Training Youth Athletes: Lifting Weights with Young Kids

We don’t have a babysitting service at Garage Strength so young kids who train at our gym are treated with the same respect as any other paying client. However, kids are not just little adults, and the same workout that a teenager might be capable of on his first trip to Garage Strength is usually not appropriate for a child. Here are some ways we provide a quality workout for a child under 10.

Keep them entertained

  1. Use a timer - Keep track of how long it took them to lunge up and back, push the small sled, or climb the rope. (You don’t have to be truthful either. Make the first set a baseline. Show them how long it took on your watch. When you time the second set, stop the watch a few seconds after the previous set and let them know they can do better. Make the third set their best time of all.)
  2. Set Up A Race - Do a set of dips or push-ups with the client and see who can complete the set faster. You can let them say, “GO!” but you don’t have to let them win.
  3. Keep it light - It is okay for kids to learn to struggle with weights, but never allow a kid to do any weights they couldn’t handle for 10 reps.
  4. Introduce Barbell Work - Don’t harp on the cues, just let them experiment with movements. Keep them safe, but allow them to get the movement right by trial and error and without too much correction.
  5. Use Upper and Lower Body Movements - We don’t need to have an arm and leg day for kids under 10. If they come more than once in a week they can do some arms and legs on both days.

Teach Kids Gymnastics skills

Gymnastics skills are much easier to learn at an early age, and they are a good way to keep the workout fun for young clients. Kids are easy to assist when they are not strong enough to execute the movement properly. Try to use your hands, instead of bands, to assist in movements whenever possible. This will make it easier for them to rely on their own body to do the work as they get stronger. Throw a few of these skills into a workout and remind them to practice them on the playground.


You have to pay the utmost attention to kids when they execute these movements. There is a chance that a kid could get SERIOUSLY injured. Don’t have them complete any of these skills without a spotter, and without being able to give them 100% of your attention. I know this can be difficult. So use these exercises only when you have the time to provide the appropriate attention.


Upper Body

Skin the cat, on rings or a low bar
Handstands, Handstand Push-ups
Push-Ups
Pull-Ups
Muscle ups
Front supports
Rope Climb
Dips

 

Flexibility

Back Bridges
Splits
Overhead Squats

 

Abdominal/Core

Knees to Elbows
Toes to bar
Hollow Body rocks
V-ups
Log rolls
Roll to stand
Swinging on a bar
L-sits

 

Gage Reps and Sets on A Clients Interest and Enthusiasm

For our adult clients we tend to keep sets between 3 and 5, and rep schemes vary predictably.

If you have kid do some overhead squats and they seem to be having fun with it, then make them do ten sets! If you have a kid do some walking lunges and they are bored and dragging after two sets. Move them onto another exercise and see if you can peak their interest.

 

In Conclusion

We have kids do real exercises. They gain real strength and movement patterns that will help them be proficient in any sport they choose to get involved in. Lifting weights is great for developing self confidence in young people and it prepares then for any athletic endeavor they choose later in life. And no, lifting weights will not stunt their growth.

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