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Weight Lifting- Is it Okay for Kids?

  • Category: Kids' Tips
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
Weight Lifting- Is it Okay for Kids?

Team sports provide a host of benefits for kids -- regular exercise, teamwork, problem-solving skills, self-esteem and discipline. But many sports are beginning to encourage weight training as a way to build strength, muscle, and to improve performance. Before your child adds weights to his or her daily routine, parents should know the benefits and risks.

There are growing concerns about strength or weight training for children who have not yet entered puberty. Studies suggest that trying to build muscle can harm a child’s growth by putting too much strain on young muscles, bones, tendons, and growth plates. This can lead to injuries if not done properly with adequate form and supervision.

When done correctly, weight training has the potential to increase bone density, improve motor skills and enhance endurance. Here are some do’s and don’ts parents should keep in mind.


  • Make sure kids are supervised and taught by a trained professional, such as a physical therapist, athletic coach, or trainer.
  • Warm-up and cool down techniques that include stretching to increase flexibility.
  • Master correct form and strength exercises before adding in weights.
  • Perform low weight, high repetition sets.
  • Take part in programs that mix weight training with other activities including swimming and running.


  • Allow children younger than 7 years old to lift weights.
  • Let children strength train or lift weights if they can’t understand or follow the rules.

Risk of injury can be reduced significantly if strength or weight training is done appropriately. For those younger age groups before puberty, light weights with more repetitions are encouraged with a focus on overall flexibility. Body weight exercises and free weights have been found to have the least negative effect on developing neuromuscular systems. When performed in a supervised, controlled setting, weight training can help children and adolescents of all athletic abilities improve their overall strength, health and well-being.

Be sure to check with your child’s doctor before you begin a strength training program, especially if your child has an existing health condition including a seizure disorder, high blood pressure or a heart condition.