According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of 15 should not engage in weight lifting, power lifting or bodybuilding.
Due to the fact that lifting weights builds body mass that, as we all know, is a great calorie burner and causes weight loss, it is not recommended for children. Teens 15 years and older can certainly engage in this type of training, however, they should be trained by professionals who know how to use weights and how to properly instruct others to use them as well.
Instead of lifting weights, children can certainly utilize strength training exercises which is just as valuable and which will not only keep them strong and healthy, but also strengthen their bones and keep their hearts healthy as they grow.
Studies have shown that any type of weight training for kids is not necessary, but that strengthening exercise can be just as effective. Exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, leg stretches and other exercises or physical activity that strengthen a child’s muscles will suffice. In fact, children achieve the same results on their own by participating in activities at a local park which include: climbing the monkey bars, jungle gyms, slides, swings and seesaws.
Let’s take a toddler, for example, who may try to pick up a container of juice out of the refrigerator, or carry dad’s briefcase – they are in constant motion and all the time using their strength to pick up just about anything. This is as far as lifting weights can go, right?
Although children sometimes do not realize their own strength, the very fact that they are children and engage in all types of activities ensures they are strengthening their bodies every day. Moreover, if at some point in time they want to begin weight training as teens, then they can seek a professional to train them properly.
Until then, let children be children and try as they might, forego any serious weight lifting exercise until they are physically and mentally ready for the challenge.