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!
"I came in to A2 with a knee injury that left me with very limited mobility and muscle weakness. Danny and team did an excellent job of diagnosing exactly what my issues were and designing a treatment plan that allowed me to regain strength, balance, and confidence. I would recommend A2 without reservation as a skilled and professional team."
"Dan was great to work with, as was the whole staff at A2 PT. I have been through PT on my shoulders twice before with different places and by far this has been my best experience. As a fit person, who wanted to remain active during my recovery- I felt like my PT program covered that. Dan knew what my preferred activities were and tailored my treatment to be able to do those things. The treatment plan was more like a workout and I loved it. I felt like each week I was getting stronger. I also appreciated that I was asked for constant feedback about how I was feeling/doing. If I ever need PT again (fingers crossed I don’t) I’ll be back!"
"Physically and mentally as healthy as I can be is my goal. My father lived to 93 and fairly healthy physically and mentally. My mother is 96 years old and is failing mentally and physically. I have watched the good and bad of aging. My chances of longevity is good but I want to be mentally and physically as healthy as I can be. Not until I started working out with Kristi Cruz at A2 did I know how to prepare myself for my road ahead. Kristi has given me the tools and information for me to understand what I need. She has led me by my hands and feet to improve me physically and talked and explained to help me understand the process. Working out with Kristi two or three times per week is a priority and my recipe for good mental and physical health. My name is Geri Markham and I am 71 years old. I feel as fit as I could be at my age. I have to give all the credit to Kristi Cruz at A2 for walking with me through the process. I would recommend Kristi totally if you are interested in learning to be physically and mentally healthy as you move on in life. Life is good thanks to A2 and Kristi Cruz."