Weight training for kids?

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Weight training for kids?

Postby Gammmmo » November 29th, 2017, 5:36 pm

Vaguely remember a thread along these lines a while back but here goes...my OH has a 12 year old boy who is struggling to really engage with much beyond video games and his phone (as many kids seem to now). I was thinking of trying him with a little weight training (he has seen both me and his mum use the erg and has had a few cursory goes at it but I don't think it is for him) now that I'm doing a fair amount of it and have some of my own equipment. I think this might appeal (unfortunately on the grounds of aesthetics mainly - kids today seem to be FAR more conscious of how they look then they ever were when I was younger) and just wondered whether it was safe for a boy of his age and the best way to go about it TBH I doubt it'll spark anything in him but would just like to try....cheers.
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Re: Weight training for kids?

Postby jamesg » November 30th, 2017, 4:31 am

I think team games might be a better choice at that age. My grandsons play rugby, and despite their being all shapes and sizes, there's a role for them all.

Maybe it's just nostalgia for hot school showers: I still remember the long grass on frosty Saturday mornings. Rowing gives the same effects too, under a clear sky when ice forms on the blades, the boat sings and we're chased by swans.
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Re: Weight training for kids?

Postby bisqeet » November 30th, 2017, 10:48 am

Bit of background from me:
I qualified as a licenced athletics coach back in 1990. I worked for some local clubs; it was a good way of keeping fit and earning a little pocketmoney as I went back to Uni.
In order to keep the licence, you have to do a minimum of 20 hrs of seminars, so I got to go (and still do) to a lot of lectures.

I remember back then that weight training was definetly not advised by the west germans (the east however still did practice it - and other methods aswell..)

a few years back this was all revised.
if you think about it - every excersize involved some sort of resistance or weight (pressups, jumping) so obviously training with weights was nothing more than this.


the biggest problem i have now is that the kids of today have no motoric... ask them to throw a ball and they are screwed. run 20meters and keep within a 1m lane... no chance.
walk barefooted along a rope...nope... balance on one leg ... no chance..
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Re: Weight training for kids?

Postby mdpfirrman » November 30th, 2017, 10:58 am

Though I seem too young to have grandkids this old, my wife is 3 1/2 years older than me and had a son at 20 from her first marriage. I have a 9 year old (step) Grandson that has that same issue. There are some amazing laser tag games out there now, some that use cell phones too. I got him one for Christmas on sale for cyber week that was $200 for around $70. No vest needed.

They have that one that interacts with cell phones that isn't cheap but really, really cool. You can do things like virtual landmines, it has "mortar", machine gun setting, etc. It's kind of like the video games out there now but gets them out of the house and engaged.

I had pushup contests with my son when he was young. He was a soccer (football) player and later a wrestler too but I wouldn't let him lift until he was around 14 or so.
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Re: Weight training for kids?

Postby kini62 » November 30th, 2017, 6:55 pm

Don't think it's too young for light to moderate work. A lot of youth sports do non sport specific training. That said, some type of sports would be better. Both my kids swim. Not a team sport but in the club setting it's like a team.
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Re: Weight training for kids?

Postby Gammmmo » December 1st, 2017, 9:38 am

jamesg wrote:I think team games might be a better choice at that age. My grandsons play rugby, and despite their being all shapes and sizes, there's a role for them all.


When I was that age I disliked team games and have always preferred racquet or endurance sports. He is probably a bit more inclined to hang out with friends than I was, but he has tried rugby and not liked it. He prefers football but is also a little constrained by when his mother is able to to take him to/from such activities. He does ride a bike but it's purely for transport; not sure whether he could get to/from football on that. Unfortunately he is the kind of kid who, unless he's very good almost straight away at a sport, won't really persevere. He's also VERY stubborn.

mdpfirrman wrote:I had pushup contests with my son when he was young. He was a soccer (football) player and later a wrestler too but I wouldn't let him lift until he was around 14 or so.

Thanks Mike. He's actually hyper-mobile with some of his joints and tends to break bones more easily than most kids. I also know for a fact he can't do a single pushup.

kini62 wrote:Don't think it's too young for light to moderate work. A lot of youth sports do non sport specific training. That said, some type of sports would be better. Both my kids swim. Not a team sport but in the club setting it's like a team.

Hope so. He already has some little dumbells apparently...suspect like I say this is because he's aware of how he wants to look already. I may tentatively try some weights. His mother thinks it'll be worth a try...
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Re: Weight training for kids?

Postby left coaster » December 2nd, 2017, 2:03 pm

Free weights at that age make me uneasy. Reps kept to 10 or more, probably 12 or more if it was my child, possibly. Starting to weight train at 12 and then hanging with his boys at the local gym by 15 and starting to do max reps (like I did) may be problematic. I have bone spurs in my elbows and lower back that I think could have been avoided had I not been so balls out with the heavy weights at a young age. My joint problems may have been caused by construction work I did in the summers at that age as well though, so I can't be 100% sure. I think the combination was just too much.

Team sports (non-concussive types) , racket sports, martial arts, skiing, plyometrics, body weight exercises are all things I think kids could/should be doing though. It's mainly about finding something he enjoys. I agree with previous posts re the importance of training the motoric system at a young age. I haven't seen any studies on it, but I do wonder if there is a 'critical' period in child development where these neurological pathways need to be developed.
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Re: Weight training for kids?

