By Alika Antone
As the father of four young kids, a physical therapist, and a gym owner, our children get regular gym time. And strength training is part of that. I am often asked the question “When Should Kids Start Strength Training?”
Now a lot of people hear “strength training” and automatically get visions of musclebound folks lifting heavy weights. While lifting weights can be incredibly beneficial, there are lots of ways to gain strength without weights, too.
My kiddos don’t lift heavy weights (yet) — mostly for safety reasons as they are still learning coordination and control of basic functional movements. We enjoy working on balance, coordination, footwork, agility, and power. One of our favorite exercises is sled pushing. It is hard work and challenges power and endurance. The best thing about the sled is that it is not technical at all. It is safe, effective, and the kids love it.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association’s position is that it is “imperative to determine safe, effective, and enjoyable practices by which resistance training can improve health, fitness, and sports performance of younger populations.”
If kids are ready for resistance training, a trained coach can help them build stamina, strength, and cardiovascular endurance — with safety at the forefront. Kids who train with or without weights may see improvements in sports and it may even help them avoid sports-related injuries. Not to mention, it is building a healthy foundation for their futures.
When I hit the gym with my kids, my main focus (beyond safety) is making sure they are having fun, working hard, and learning.
If they love something (like exercise) chances are they will get better at it. Focus on getting your kids to love the gym and what it has to offer to their body, mind, and spirit. Making sure their experiences now are safe, effective, and fun will lead to a continued love of moving their bodies for life!
"Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for all that you have done to help me get better. What I admire the most is that you have a kind, caring, outstanding staff that not only listens to what is going on with us but goes the extra mile to help each of us achieve our goals. Danny and Alika never, never, never gave up on me and helped me reclaim my life. I love all of you dearly."
− C. Marez
"I’ve had 4 surgeries with different physical therapy clinics and this was my favorite. I felt comfortable and felt like I mattered to my PT which was a good feeling. My progress was as I had expected and any time I had a question or concern it was always answered and my PT adjusted. If it needed to be to avoid the pain I had I didn’t feel pressured to have more PT appointments or pressured to do workouts that aggravated my pain. Thank you for your help! I think offering stem and ultrasound for every patient will be really beneficial. Great experience overall."
"A2 staff are friendly and informative. All my questions and concerns were addressed. I looked forward to my appointments because even if I didn’t see my progress, because it was so gradual, the staff here made sure to celebrate every move forward. I thought I’d always have a limp/never recover fully, but I was wrong!"