Youth athletic programs, school sports, and recreational leagues are all great ways for kids to develop their skills, get exercise, and learn a myriad of life lessons. To excel as an athlete, it can help to include strength training in your exercise routine. But at what age is it healthy for kids to start strength training? The truth is there’s not a definite best age to start lifting weights or doing other strength exercises. It may be different for everyone. It also depends on the type of strength training you’re talking about. 

What is Strength Training? 

Strength training is a broad term for any type of exercise that is intended to increase strength. It can incorporate resistance exercises, bodyweight exercises, weight lifting, or any combination of these. What type of strength training you do and how heavy your weights are should depend on your current strength and your future goals. 

Basic Strength Training Can Begin Early

Experts say that basic strength building exercises can begin as early as 8 years of age. At this young age it is best to use body weight or light weights for strength building. Lifting of heavy weights at too young of an age can result in injury and may negatively impact growth and development of the muscular and skeletal system. Weight training affects both muscles and bones, as both are strengthened by the application of healthy amounts of weight. 

Some examples of exercises that are appropriate for elementary aged children include:

  • Pushups
  • Planks
  • Crab walking
  • Burpees
  • Situps 
  • Squat jumps
  • Stair step ups
  • Handstands/tripod 

These are just a few exercises that are designed to increase strength and are appropriate for kids of all ages. Exercises like these are not intended to build big muscles and will not bring those kinds of results, mainly because prepubescent children do not have the hormones necessary to bulk up. 

What is the Best Age to Start Lifting Weights?

If bulking up is your goal, you will get the best results if you start when you are well into puberty. This can happen at different ages for different people, but most teenagers will begin puberty somewhere between the ages of 11 and 14. It is typically earlier for girls and later for boys. It may be safe to start weight training as early as middle school, but most teenagers see the best results during their high school years. 

Be sure to follow suggested adolescent weight lifting guidelines to avoid injury. Start with lighter weights and gradually build up to heavier weights as you are able to do so. To get the best results you need to find the right balance between pushing yourself and trying to do too much. Overdoing it can result in injury. 

The Benefits of Working with a Trainer

One of the best ways to build strength safely is to work with a professional trainer. A trainer has the necessary education and knowledge to create a workout plan for you that will help you reach your goals and avoid injury. A trainer can also help you develop proper technique in your weight training exercises. Very small changes in the way you move or hold your body during an exercise can make a big difference in the way you work and build your muscles. Poor form during a particular exercise can increase the risk of injury. 

Get Professional Strength Training Assistance at Matawan Physical Therapy 

Matawan PT offers sports training for young athletes. Our programs are designed to target specific areas of the body and help you build muscle and gain strength. We can help you train for your sport and even your individual position within your chosen sport. If you play multiple sports we can also help you cross train to address multiple focuses at once. We also offer rehabilitation for injuries to help you make a faster recovery and get back in the game. 

Interested in our strength training programs? Call (732) 970-7894 today or contact us to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you achieve your strength and conditioning goals.