Postby Shawn Baker » December 2nd, 2017, 3:30 pm

Children that participate in strength training as pre-adolescents obtain a greater ultimate level of athletic performance- it needs to be well structured and supervised- my kids started around 5-6 years of age
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Re: Weight training for kids?

Postby JerekKruger » December 4th, 2017, 3:22 pm

I'd tend to suggest starting with simple body weight exercises. If he can't currently do push-ups then start him off with an easier variant (push ups from knees or push ups with elevated hand position) and build up the number he can do before progressing and repeating. Similarly for pull-ups: start with some sort of inverted row and slowly work towards negatives and then full pull-ups. He should be able to do body weight squats already so doing those and building up volume rounds out a fairly rudimentary full body routine. If he takes to this simply search only for other more exotic body weight exercises. Then, down the line you could introduce weights.
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Re: Weight training for kids?

Postby Ombrax » December 4th, 2017, 9:03 pm

How about TRX (suspension training) for kids?

Apparently it works for them too: https://www.trxtraining.com/train/trx-training-for-youth-part-1

Edit: If your son needs some incentive you can tell him that if he keeps doing TRX he might end up with the physique of a Black Ops guy (bottom image - tats cost extra)

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Re: Weight training for kids?

Postby lwtguy » December 5th, 2017, 5:02 pm

Just a thought, but have you considered trying OTW rowing? He's at that age when most people get into it, and being in the UK there are plenty of clubs to choose from. Even if he hates it, after the first few months he will start to bulk up a bit naturally which would be a good place to start.

I feel like this would be a good suggestion since you all have a common interest in rowing. It'll keep him healthy and the proper coaches should be able to prevent him from doing any harm to himself (ie stupid lifting routines, bad form, etc.).

Obviously I'm not sure where you're located and I don't know much about the geography so it may not be practical.
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Re: Weight training for kids?

Postby Gammmmo » December 6th, 2017, 3:57 pm

lwtguy wrote:Just a thought, but have you considered trying OTW rowing? He's at that age when most people get into it, and being in the UK there are plenty of clubs to choose from. Even if he hates it, after the first few months he will start to bulk up a bit naturally which would be a good place to start.

I feel like this would be a good suggestion since you all have a common interest in rowing. It'll keep him healthy and the proper coaches should be able to prevent him from doing any harm to himself (ie stupid lifting routines, bad form, etc.).

Obviously I'm not sure where you're located and I don't know much about the geography so it may not be practical.

Thanks Bill, we're in the UK and OTW is possible in theory but I strongly suspect it's more the vanity aspect he's drawn too and like I say if he isn't immediately good at something he shies away...his mother tried to get him interested in scouts (not sure if you have that in America) and he wouldn't even get out the car to see what it was all about! Sorry to be negative but it's tricky...
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Re: Weight training for kids?

Postby lwtguy » December 7th, 2017, 10:37 am

Gammmmo wrote:
lwtguy wrote:Just a thought, but have you considered trying OTW rowing? He's at that age when most people get into it, and being in the UK there are plenty of clubs to choose from. Even if he hates it, after the first few months he will start to bulk up a bit naturally which would be a good place to start.

I feel like this would be a good suggestion since you all have a common interest in rowing. It'll keep him healthy and the proper coaches should be able to prevent him from doing any harm to himself (ie stupid lifting routines, bad form, etc.).

Obviously I'm not sure where you're located and I don't know much about the geography so it may not be practical.

Thanks Bill, we're in the UK and OTW is possible in theory but I strongly suspect it's more the vanity aspect he's drawn too and like I say if he isn't immediately good at something he shies away...his mother tried to get him interested in scouts (not sure if you have that in America) and he wouldn't even get out the car to see what it was all about! Sorry to be negative but it's tricky...


I did Scouts and I rowed. I wouldn't recommend both at the same time!

A good competitive junior team will certainly get him in shape, especially if it's a vanity thing. One of my first days of rowing as a novice we went to the erg room where the varsity team was finishing a practice and I remember thinking "All these guys are ripped and have a six pack. I can be like that!" It hasn't happened yet, but I suspect that's because of my love of junk food.

If it's an issue with him not being willing to fail I'm afraid I can't be much help. I always believed that while it's important to win, learning how to lose and handle loss is vastly more important. But it's tough to get a 12 year old kid to think that way.
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6K 21:11.2-- 30' 8342m-- 10K 35:54-- 60' 16209m
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Re: Weight training for kids?

Postby Gammmmo » December 7th, 2017, 4:43 pm

JerekKruger wrote:I'd tend to suggest starting with simple body weight exercises. If he can't currently do push-ups then start him off with an easier variant (push ups from knees or push ups with elevated hand position) and build up the number he can do before progressing and repeating. Similarly for pull-ups: start with some sort of inverted row and slowly work towards negatives and then full pull-ups. He should be able to do body weight squats already so doing those and building up volume rounds out a fairly rudimentary full body routine. If he takes to this simply search only for other more exotic body weight exercises. Then, down the line you could introduce weights.


Think this is the way to go. He already has some little light dumbells so maybe I could incorporate those as well for bicep curls, triceps extensions, shoulder press, incline press etc to go with some bodyweight stuff. Long term I myself have dumbell and barbell bars, plenty of weights, a multiple incline bench, stability ball etc. Slightly paranoid about injury potential not least because he's hypermobile in his joints. I'll have to impress upon him things need to be increased (weight/reps etc) very slowly. I think it's imperative he gets involved with something physical that genuinely captures his atention as it'll help him use up some of his energy and keep him out of at least some mischief. Thanks all...
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