There’s a lot of talk about kids and exercise – what’s safe, what’s healthy and most importantly, what will help to inspire a healthy lifestyle as they grow up. At Health Warrior Superfoods, we believe that kids and movement go hand-in-hand and that exercise should always be fun. Some kids love team sports, others like playing in the yard, and some can’t get enough of emulating their parents. This article is for those kids who want to be just like us – who want to go to the gym and workout just like their parents. We asked certified sports performance trainer Nathan Daniels, who trains many young athletes, all about weight lifting for kids.

Is weight lifting for kids safe?

The short answer is yes, weight lifting for kids is safe, as long as they are under the supervision of a knowledgeable adult. The goal of these strengthening activities should be to instill healthy habits and a knowledge of movement that will stay with them as they grow into healthy adults. 

What is the difference between strength training and lifting weights?

A great way for kids to get started strength training is with body weight movements, which can include exercises such as sit-ups, push ups, and chin ups. The goal of strength training for young people should be to increase muscle endurance and overall strength, which is an important part of building a solid foundation. 

While athletes gain a lot from strength training to improve athletic performance, all kids can benefit from strength training exercises because it sets a pattern for a healthy lifestyle of physical fitness they can apply to the rest of their life. If healthy exercise habits are learned as a 7, 8, or 9-year-old, kids are more likely to continue those positive behaviors into adulthood. 

Around what age can kids start lifting weights?

The recommended ages for kids to start lifting weights is typically around age 13. However, just as all kids develop differently, lifting weights should be evaluated on a case by case basis. Again, supervision by a knowledgeable adult or trainer is advised to ensure safe habits and proper form.

What type of strength training is safe for kids?

Body weight exercises using resistance bands and medicine balls are a great way for kids to get started. Once they have properly mastered those movements, they can start to integrate very light dumbbells with the goal of teaching proper form and movement paths. And, the absolute best way for kids to get started is to set a good example. Make time to work out together and be your child’s role model by exhibiting proper form & technique. 

What type of strength training is not safe for kids?

Kids should always focus on form and movement rather than heavy reps. Weight machines should also be avoided because the weights are often too heavy and machines have fixed paths designed for adult bodies.

In short, weight lifting for kids can be a fun and healthy activity when kids are well-supervised. If you need more tips, head to Nathan’s website or checkout some of our favorite activities to work up a sweat with the whole family!