When most parents consider sports and activities, weight training does not feature prominently. IN SOME CIRCLES IT’S EVEN TABOO OR SUPPOSEDLY BAD FOR CHILDREN!
But with current evidence based research it has become more and more indicated to enhance sports performance for age groups ranging from as young as 10 years of age.
So what is safe? How much? How often? Who with?
The benefits – Studies have shown:
- Increase in strength
- Decrease in body fat
- Increase resistance to injury
- Increased endurance, balance and coordination
- Enhances psychosocial well being
What is safe?
- The biggest risk factor is untrained supervision
- You need someone who is qualified, has extensive experience with children of the same age and has a structured programme (you can have this checked by PHYSIO4ALL)
- The use of free weights may be potentially dangerous and we advise the use of machine weights as they provide more support.
Safe programmes have been conducted for children approx. 10 years and above, closer attention needs to be paid during and immediately following growth spurts
How much and how often?
- Training should start at 15-20reps and 3sets, 1-2 times a week
- This can progress to 5-15reps and 3-4sets, up to 4 times a week (alternate days)
- Increasing the load and volume (sets/reps) should be done no faster than 10% per week
- One of the biggest considerations is the number of sessions per week. It is not uncommon for a gifted young athlete to play with school, club, regional and state teams. Add training for each and this can mean more than 8 sessions for the 1 sport. Add more sports and children can be training more than Olympians!
If you are considering a resistance training programme for your children please contact PHYSIO4ALL for friendly advice and tips on 9922 2212.