Have you ever seen a chubby little cherub of a toddler stumbling around trying to master the subtle art of walking? It’s fucking adorable 🙂
They’re all squishy and cute and clumsily falling flat on their bouncy little asses as they work obsessively to establish some sort of rapport with their short, fat, little legs.
The issue is that if left unchecked, the chunkly little bundles of hilarity quickly grow into big fat slobs with little to no control over their appetite, and believe you me, that does NO ONE any good.
The other issue, and God only knows why this is, is that WAYYYYYYY too many parents erroneously believe that strength training will leave their children looking like Tyrion Lannister.
Yea, no. It doesn’t work that way.
I don’t care about whatever kind of pseudoscientific bursts of donkey gonorrhea you’ve been led to believe, weightlifting, when done safely, WILL NOT fuse and/or crack the growth plates in your kids’ bones. There is ZERO scientific evidence that lends any manner of credence to the notion that training with weights stunts the physical growth of children.
Read that again. I’ll wait.
So in the spirit of myth busting, let’s set the record straight and talk a little bit about why your kids SHOULD be training:
1. Ingraining good habits early on by exposing them to healthy eating habits and moderately strenuous exercise regimens will set them up for a life defined by daring and vivacity; being strong and athletic will allow them to build both trust in their physical abilities as well as the confidence needed to try new things.
2. Training from a young age allows children to develop coordination, balance, and kinesthetic control, which in turn unlocks in them the athletic foundation needed to acquire baseline levels of proficiency in activities such as dance, watersports, and rock climbing with relative swiftness and ease.
3. Physical training also helps children build both robustness of body and resilience of mind: simply put, as their bodies and minds learn to handle increasingly heavier levels of stress, resistance to injury and mental fortitude begin to become firmly established in the young athlete.
Now, before stupid motherfuckers try putting words in my mouth, let’s get one thing clear right off the bat: I’M NOT SAYING THAT KIDS SHOULD ALL START TRAINING WITH GIANT ASS WEIGHTS ALL THE GODDAMN TIME.
This ain’t Westside Barbells for fuck’s sake.
What I AM saying is that most kids would GREATLY benefit from some moderately challenging strength training in order to have a fighting chance at you know, not developing into fat, useless, unathletic adults with little in the way of ambition and self-esteem.
That said, IF your kids decide that they want to commit to a structured resistance program in the vein of powerlifting, bodybuilding, strongman, or olympic weightlifting, where the aim is purely to push training performance, it would be a good idea to wait until they have hit the later stages puberty, i.e. that awkward ass phase when their bodies begin to take the shape of adulthood; this is because their hormonal profiles may not yet be developed enough to truly benefit from intense weight training cycles.
This can be a tricky proposition because some kids develop earlier than others; I, for instance, legit had a full-on beard by the time I was 12 so yea, I probably could have gotten pretty jacked way back in the 7th grade.
That said, a little resistance training built into the context of a balanced and dynamic training program is a safe and effective way to increase strength whilst simultaneously increasing caloric expenditure.
Just make sure to keep the training sessions dynamic and fun by focusing the bulk of the exercise on bodyweight work and gymnastics, and don’t be afraid of throwing in some conditioning work with tools such as battle ropes, sleds, prowlers, hurdles, tires, and agility ladders.
Make sure to share this with your friends and family if you found this article useful 😀 Let’s get our little ones healthy and strong <3