Weight lifting can be beneficial for adults, but are teenage weight lifting programs safe for teens? You may be asking yourself this question if your teen is interested in starting weight lifting. The simple answer is yes, but only when done in a safe, supervised environment with proper instruction and guidance from qualified and experienced youth coaches.
Before we get into the importance of safe weight training for teens, we should first explain why weight training is so beneficial for teenagers.
We believe strength has critical importance to quality of life, because it is central to physical literacy, athleticism, durability, power, speed, and agility and can significantly reduce injury risk. Recent evidence also suggests that training in youth can retain muscle strength through late adulthood, staving off frailty. There is also an opportunity to increase bone density in adolescents through impact loading using weights. A safe teenage weight lifting program can provide them with the structure needed to train their musculature to work in such a way that will make them stronger and protect them from future injury.
Aside from the physical advantages, resistance training is also beneficial for mental health in teenagers. When a teenager improves their overall physical capability by building strength, they feel more capable, competent and confident which can have a stack of benefits (e.g. improved body image, confidence and resilience). This is important because it has been proven that physical activity can help reduce stress and anxiety in teenagers. Learn more about the link between exercise and mental health here.
While a teenage weight lifting program can be extremely beneficial, it can also be dangerous if done poorly. If a teen is being instructed by a coach or trainer who doesn’t understand the specific, physiological needs of youth and motor development, they are likely receiving the wrong instruction. This could lead to poor technique, lifting too much weight too soon, or putting the athlete’s body under necessary stress which will often result in injury. Another danger is teens attempting to lift weights without supervision, or in an environment where testosterone or the temptation to “beat the others” can take over and lead to teens attempting to lift weight that is not safe for them.
All of these dangers are avoidable as long as the teenager is under close supervision by an experienced trainer who understands the developmental and biological needs of youth. It’s also important to note that every teenager is different and that they are in a constant state of change (physically and emotionally). Coaches and programming need to be sensitive to this and adapt the training for the athlete accordingly. At Fitter Futures, all of our teenage weight lifting programs are adapted to the individual based on their experience, development, capability and other factors relevant to their performance and state of mind at any given time.
We also ensure that we educate all teens who enter our gym on gym safety and good mechanisms and technique. It isn’t until they consistently perform good movement patterns that we allow them to progress in load, which you can read more about here. This all ensures that our teenage weight lifting programs are safe and beneficial for teens.
Resistance training is extremely beneficial for teens when done safely. For more information on teen and child exercise, click here.
If you’re wanting to help your child increase their self-esteem, build their confidence, work on having a positive body image and be surrounded by amazing kids and awesome coaches, sign up for a free trial at Australia’s leading functional fitness gym for kids, teens and parents by sign up HERE.