Hello there CAMP’ers. I would like to address a question that gets asked to me almost daily. The question is “Is weight training safe for kids?” Of course someone in my position, a professional strength and conditioning specialist who earns his living by having kids come into my training facility, would say yes. My answer is yes, weight training is safe for kids. This answer of mine does not come to you without many stipulations and guidelines. It is an answer that keeps me studying my craft and continuing my education. I receive many publications every month on the topic of strength and conditioning and I take the reading of these materials very seriously.
Weight training is safe for kids only under the direct supervision of a professional. I do not mean that a kid should be given a set and repetition regime produced by someone who once was an all-american player for their j.v. jr. high school intramural team. I also do no mean that the guy at the gym with the barbwire tattoo who stands in front of the mirror during bicep curls. (just because I know how to change the oil in my car does not make me a master mechanic) I mean someone who has received accredited certifications in the field of weight and strength training monitoring every move. The supervised movements done while training with weights is significantly safer than what takes place on any field of play with any sport. In my long experience in the training room I have seen only two injuries that caused someone to not be able to play the next day. The number of injuries that I have seen on the field of play are countless.
An example is the young football player. They are taught to run and stop, to throw and catch, to avoid a tackle and to lay the big hit. We are very efficient at teaching these young players these skills. These young players bodies are not prepared to accept such forces, however; they go from sitting on the couch to running at another player full speed until they collide. There bodies are going to get hurt. Maybe not right now or next week, but they will have problems with knees and backs and shoulders. Statistically it is a certainty (something that keeps them out of practice) that they will sustain a significant injury in there pre-college career.
Here is some science for you. Weight training provides the body with something very important. Stress. This stress releases hormones, and those hormones allow the body to get stronger. Weight training will make not only muscles stronger but also bones. It will also make a person more balanced and allow them to have finer motor control. Muscles, when recruited correctly, make you faster. They also help you stop faster. Bones do not move themselves and the more muscle you have the more likely you are to move fast and stop fast.
If you start a supervised weight training program with a professional, you will be less likely to get injured and you will be faster and stronger. These are facts not just my opinion. It must be done right however and it must be supervised.Andrew Harestad Director of Methodology CAMP, Building Better Athletes