How Young Is Old Enough

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Another common question that comes up is how old should you be before you start resistance training. People want to know how old their child should be before they allow them to perform any sort of strength/resistance training. It is believed that if the child is too young they will do damage to their growth plates, they will not be able to grow to their full height, or they will do damage to their muscle or tendons. There is some truth to this, but that is the extreme. The correct response is children are old enough to resistance train when they are emotionally ready to do so. This can be as early an age 7- 8 or as late as 11-12 years old. It really depends on the child if they are emotionally ready to understand what they are doing and take it seriously. In an instance when certain resistance training exercises are not done seriously, yes the child can get hurt (just like anyone else).  But when the child is ready they can start resistance training with light weights. Just like anyone else they should start light, and increase the weight as they go along. They do not technically have to “lift weights” at all to take part in resistance training. There are several exercises that can be done to increase your strength with just using your body weight alone.  As long as the child is properly supervised and has proper instruction it is actually very good for them to perform resistance training exercises. It is beneficial for their muscles, the strength of their bones, and their overall health to resistance train. Obviously if you have an eight year old boy and put 200 pounds on his back and want him to perform squats, yes there is a very good chance he will hurt himself. There is  a good chance he can pull a muscle or damage his growth plates. But if he were to perform goblet squats, with a 10-15 lbs weight, it is nothing but good for him. If you think about it gymnasts perform several exercises, that can be considered strength training, at as young as 5 years old. These children have proper supervision and are guided in the right direction. As long as these parameters are in place, this sort of exercise is great and should be endorsed.  Not only do they get the physiological benefits from this type of exercise, it creates the habit of working out at a very young age. The earlier this habit can be created the child will be less likely to suffer from obesity at any age, and could avoid a lifetime of metabolic ailments. Once again if the child is emotionally ready to begin resistance training, it would be in their best interest to get started, no matter what age. If you have any questions or comments on the issue please comment below.

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