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  • Writer's picturePatrick Dossor

Is Your Child Ready for Strength Training? A Comprehensive Guide to Safe and Effective Workouts

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Athlete lifting weights under the close supervision of an Exercise Physiologist to ensure proper form and technique.

You're seeing more and more kids hitting the gym these days, but how do you know when it's time for your child to join the ranks? Picking the right strength training program for your child or teen isn't just a matter of marching into the nearest gym and signing up for a class. Age, experience, and goals all play a critical role in this decision. So let's dive into how to craft a program that not only builds strength but also safeguards your young athlete's well-being.

Age: More Than Just a Number

When kids are mature enough to follow more complex instructions, engaging them in supervised gym sessions is a great way to introduce them to exercise programs.

It's also important to remember that age isn't just about counting the years; it's also about understanding key developmental milestones. If your child hasn't yet reached their peak growth spurt, also known as peak height velocity, the primary focus should not be on lifting heavy weights. Instead, the emphasis should be on improving form and establishing a solid foundation in movement patterns.

Once your child has reached their peak height velocity or completed their growth spurt, they can then shift their focus towards incorporating heavier weights into their strength training regimen. This phase is geared towards building more muscle and strength while maintaining the correct form learned earlier.

Experience Counts: Start Smart to Train Hard

Don't rush it. There's a learning curve in strength training, just like in any other activity. For newbies, a foundational program that emphasises correct technique and form is a must. This isn't about lifting the heaviest weights right out of the gate; it's about developing a strong base to prevent injuries and facilitate future progress.

As they get more comfortable and proficient, it's time to up the ante. Heavier weights and more complex exercises can be introduced, but never at the expense of maintaining good form.

Setting the Right Goals: It's a Personal Journey

Why does your child or teen want to strength train? Is it to crush it in their next soccer game, or perhaps it's more about general fitness? Tailoring the program to these objectives is essential. For instance, a young gymnast might require a different set of exercises compared to a budding football star.

If well-rounded fitness is the aim, make sure the program targets all major muscle groups to develop a balanced physique and improve overall health.

The Takeaway: Customisation is Key

Creating the perfect strength training regimen for your child or teen is like piecing together a puzzle. Each child is unique, and the program should be too, reflecting their age, experience level, and specific goals. Done right, strength training can offer an array of benefits, from increased athletic performance to boosted self-esteem and better overall health.

So, are you ready to set your child on a course for a stronger, healthier future? Your next step could be as important as their first squat or push-up. Let's make it count.

Ready to Take Action? We Want to Hear From You!

We'd love to hear your thoughts, experiences, or questions about strength training for kids and teens. Please feel free to drop a comment below, and don't hesitate to share this article with other parents who might find it beneficial. Together, we can empower the next generation to be stronger, healthier, and more confident.


Behringer M, vom Heede A, Matthews M, Mester J. Effects of strength training on motor performance skills in children and adolescents: a meta-analysis. Pediatric Exercise Science. 2011;23(2):186-206. doi: 10.1123/pes.23.2.186.

Faigenbaum AD, Kraemer WJ, Blimkie CJ, et al. Youth resistance training: Updated position statement paper from the national strength and conditioning association. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2009;

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