There is no specific age at which children should start lifting weights, as it largely depends on the individual's physical and emotional maturity. However, it is generally considered safe for children to begin a supervised, age-appropriate resistance training program around the age of 7-8 years, when they have developed basic motor skills and the ability to follow instructions.
It is important to note that weightlifting for children should focus on proper technique, form, and safety, rather than lifting heavy weights. The program should be tailored to the child's age, size, skill level, and physical abilities. Light weights or bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups, squats, and lunges, can be used to help children build strength without putting excessive stress on their growing bodies.
When introducing weightlifting to children, consider the following guidelines:
Start with a proper warm-up and stretching routine.
Focus on learning proper technique and form before adding weight.
Choose age-appropriate exercises, such as bodyweight exercises or light dumbbells.
Begin with low weights and gradually increase as the child becomes stronger and more proficient.
Keep the intensity and volume moderate, avoiding heavy weights or excessive repetitions.
Monitor the child's progress and make adjustments as needed.
Ensure that the child is supervised by a qualified coach or trainer who has experience working with children.
Before beginning any resistance training program, it is important to consult with a pediatrician or healthcare professional to ensure that the child has no underlying medical conditions or limitations that would make weightlifting unsafe.
Faigenbaum, A. D., Kraemer, W. J., Blimkie, C. J., Jeffreys, I., Micheli, L. J., Nitka, M., & Rowland, T. W. (2009). Youth resistance training: Updated position statement paper from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(5 Suppl), S60-S79. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e31819df407
Lloyd, R. S., & Oliver, J. L. (2012). The Youth Physical Development Model: A New Approach to Long-Term Athletic Development. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 34(3), 61-72. https://doi.org/10.1519/SSC.0b013e31825760ea