April 21, 2024

Should Kids Lift Weights? By Brett Klika C.S.C.S.

“How old should my child be to lift weights?”

In working with a large number of youth, this is one of the more common questions I get from concerned parents. Urban legends of stunted growth, fractured growth plates, and prematurely inflated physiques have made parents, and society for that matter, reticent to involve youth in weight training.

The fact is, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that there is a perfect chronological age to start weight training. Research has not demonstrated any negative health consequences for weight training in youth, assuming proper movement is introduced and enforced concurrently with appropriate progressive increases in training load.

Despite what myths have been created around the subject, the current data suggests youth weight training injuries are primarily due to equipment accidents (weight falling on them, tripping in the weight room, etc.) or overzealous coaching rendering improper program introduction and progression.

Proper resistance training in youth has been demonstrated to improve fitness, favorably affect bone density, improve movement ability, and decrease the likelihood of athletic injury. Weight training is merely loaded movement.  More simply put, it’s challenged movement.  If basic movement becomes easy, we can challenge by adding something extra to continue to provide a training effect.

If a child can do a squat pattern perfectly for repetitions, holding a 2- pound medicine ball adds additional load.  Once they can overcome this load with proper movement, they can hold a 4- pound ball.  All semantic hubbub aside, this is weight training.  One doesn’t have to be lifting barbells and dumbells to be training with weight. If a child can’t do a squat pattern perfectly, adding additional load would make no sense.  They have demonstrated they do not need any additional challenge.  The movement pattern itself has provided enough load.

The critical questions in regards to youth and weight training become:
1.    Are they able to focus on the proper execution of task?
2.    Are they able to execute and repeat an unloaded task with proper movement and cadence?
3.    Are they mature and coordinated enough to respond to coaching cues?
4.    Are they interested in weight training?
5.    Is the person in charge of their program experienced and knowledgeable about movement and progression?

If the answer to any of the above is “no” it doesn’t matter the age of the human, they are not ready for weight training.  In this case, I would focus on merely learning how to move properly through a variety of movement patterns without additional challenge or load.

The best answer to “When should my child begin lifting weights” is “when they need to.”  When a child is able to focus on an organized training in which they execute and repeat all of the involved skills and drills correctly, add a challenge and slowly progress over time.

Brett Klika C.S.C.S., Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10 and founder of www.brettklika.com, is a world- renowned human performance specialist, motivational speaker, author, and educator. He uses this knowledge and experience to motivate individuals and audiences around the world through his writing, speaking, DVD’s, and personal correspondence. For more information and video on exercises, programs, and any other information on losing fat and creating the body you have always wanted, check out The Underground Workout Manual – Exercise and Fat Loss in the Real World at www.undergroundworkoutmanual.com.

Exercise Tips for New Moms by Tatum Rebelle

5 Essential Exercise Tips for New Moms

Get back to the basics:
Before resuming your exercise program post-delivery, always seek medical clearance from your doctor! It seems like there is always a new fitness trend promising quick and easy results. Do not fall for the marketing gimmicks! Stick to the fundamentals that have been proven to work.

For example, by exercising larger muscle groups you will burn more calories. Doing intervals is a great way to add intensity for even faster results. Walking each day is great exercise for both the mind and body.

Work smarter not harder:
Finding time to exercise as a new mom can be tough! Your daily workouts can be included in the activities that you’re already doing by learning exercises that include your baby.

Squats are tough on your thighs, and soothing for your baby. They can be done as you hold him or her against your chest and benefit you both. Exercises like pushups, plank, cat-cow, and bird-dog can be performed with your baby is lying underneath while giving them kisses and smiles. It’s a fun way to enjoy time together while also doing something good for you.

Invest in inexpensive equipment for your home like a stability ball and resistance band. That way there is no excuse not workout when you can’t get to the gym.

Walk before you run:
Build slowly back to your pre-pregnancy fitness routine. Do not simply jump right back in to what you were doing before.

It is necessary to repair the deeper ab muscles that have been stretched first. Do not start with crunches. You can begin to rehab your abs with deep breathing exercises, plank, bridge, and pelvic tilt.

If you were a runner then start with walking and jogging before returning to running. If you lifted heavy weights, start lighter and do high repetitions.

Simply going back to your old routine will do your body a disservice if you end up injured and can’t do anything at all.

Don’t compare:
Be patient and nice to yourself. Don’t compare your body or weight loss to celebrities. It is not fair to measure yourself next to someone who probably has a full-time trainer and chef, and whose profession possibly requires them to be a size 2.

