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When should my child start weights?
2nd Mar

2018

Dumbbells on rack

 

When should my child start weights? This is a very common question for alot of parents. The answer, in short, is any age! However, there are some guidelines around this though. I do not mean that 6 year old’s should be starting s structured training program. They should be participating in fun, engaging and physical playtime activities that help build their general motor skills and basic movement strength levels.

Stage 1:

In terms of starting proper weight training, particularly for sports, around the age of 14 would be old enough to start a structured resistance program. Again, this does not mean they are completing exercises to turn them into body builders. Basic, whole-body, predominately body weight exercises will help build soft-tissue strength and develop a base level that they can build on in later years. These include squats, step-ups push-ups, pull ups, glute bridges, balance exercises, planks and side bridges to name a few.

Stage 2:

Once they have reached a certain level of strength and maintained a consistent strength program, then they can commence general loaded exercises such as bench presses, squats, lunges, presses and rows. These exercises do not have to be sport specific or high-end complexity. They develop the next step in the foundation of their overall physical development.

Stage 3:

Once they have completed a series of basic strength and movement programs, developed a solid base, core strength and joint mobility, they can complete more sport specific and strength based exercises. They can also then start to focus on a training goal such as maximal strength, power, hypertrophy or fat loss. This should be in-built within a general, whole body movement plan.

The Process:

If your child starts training at 14, they should stay at stage 1 for 1-2 years, stage 2 for 1-2 years, and then move to stage 3. At this point, they may get coached through an academy or top-level sports program. This is where they can begin to train to win competitions and be competitive at major championships.

How quickly your child moves through each stage will depend on how consistent they are through each stage, their commitment and drive to develop as a well-rounded athlete. It is important they stay patient, do not look for shortcuts, and do not copy what they see every other joker at the gym or on T.V. doing. Remaining focused on their end goal will help motivate them if the road seems too long. 

 

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