- HEALTH TRACKER
|What is Resistance Training?
Resistance training refers to a way of conditioning that involves specific exercises that increase an individualís ability to exert or resist force. It can be anything from free weights, (barbells and dumbbells) weight machines, elastic cords, medicine balls or even your own body weight.
Should my child do Resistance Training?
Everyone, (young and old) can benefit from some form of resistance training. Strength training should be a part of a well rounded fitness program that involves endurance, flexibility and agility exercises. The goal of youth strength training should be to improve the musculoskeletal strength while exposing them to a variety of effective and fun training methods. The most important thing to remember when doing strength training is proper technique and safety, not how much weight can be lifted.
Why should we do it?
Resistance training or strength training has been proven to aid in weight loss as well as enhance muscle function, increase muscle size, improve body composition, increases bone density, boost athletic and sport performance; it also helps you reduce injuries and enhances mental health and well being. You want to have as much muscle on you as possible; this will help you increase your metabolic rate so you burn more calories, even when you are at rest. This will help you keep the weight off and keep you looking good and feeling good.
How do I get my child started?
You can get started at a gym using the machines they have or you can get started at your house using hand weights, exercise bands or an exercise ball. You could also use your own body weight as resistance doing exercises that require no equipment. Choose whatever you want, or all of them if you would like, whatever works best for you. There is no wrong choice. If done correctly they are all very beneficial to your health. Machines are probably the best start for a beginner to get used to doing resistance training, but if they arenít available there are plenty of other ways to do it. The key to strength training for children is supervision; this also makes it an activity you can do with your child.
How often should my child do it?
You should strength train two to three days per week on nonconsecutive days. You shouldnít exercise the same muscle group two days in a row. Days of rest can be just as important as workout days for your muscles as you need time to recover from resistance training exercise. With this said, taking days of rest does NOT imply that you should be inactive. Just because you arenít lifting weights doesnít mean you canít or shouldn't do some sort of cardio.
How much weight should be used?
To build muscle you need to use more resistance than the muscles are used to. You should use enough weight that you can only complete the number of desired repetitions. In other words, if your goal is 10-12 repetitions per set, choose a weight that you can only perform 10-12 repetitions; do not choose a weight you can perform 20 times and stop when you reach 10-12 repetitions. If you reach the desired number of repetitions and the weight is too easy, it is time to increase the resistance. You should be able to keep the proper form during every repetition.
How many reps should my child do?
You should do 8-12 sets for each muscle group (it just depends on what muscles you are working that day). This normally should take you about 20-30 minutes depending on how long you wait between sets. Start out doing light sets of 10-15 repetitions and progress to 2-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions depending on your needs and goals. You donít have to do different exercises either, if there is some you like more than others just repeat the ones that you like the best. As you increase your strength you can also gradually increase your resistance level for continual improvements. If you continue to do new exercises and learn more things this will help prevent you from getting bored with the same routine each week.
Tips for strength training
Always have good posture (sit or stand up straight) and engage your abs in every movement that you do. Always warm up before you start lifting weights (5-10min); this gets your muscles warm and helps prevent injuries. Make sure you are breathing throughout the entire exercise (donít hold your breath). Lift and lower the weights slowly and try not to swing the weight or use momentum to lift it. If you have to swing the weight to lift it, you need to use a lighter weight.
What are the best exercises?
The best exercises are something that your child can do and LIKES. Make sure you do your best to keep it fun and enjoyable. Odds are if they donít like it they wonít do it. Mix up the routine even if it is just the order of the exercises just to keep if different.
Before doing any resistance training we always want to start with 5-10 minutes of light cardio to warm up and get the blood flowing. Stretching should also be done before and after each training session. Always start with lighter weights and focus on doing each exercise correctly first. Once you have mastered the proper form, then you can safely add more weight.
Check out the next section to see a few of our favorite exercises for each body part.
Next > > Resistance Training Exercises
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This information has been provided by Christopher Kist, HFI, and Renee M Jeffreys, MS, RCEP, who are both Clinical Exercise Physiologists at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Please visit the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the Surgical Weight Loss Program for Teens at Cincinnati Childrenís Hospital Medical Center.