Is Strength and Conditioning Good For Children?
For some people the words Strength and Conditioning and Children shouldn’t even be in the same sentence. Comments such as “Kids shouldn’t lift weights” and “That’ll stunt their growth” are common if it is suggested that even the youngest children can benefit, both in the short and long terms, from S+C (Strength and Conditioning).
But let’s take a look at each of these terms.
1. The quality or state of being physically strong.
2. The capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure.
“Being physically strong and able to withstand great force or pressure”, whether it’s sports or life these both sound like they would be important.
Let’s remember also that both Strength and Conditioning (as with most things throughout children’s development) are relative. So “Being physically strong and able to withstand great force or pressure” for a baby might involve being strong enough to sit, hold their head up, crawl or stand and the great force or pressure would be their own bodies. In the same way, a 15 year old distance runner requires different strength and undergoes different forces to a 15 year old Rugby Union Player. It’s all relative to their age, body type, experience, goals, etc.
1. Have a significant influence on or determine (the manner or outcome of something).
2. Bring (something) into the desired state for use.
So in effect, conditioning is just about being ready. Are you ready to stand up for the first time or run 10km or make 30 tackles? What have you done to this point that allows your body to have influence over the outcome?
The other major point about Youth Strength and Conditioning (as it is with all things) is progression. In the same way that a child can’t run if they have never walked, nor should your child start by lifting weights when they haven’t mastered correct movement patterns and bodyweight exercises.
The final point I would like to make about Youth S+C and Sports is choosing the right coach for your child, but this will be the topic of my next blog.
So, is Strength and Conditioning good for children? Of course it is, just make sure that you are getting the right advice from a qualified and experienced coach.
Keep Moving :)