With all the talk about overweight children, if I wanted my child, a boy, to strength train, what are the guidelines to follow? (Carol, Greenvale)
Yes, it is a good idea for children to strength train. Safety precautions must be taken, however, because children are physically, anatomically and mentally immature. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Supervise and instruct children with trained personnel during sessions
- Teach proper warm-up and lifting techniques
- Do one to two sets of 8-10 different exercises (8-12 reps) including major muscle groups
- Perform multi-joint exercises
- Limit training to 2X per week (2 to 3 days rest in-between sessions)
- Encourage other sports and activities
- Do not exercise to complete fatigue!
- Keep resistance light enough to perform at least (8-10 reps). When the child gets stronger, increase reps first, then resistance
- Tie it all together with good nutrition.
By following these guidelines, children will have fun and reap the health benefits that will become lifelong habits.