incidents.
As always, all comments are welcomed.
Brilliant. Love the comment about the Dad in the car park. I spend most of my time trying to unteach parents teachings….
A very good article, as a coach or teacher we seem to be educating parents that the lesson finishes at the pool not carry on all the way home.
Nice short article Will! Great examples and simple to repeat. I plan on getting my 6 yr old daughter into a program over the summer.
Pretty funny – and I have seen this personally. I have also read many statistical reports and weight training/lifting always have the lowest numbers of injuries.
Also since I mainly train soccer players and sprinters I note that the force created in a jump turn/cut is far in excess of what any lifter handles in a weight room, including me and I was an elite lifter.
Teaching kids how to swim, the kids with the hover parents end up being the most difficult to teach.