Many parents are still wary of weight training for kids at any age because of the myths that were started decades ago claiming that weight lifting could potentially cause growth plate and joint injuries. It was even once believed that weight training could stunt a child’s growth.
We now know that there are many benefits of weightlifting for kids. Kids can start weight training as soon as they are old enough to listen to direction and execute proper form. If they are ready to participate in organized sports, they are ready to lift weights.
Teens (particularly those who are around 16 and up) have already physically developed and can start to take their weight training to the next level. However, some teens may still need guidance because while many of them may be physically developed, they are not yet mentally and emotionally mature. Some teens may have unrealistic weightlifting goals and expect to achieve results that mirror those that they see from celebrities or their star athlete idols.
But if your teen has expressed that they would like to start weightlifting or taking their existing strength training practices to the next level, make sure they are closely monitored by a trained professional. It is preferable that they do their weight training in a facility that is fully-equipped with all the safety measures in place.
Weight Training Do’s
Fitness specialists, physical therapists, gym trainer, or athletic trainer can teach your teen proper form.
Determine the appropriate weight to lift
The weight will vary from person to person, and it will depend on existing strength or experience. To begin, your teen should start with a weight that the can lift comfortably for a single set of 12 repetitions. If they struggle to lift the weight properly or tire quickly, then they are lifting too heavy. As your teen gets stronger, they can gradually increase the amount of weight.
Use proper form
The better the form, the better the result. Poor form could result in injuries. If they are unable to maintain proper form throughout their sets, then it is a sure sign that they need to decrease the weight or number of repetitions.If they are unsure of proper form, have an experienced lifter or trainer show them.
Don’t forget to breathe. The best breathing technique is to exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower the weight.
Weight training Don’ts
Many teens make the mistake of watching their friends or others in the gym. If those people are performing the incorrect technique or poor form, then your teen could potentially injure themselves.
Don’t skip warm-ups
Teens often forget this or ignore it entirely, but they should be reminded that cold muscles are more prone to injury. Warm-ups only take five to ten minutes and can be any aerobic activity.
Don’t be in a hurry to complete reps. Not only could they injure themselves but they won’t see results. When they take it slow, they’ll be able to isolate the muscles they are working on. They may assume that getting it done quicker means they will see results faster.
Don’t ignore pain
If any point, the exercises are causing pain; they should stop immediately. Teens should develop a routine and always remember to check their technique. Incorrect weight training techniques can result in sprains, fractures, strains, and other painful injuries.