Kids love to imitate mommy and daddy, especially when they see how much fun their parents are having at their box. Nonetheless, many mothers and fathers aren’t certain when children are too young to be lifting weights.
Because youngsters grow at different rates, there is no “set age” at which they become ready to start bulking up. Truly, each boy’s and girl’s body matures at a different rate. Yet, there are some good guidelines to follow to help determine whether a young person is ready to start working with weights.
1 – Is the Child Entering Puberty?
A pre-pubescent boy or girl probably isn’t ready for weight lifting, although he or she could handle some non-weight bearing strength training, such as push-ups. Once adolescence sets in at around age 12-13, most kids – or “tweens” – won’t be harmed by regular trips to the weight room. This isn’t to say some children as young as eight aren’t actively lifting weights, as they are; however, most CrossFit experts feel this is simply too soon.
2 – Is the Child Coordinated and Strong Enough?
Though coordination isn’t completely necessary for all weight lifting, it is for free weight, just as is the ability to handle basic movements like push-ups. Some children simply aren’t able to coordinate their bodies well enough to properly conduct free weight exercises. What’s more, they might not even be able to do a sit-up. For them, weight-lifting on machines like the Nautilus, is a smarter, healthier choice, but only after they do some plyometric exercises to build up a little muscle.
3 – Does the Child’s Pediatrician Say Weight-Lifting Is Okay?
It’s not a bad idea to get the advice of a youngster’s primary physician when considering whether he or she is ready to lift dumbbells and do squats. A pediatrician should be able to look over the child’s past medical history, as well as growth charts, to provide suggestions.
4 – Does the Box Welcome Young People?
While a CrossFit box isn’t the type of environment where body builders are seen pulling construction equipment across a finish line in order to bulk up, they still might be unsafe for children. If mom or dad is already a CrossFit enthusiast, the child will likely learn more under his or her tutelage. Nevertheless, the reality is not every box allows young members to lift weights until they are of a certain age, even if they are supervised by an adult. Thus, the parent needs to check with his or her trainer to discuss guidelines in terms of young members.
When the day comes that weight-training is added to the child’s routine, the following precautions should always be kept in mind:
• Growing bodies are susceptible to injuries. Therefore, lifting weights to the point of exhaustion is never recommended for new lifters.
• Children and teens should learn the right and wrong way to handle weights. They need to be taught how to respect gym equipment before they are ever allowed to use it.
• If a kid cannot focus on the task at hand, he or she is simply not ready to lift weights.
• Children should never be allowed to lift weights without some kind of adult spotter.
• No child should be made to lift more weight than he or she wants to lift.
In the end, determining when to start a youngster on a weight training regimen depends on numerous factors. Without a doubt, some kids will have to wait longer than others; this is okay, and should be expected. In the meantime, they can always enjoy some old-fashioned cardio to keep them moving and growing, just like mom and dad! Eventually, CrossFit can be turned into a family affair.