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Is Strength training safe for young kids?

Youth Strength Training

Youth Strength Training

 

Many parents are concerned about whether strength training is safe for young kids. They worry about injuries caused by strength training and think it should only begin after adolescence. A great deal of anxiety about this is down to misinformation.

There is no evidence to suggest an increased risk of injury when participating in strength training. In fact, the younger kids start the better! 

Evidence shows that kids who lift from age of 10 & 11 become incredible athletes. In our own facility, we have seen first-hand how, with approximately 5+ years of consistent training, many of our youth athletes outperform and move better than some of our professionals!

What are the benefits of strength training?

Strength training between the ages of 11-18 has been shown to have numerous benefits. These include improved athletic performance, increased bone density, reduced risk of injury, and improved cardiovascular health.

While it takes time for physical changes to appear, the immediate benefit is confidence and an improved mindset.  That said, you can expect to begin getting physically stronger after only 3-4 weeks, with physical changes starting to appear after a few months of consistent lifting.

We know from experience that stronger athletes are more resilient, which means fewer injuries and increased time on the field or court practicing their sporting skills.

I still think other sports are safer than weightlifting

Many parents think this, however, statistical evidence suggests popular sports like soccer, AFL, netball, and basketball have higher injury rates than weightlifting*: see below –

Injury rates per 1000 hours of participation in popular youth sports 

1. Soccer: 2.4 to 5.3 injuries 

2. AFL: 3.9 to 6.3 injuries 

3. Rugby: 2.6 to 10.8 injuries 

4. Golf: 0.16 to 0.38 injuries 

5. Netball: 7.9 to 14.9 injuries

6. Basketball: 2.4 to 4.5 injuries 

7. *Weightlifting: 0.003 to 0.7 injuries 

*This refers to weightlifting the sport, not resistance training, which would be safer

*Note that injury rates can vary depending on the age, gender, and skill level of the athletes, as well as other factors such as competition type, rules, and equipment used. Injury rates can be influenced by reporting methods and definitions used in different studies.

So strength training for young kids is completely safe?

There is always the risk of injury no matter what you do and strength training is no different. The risk goes up when things like improper technique, overloading of weights, and overtraining occur, which shouldnt happen in a professional facility with qualified staff. 

We do not recommend strength training without professional guidance e.g. at home or at a local gym, without proper program prescription, and without prior physical screening and testing.

When youth athletes get proper coaching and a well-designed training program, the benefits of strength training far outweigh the risks.

Click here to find out more about our Youth Athletic Development Program and how it can benefit your kids.

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