With all the talk about overweight children, if I wanted my son who is a bit chubby to strength train, what are the guidelines I should follow? (Carol, Greenvale)
Yes, it is a good idea for boys and girls ten years old and up to strength train because it will give them self-confidence at school and with friends. Also, it will teach them good life-long health habits. However, safety precautions must be taken because children are physically, anatomically and mentally immature. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Trained personnel to supervise and instruct the session.
- Teach proper warm-up and lifting techniques.
- Do 1 to 2 sets of 8-10 different exercises (8-12 reps per set) including the major muscle groups.
- Use multi-joint exercises.
- Limit training to 2 times per week that means 2 to 3 days of rest in between sessions.
- Encourage other sports and activities. Strength training will actually help your child perform better
- Never exercise a child to complete fatigue.
- Keep resistance light enough to perform at least (8-10 reps). When the child becomes stronger, you can increase repetitions first and then resistance.
- Include a flexibility program.
- Good nutrition supervised by you will tie it all together. The key is to make fitness fun which will keep your child motivated.