Lifting heavy things is safe for kids! There is a lot of misinformation circulating online, stating that lifting can stunt growth, and that it is unsafe for children. But when incorporated into a balanced exercise/sporting regime and performed with good consideration to load management - it is healthy, safe and beneficial for children. Below are some common questions relating to S&C training for children. 

So won’t they look like mini bodybuilders? 

Lifting has been proven to increase strength without causing hypertrophy (larger muscle mass/volume) in children. This is in major part due to physical adaptations that occur within the neuromuscular system - allowing increased force production and recruitment of available muscle tissue. 

What age is best to start? 

Lots of the recent literature looks at children aged 10+ so it is fitting for this information to be applied accordingly to children at 10 years of age, or older. It is, however, applicable to younger children.

Does it help their athletic/sporting performance? 

Yes! It increases the neuromuscular systems ability to produce force - more of it and more quickly! This can result in faster running, further throwing etc. 

My child is recovering from injury - should they still be doing S&C? 

YES! As long as it is tailored to that injury, and appropriately progressed as the injury heals/improves. In many circumstances injury can lead to reduction in neuromuscular efficiency and altered movement patterns. There is also fear of the injury to contend with. S+C will assist the child to overcome the injury appropriately, and help decrease the risk of recurrence of injury. 

Should they start straight away in a gym? 

Lifting weights is fairly foreign for most children. If done incorrectly (poor form, excessive weight, excessive volume etc) there is risk of injury.  It is best to seek the advice of trained health professionals prior to commencing a gym program.