Monday, September 27, 2010

Top 12 Thoughts on Strength Training for Kids (part 2)

7) The variation of "stuff" that a kid can use to get stronger will yield more results than the traditional machines found in gyms. It is widely accepted that the more stimuli a child is exposed to, the greater the long term adaptations (which is why it is also a good idea to let your kids play as many sports as possible at a young age). The tools they get exposed to at ASF include:
* Dragging sleds
* Bands
* Medicine Balls
* Kettlebells/dumbells
* Tires
* Pneumatic resistance
* and of course bodyweight.

8) Puberty has a way of evening out the playing field at times; who was once the small, slow kid is now the fast, bigger kid. Once kids accept that puberty gives them the tools to get where they want to get, they can enjoy the process of learning how to do everything correctly. Personally, I was very small until 18 (135# as a senior in high school) and then in college put on muscle like I was on steroids! I know all of my years of free play and sports gave me the foundation to really take off (albeit after high school ended). So, parents and kids should trust in the natural, progressive way of the human body and be patient while building a neurological library of information.

9) Believe it or not, overweight kids thrive when it comes to strength training. It does not involve the things they are not good at, or do not like: running, jumping, teams, gym class, getting picked last in games, etc. It is one-on-one activity. The extra weight that has been a "burden" to this point actually prepares them to be somewhat stronger than average weight kids. I am not suggesting to become overweight to get stronger, but I am saying that if you cannot find the activity that suits you because of your size, try strength training. It will certainly lead to #10...

10) Let's face it, getting stronger makes you perform better. It also improves your performance from the neck up by helping confidence, body image, self-esteem, discipline, pain tolerance and healthy competition ("what's your bench?!"). I have seen kids in one hour improve their attitude just by increasing the amount of weight that they lifted compared to their previous session. That is priceless.

11) Similar to #10, I truly believe that kids can also become more aggressive with strength training. Sports are hard~physically, mentally and emotionally. Aggression can pull you through even the most challenging obstacles. Before I go further, my definition of aggression always involves sportsmanlike conduct, respect for the game and your opponents, and playing within the rules of the sport. Aggression does not imply fighting, cheating or bullying. It is a mental tool to use when needed: when you need to attack a defender, grab a loose ball, win the race, or always being ready. I use the word "aggression" quite often as I see more and more kids going through the motions but not really attacking that particular drill or exercise.

12) Finally, strength lays the foundation for longer term consequences. Statistically, most kids will not play sports in college and even fewer will become professional athletes. However, if strength training is introduced correctly at a young age, it can be done forever. Conversely, if it is used as punishment ("drop and give me 20!"), do you really think a child is going to want to do that voluntarily? We are in a position to affect not only the present, but the future and how healthy this generation becomes.

There yo go....I am sure I missed a few, but these are the big ones. Now, GET STRONG!

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