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Should Children lift Weights? Here's the facts on youth resistance training.

The topic of children and weightlifting has been a subject of debate and consideration. While there are numerous

benefits to strength training for children, it's important to approach it with caution and ensure proper guidelines are followed. Here are some key factors to consider when it comes to children and weightlifting:

  1. Age and Development: Children's bodies are still growing and developing, particularly their bones, muscles, and connective tissues. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that strength training exercises with external weights should generally be avoided before the age of 7 or until the child has reached a certain level of maturity and coordination. Before this age, children can focus on age-appropriate activities like running, jumping, climbing, and participating in sports that promote overall fitness and strength.

  2. Supervision and Proper Technique: If children are introduced to weightlifting, it is crucial to have proper supervision from a qualified and experienced professional, such as a certified strength and conditioning specialist or a qualified youth fitness trainer. These professionals can guide children through age-appropriate exercises, teach them correct form and technique, and ensure their safety throughout the training process. It is vital to avoid heavy weights, excessive repetitions, or exercises that put too much stress on developing joints and bones.

  3. Focus on Technique and Bodyweight Exercises: Instead of heavy weightlifting, children can benefit from focusing on proper technique, bodyweight exercises, and functional movements. These activities help develop strength, coordination, balance, and flexibility. Examples of suitable exercises include bodyweight squats, lunges, push-ups, planks, and jumping exercises. These exercises can be modified to match the child's abilities and gradually progress as they improve.

  4. Overall Fitness and Sport Participation: For children, the emphasis should primarily be on overall fitness and participation in a variety of sports and activities. Engaging in activities like swimming, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, or martial arts can promote strength, endurance, coordination, and teamwork. These activities also provide opportunities for children to develop a love for physical activity, improve their motor skills, and foster social interactions.

  5. Individual Considerations: Each child is unique, and it's essential to consider their individual needs, abilities, and interests. Some children may have specific medical conditions, physical limitations, or growth concerns that require additional caution and consultation with healthcare professionals before engaging in weightlifting or intense strength training exercises.

  6. Focus on Safety and Enjoyment: Safety should always be the top priority when it comes to children and exercise. Ensure the training environment is safe, with appropriate equipment and proper supervision. Additionally, it's crucial to prioritize fun and enjoyment to encourage children to maintain an active lifestyle. Children should never feel pressured or forced into weightlifting or any exercise they don't enjoy.

Conclusion: While weightlifting can have potential benefits for children, it should be approached with caution and under proper supervision. Focus on age-appropriate activities, emphasize proper technique, and prioritize overall fitness and sports participation. Consulting with qualified professionals, such as trainers or healthcare providers, can provide personalized guidance based on the child's individual needs and circumstances. Ultimately, the primary goal should be to promote a healthy, active lifestyle and ensure the child's well-being and enjoyment of physical activity.

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