There’s a long-standing belief that young athletes shouldn’t start strength training until they reach adulthood. Especially for aspiring basketball players, there is the fear that lifting weights in their early years would stunt their growth.
It’s a myth — one that has been debunked study after study. Kids can safely train and reap the benefits of strength training, both in increased strength and muscle gain.
Here are some suggestions on how to do it right:
Focus on Form
Good form is the key to safe and effective weight training. For young kids, it’s important to have someone knowledgeable guide them during all weight-training sessions. As they are still growing and learning how their body works, it’s easy to make mistakes that can set them back. It’s a wise decision to sign them up in group learning environments. J Robinson Intensive Camps, LLC says that a good example is joining high school basketball camps that emphasize on good form and weight room discipline.
Keep It Challenging
Young players learn incredibly fast. They are at a stage in their lives where they pick up quickly and their bodies adapt just as fast. Keep their weight training program challenging by increasing the weight and teaching new exercises continuously. For big lifts like squats, deadlifts, and presses, make sure you rotate the exercises and change them up regularly.
Kids will be kids. They like to have fun. Training will continue to be effective if they can keep their focus and interest in the program you put them on. An ideal way to keep them engaged and interested is by keeping a positive environment in the weight room, preferably have them in a program with a couple of kids in their age range. A little bit of friendly competition may go a long way.
Don’t hesitate to start training young kids in lifting weights. It’s not dangerous if done well. Kids have highly adaptive and flexible bodies, so don’t underestimate their strength.