WE all know how important it is to stay active and be fit, even at a young age.
There are plenty of opportunities for teenagers to get out there and exercise - joining sports or dance teams, walking to school, or participating in seasonal sports like snowboarding or beach volleyball.
But what happens when an adolescent wants to take their fitness to the next level and begin strength training? The thought of their teenage child lifting weights sometimes worries parents, but it doesn't have to.
Strength training is actually a common component of physical fitness programs for adolescents and is common practice in sports in which size and strength are desirable.
Strength training programs can improve sport performance and prevent injuries. But, it is important to make sure they, and anyone new to strength training, are properly supervised to ensure proper form and technique.
When adolescents start a strength-training program they should begin with low-resistance exercises until proper technique is learned. When 10 to 12 repetitions can be performed with good technique it is reasonable to add weight in small increments. However, it is very important to make sure not too much weight is added at once, or there is a risk of injury. Exercises should include all of the muscle groups and be performed through the full range of motion at each joint.
Before any adolescent begins a strength-training program, it is a good idea for them to see a physician for a medical evaluation to identify any possible risk factors for injury. That being said, injuries related to skeletally immature individuals are uncommon and believed to be largely preventable by avoiding improper lifting techniques, maximal lifts and improperly supervised lifts.
Shaun Karp is a certified personal trainer. For further information call his office at 604-420-7800 or visitkarpfitness.com.