Remember that it took 9 months to put the weight on, and to drop it overnight is not healthy or realistic. Steady, consistent exercise and weight loss is the best way to decrease fat and keep it off permanently.

Do them! I can’t stress this enough. Keeping your pelvic muscles strong is often overlooked, but so important.

Tatum Rebelle is a pregnancy and new mom fitness and nutrition expert. She founded of Total Mommy Fitness in 2005 after seeing an unnecessary tread of women opting out of exercise once the became pregnant and had young children. Find more  at www.totalmommyfitness.com and twitter @tatumrebelle.

Brain Super Foods by Maggie Ayre

The Top Brain Super Foods and a Brain Boosting Recipe

Can you believe it’s nearly spring?  Before we know it the school summer term will be here and children throughout the northern hemisphere will be studying for exams.

Whilst study and revision time is important for securing good grades many experts now agree that what we eat and how much we move also play an important role.

Here are the top three areas of brain super foods:

1.    Healthy oils – foods such as oily fish, avocado, hemp, flax and fish oils contain the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which have proven very beneficial to the workings of the brain.  Unfortunately the western diet tends to be very rich in omega 6 fatty acids which the brain makes use of in the absence of omega 3.  It tends to be a bit like a diesel car trying to run on unleaded petrol, OK in the short term but with long term problems developing.
2.    Water – our brains are 75% water.  We must keep them properly hydrated to enable them to work at their best.
3.    Blueberries – these little berries are little power houses of brain goodness.  They are full of healthy antioxidants and packed with vitamin C.  They have been proven to help with memory and cognitive function.

Here’s a Brain Super Food recipe to get you started:

Banana and Peanut Butter Flapjack
Makes about 12

3.5oz/100g organic butter
1.75oz/50g soft brown sugar
1.75oz/50g honey
1 banana – mashed
1.75oz/50g no added sugar crunchy peanut butter
8oz/225g porridge oats

Preheat the oven to 320F/160C.

Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the sugar, honey and peanut butter and cook until softened.  Remove from the heat and stir in the banana and porridge oats.

Turn into a greased and lined cake tin.  Push into corners with a spoon.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Mark into rectangles and leave to cool before lifting out.

Maggie Ayre is the UKs leading Fitness Coach for Teen Girls. As well as one-to-one and small group nutrition and fitness work with teens she has developed the 3G Program designed to be run at schools as part of the PE curriculum. She also offers mentoring for PE departments on how to re-engage teen girls with PE and has recently published her third book; “Nutrition for Exam Success – A Parent’s Guide” which is now available as a Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

What NOT to say to your Teen! By Maggie Ayre

5 Things Never to Say to Your Teenager During their Sporting Event

Maggie is the UK leading Fitness Coach for Teens.  As a teenager she was a member of the British Sailing Team.
She is no stranger to competitive sport for teens and knows just how essential parental support is.

However, sometimes parents get it wrong and say the wrong thing at the wrong time.  Here Maggie shares her top 5 things never to say to your teenager during their sporting event.

1.    Don’t Mention What Happened Last Time
So your teen’s been here before she’s in pole position going into the final event, or he’s finally off the subs bench and the teams in the lead.  Last time it all went wrong in the closing stages.  Whatever you do don’t mention last time.  Your teen doesn’t need reminding.  Instead stick to positive comments only – no negative comments allowed.

2.    Don’t Change the Plan
If your teen never eats during a cycle race now is not the time to suggest a snack.  Changes to routine should always be introduced during training.

3.    Don’t  Criticize the Competition
The most successful sports men and women tend to be friends with everyone involved in the sport.  This season’s main competition may be next seasons training partner.  Avoid making personal comments.

4.    Let Them Focus
Now is not the time to mention the maths homework that needs to be done by tomorrow morning.

5.    Stay in the Moment
There’s time for celebration after the event is finished and a podium position or personal best secured.  Now is not the time to be talking about the future.  Don’t ask “what will you do when you’ve won” or “what’s the next step now it didn’t go so well” until another day.

Maggie Ayre is the UKs leading Fitness Coach for Teen Girls. As well as one-to-one and small group nutrition and fitness work with teens she has developed the 3G Program designed to be run at schools as part of the PE curriculum. She also offers mentoring for PE departments on how to re-engage teen girls with PE and has recently published her third book; “Nutrition for Exam Success – A Parent’s Guide” which is now available as a Kindle and paperback at Amazon.