Home > Mom's Life > Mom's Health and Fitness > Exercise Tips > Kids and Weight Lifting
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Kids and Weight Lifting

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Shari Nethersole, M.D.

Q: Our 11-year-old is interested in weight lifting. Is he too young to begin? If not, how much is too much? We don't want him to overdo it.

A: When many of us think of weight lifting, we envision the Olympics: a bulked-up man, clean jerking a set of 400-pound barbells over his head. This is definitely not something you want an 11-year-old to participate in! Weight training is designed to increase muscle bulk: the participant lifts very large loads for a few repetitions, and a lot of power is used. This isn't a good activity for growing children because it can cause injury to the growth plates of the bones. Since the bones don't complete all of their growth until late in adolescence, weight training should be avoided until after the teen years are over.

What your son hopefully means is that he wants to try strength training. Strength training involves more frequent repetitions (usually 15) of a mild to moderate amount of weight. It can also include resistance exercises and isometric exercises (exercises that tone and strengthen the muscles without the lifting or movement of weights). The goal is to increase muscle strength over a short time. Strength training improves performance in sports and also has been shown to decrease the risk of injury. It can be helpful regardless of the sport that the child participates in and can improve bone health and strength as well, which is particularly important for pre-adolescent and adolescent girls.

Whatever activity your son participates in, it's important to make sure that he is supervised by knowledgeable, qualified instructors who are used to working with children; an athletic trainer at his school or community center should be a good resource.

More on: Expert Advice

Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Fun Driveway and Sidewalk Games for Kids
Looking for classic outdoor games kids can play in the driveway or on the sidewalk, just like the good ol' days? From hopscotch to bubble-blowing contests, there's something for all ages!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Best Sun Safety Practices for Babies
Follow these sun safety practices for babies to ensure your little one stays safe on the beach and on sunny days all year long.