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Is Weight Lifting Good for Kids?

A book for kids and teens on exercise says "yes."

by
Helen Smith

Bio

November 4, 2012 - 4:15 am

Frederick Hahn, the author of Strong Kids, Healthy Kids: The Revolutionary Program for Increasing Your Child’s Fitness in 30 Minutes a Week thinks so. Hahn is the author of the blockbuster book The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution: The Slow Motion Exercise That Will Change Your Body in 30 Minutes a Week that advocates slow resistance training to increase your health and fitness for adults. He advocates weight training for kids to increase their lean body mass, improve flexibility, increase muscle strength and power and improve general fitness.

His book dispels the myth that weight lifting is bad for kids:

The common thought by people who don’t know better is fear of damage to the bone growth plates. Yet there has never been a single such case ever reported in medical literature. Others say it can delay a child’s musculoskeletal growth in kids–dramatically so. In an eight-week study on fifth graders, 20 boys and girls strength trained twice a week for 20 minutes and improved their body composition almost twice as much as their nontrained peers.

The book puts together an exercise and eating plan for kids and also teaches parents how to help their child set fitness goals. Hahn is not a big believer in those fitness tests the schools use where they measure kids by how far they can reach or how many push-ups they can do. For example the sit-and-reach test where a kid reaches forward on the floor to see how close he or she comes to touching their toes can be affected by how long or short a kid’s torso is or if they have short arms. If a heavy kids tries to do push-ups, it might be their high body weight, not lack of strength that is the issue. A better use of time, to the author, is to focus on strength training.

If you have an overweight kid or just one that needs a fitness tune-up, this book seems like a good one to help.

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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