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Thursday, May 23, 2013
Exercise and Fitness
Weight lifting for a 9 year old?
How much weight is proper for my 9 year old who is anxious about lifting weights? What exercises can he participate in?
According to the most recent American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription: "Previously it was assumed that muscular strength could not be improved with resistance training in prepubertal subjects because of their lack of circulating testosterone. However, a series of recent studies has indicated clearly that strength can be effectively increased with training in both boys and girls before the age of puberty. In fact, the relative magnitude of these increases in strength has been similar to that observed in training programs in adult subjects. Moreover, these reports indicate the age-appropriate, supervised resistance training programs can be conducted safely in children. Most studies have demonstrated that improvements in strength from resistance training in children are not accompanied by increases in muscle bulk."
"The role of resistance training in young subjects remains to be clarified. Whether strength improvements in children and adolescents can serve to protect against athletic injury, improve performance in strength-related sports, or have a long-term salutary influence on infirmities such as back disease and osteoporosis currently is being studied."
Guidelines for resistance training in children are similar to those for adults; however, here a few specific guidelines:
- Resistance training should be carefully supervised by a competent instructor.
- Avoid overly intense or maximal 1 Rep Max resistance training. Gradual progression is important to avoid excessively demanding programs, which may discourage young subjects.
- Training equipment should be varied and appropriate to the size, strength, and degree of maturity of the child.
- Training should be a comprehensive program to increase motor skill and fitness level.
- The child should perform 8 - 15 repetitions per exercise. Resistance or weight should be increased only when the child can perform the desired number of repetitions with good form.
- Focus on participation and proper technique rather than the amount of resistance.
- If a prepubescent child cannot perform a minimum of eight repetitions in good form, the resistance is too heavy and should be reduced.
When designing strength training programs for children it is important to remember that children are anatomically, physiologically, and psychologically immature. Therefore, a young child should not be expected to comprehend the intricacies of muscle actions. There are no standard weights/exercises for nine year olds. Just be sure that the person supervising your son is well qualified. I hope this answers your question.
Best of health to you and your family.
Fitness Center at CARE\Crawley
University of Cincinnati