There is nothing more empowering than having the strength to move your own furniture or carry your kids around the country park after their little legs get tired (age dependent of course).
Strength training can be perceived in many different ways depending on what you read.
It is key to have an awareness as a dad of the risks that strength training brings for kids if you are to introduce them to this type of physical activity (I would encourage seeking professional advice if using weights but for bodyweight movements I’m sure the risks are reduced enough).
For quite some time the health and fitness industry has been tabooing to start our younger members of the community with strength training.
Myths such as ‘stunts growth’ has scare-mongered fitness professionals for years.
The fact of the matter is there is little evidence to support these claims and quite the contrary as more recent research supports supervised movement practise with the aim to promote increased bone density and mineral production is beneficial.
The risks to strength training are mostly linked to unqualified professionals neglecting the kids whilst they take part in resistance (traditional weight training such as dumbbells) training.
Keep your eye of the little rascals
The lack of supervision whilst a child is lifting weights is very risky and something that I do not recommend.
That said, bodyweight conditioning like lunges and press ups are lower risk as the participant has only got control of themselves and the worse that could happen would be to pull a muscle due to a lack of warming up (hypothetically speaking).
Accidents such as dropping weights and pinching skin have also been noted with traditional strength training which correlates with that of adult training too.
Of all the injuries during strength training between the ages of 8-13, 77.2% were accidental (accidents defined as dropping weights etc.).
These risks factors are similar to adults training also. No matter how we take strength training, the risks are very minimal, and the rewards are huge.
Risk of Training Intensity
Training intensity will vary and will depend when you have the ability to skilfully control movement in my gym.
This is the same for children and it is also important to consider the diversity in which children develop across growth periods, especially in adolescence.
An example of this could be, if you have two children a boy and a girl around the same age of 11-13 years old, you may find the girl being stronger than the boy at this age due to hormones and puberty.
Repetitions and sets during strength training in youth is something to be aware of and something to possibly factor in later when the child or adolescence is ready for weight training (Dumbbells etc.).
Still focus on grooving movement
The most important thing will always be the skill of movement and not so much on the potential load.
I always focus on building mobility and reduce any restrictions within my movement first before I add load. I promote the journey to unlock your potential in movement and is one I have personally enjoyed and still seeking.
Take Home Message
Focus more on the awareness of the risks when you are teaching your kids to move better.
I place an emphasis on your movement first then introduce weights once I am happy that the child is competent in managing their own bodyweight.