Weight training for teen lifters can establish base strength and fitness.
Until recently, it wasn't clear whether strength training holds benefits for children and teens. Many parents are still concerned that lifting weights could affect their children's growth and cause hormonal imbalances. According to the latest research, resistance training is just as beneficial for teens as it is for adults. It not only increases their strength and endurance, but also boosts their immune system and mental function.
Examine the Benefits
According to the National Strength and Conditioning Council, strength training can improve teenagers' performance and reduce injury risk. Teens who lift weights perform better at their sport of choice, have sharper minds and find it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. Studies conducted on junior elite soccer players indicate that resistance training may improve muscular imbalances while lowering the risk and severity of injuries. The journal Frontiers in Physiology recommends that young athletes use a mix of plyometrics, free weights and machine training for enhanced exercise performance and muscular fitness.
Furthermore, strength training has been shown to increase bone density in teens and lower their risk of premature death by up to 35 percent. This form of exercise may also help prevent heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other chronic disorders later in life due to its beneficial impact on important health markers, such as blood pressure and hormone levels. Children with spinal muscular atrophy can lift weights to improve their strength and motor function.
Contrary to popular belief, resistance training is safe and doesn't stunt growth. However, beginners should exercise under adult supervision in order to learn proper lifting form and prevent injury. Some exercises are better than others. Teens should start slowly and focus on building overall strength and endurance.
Master the Squat
If you had to choose just one exercise for whole-body strength, it should be the squat. This multijoint movement promotes muscle growth while increasing the release of anabolic hormones, such as testosterone. It also improves functional fitness, leading to a lower injury risk and higher efficiency in everyday life.
With regular practice, squats can improve a teen's balance and coordination. Plus, they help build the power and strength required for competitive sports like soccer and rugby. Their beneficial effects on joint health shouldn't be overlooked either. Teens should start with body-weight squats and wall squats before moving on to barbell squats.
Get Stronger With Pushups
Like the squat, the pushup is a functional exercise that works the whole body. It engages nearly every muscle, builds strength and improves overall fitness. Due to its intense nature, it can also be used as part of an aerobic training program.
Most teens lack the strength needed to do full-range pushups. That's why it's recommended to start with knee pushups, which are easier to master. Teenagers can also perform this exercise against a wall or place their hands on a bench for support.
Do Crunches for Core Strength
A strong core is essential for maintaining good posture and preventing injury. The muscles located in the abdominal region play a key role in sports and everyday activities. They also protect your internal organs and take the pressure off your knees and hips during training.
A good way to strengthen your core is to do crunches. This exercise allows the core muscles to move in a controlled manner and carries a low injury risk. There are lots of different ways to do crunches and each has distinctive benefits.
Teenagers can try standard crunches, bicycle crunches, reverse crunches and other variations. According to a study conducted by the American Council on Exercise, standard crunches are more efficient than planks and elicit the greatest muscle activation. Stability ball crunches, situps and ab rollouts are all excellent choices as well.
A teen's workout routine can also include assisted pullups, dumbbell flyes and rows, single-leg squats and arm curls. Hit the gym two to three times per week to reap the benefits. Go jogging, take brisk walks and engage in team sports on your off-training days.