We love it when we see entire families come in together and enjoy everything our fitness centers in South Jersey have to offer. It’s certainly never too early for parents to start promoting a healthy lifestyle for their children. However, if you’re an active adult with little ones at home, you might be wondering when it’s OK to make the transition from running around in the yard as your kids’ main form of exercise to a more structured workout routine.  

Should kids be lifting weights?

Experts say that active playtime is sufficient exercise for kids under the age of 7. After that point, though, kids can start reaping the benefits of strength training, whether or not they plan to play competitive sports. 

That said, it’s important to make the distinction between “strength training” and “weightlifting.” The goal is not to build big, bulging, bulky muscles on a small frame that’s still growing, but rather to promote body control and healthy movement patterns that a child can carry with them throughout their life.

We highlighted a few of the key benefits of strength training for kids in this slideshow video.

If your child does have athletic aspirations, strength training is a great way to boost their performance and help them to avoid injury. Again, strength training doesn’t mean powerlifting or bodybuilding. In fact, all a child needs to work on their strength is their own bodyweight, maybe a few lighter dumbbells and resistance bands — or even playground equipment. 

Here are a few great strength training exercises for kids, most of which can be done with or without additional light resistance:

  • Push-ups
  • Planks
  • Pull-ups
  • Burpees
  • Squats
  • Leg raises 
  • Step-ups
  • Curls and presses (with bands or dumbbells) 

If you’re going to start your child on a strength training program, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Proper technique is the #1 priority
  • Supervision is always necessary, whether it’s you or a coach/trainer
  • Warm up before and cool down afterward to avoid injury
  • Allow for ample rest and recovery (24 hours or more) between sessions
  • Don’t forget: This is supposed to be fun!

Think your child might be interested in fitness? Start them out by having them join you in one of the free online fitness classes we’re offering through our Facebook and YouTube pages. When COVID-19 restrictions lift, and workout classes resume at our Mt. Laurel location or any of our six other gym facilities in South Jersey, feel free to come in and consult with our personal trainers or nutritional counselors. We can help you develop the best overall health and wellness plan for your family.