Regarding proper weight training with teens, today, most people are unaware that genetics is what dictates overall health and growth in our children, and there are so many methods we use today for adolescents to increase these factors.
Weight lifting is a very controversial topic due to outdated information and myths. Today’s generation of kids suffers from a whole host of physical and mental health problems that can surprisingly be fixed naturally. The best and most efficient way to counteract these problems is to introduce a consistent healthy lifestyle (diet of whole foods/exercise) and introduce how to properly weight train. Every year as a teen starts high school, we seen them flocking to the weight room or taking a PE weight lifting course to start and make changes to themselves. Essentially, the main reasons adolescents should weight lift is to improve psychological health, increase physiological fitness which in turn will increase overall growth in a healthy environment.
Weight Lifting for Mental Health
Lifting weights obviously has a positive impact on the individual’s appearance, however for many teens it also teaches and/or reinforce their basic values in life; for example; character traits of, Judgment, Dependability, Initiative, Decisiveness, Tact, Integrity, Endurance, Bearing, Unselfishness, Courage, Knowledge, Loyalty, & Enthusiasm creates a strong well rounded individual. These qualities are built in the gym which every teen needs more of. These lifelong lessons do not only help adolescents in the weight room but they can help them strive in other aspects of life outside of the gym. At KALFIT Strength and Conditioning, we implement building solid character traits while we train.
For example, dedicated weight training combined with determination and dedication not only maintain a healthy looking physique, but will carry over to a teenager’s academic career, thus increasing their academic performance. Being active stimulates positive thoughts and increases self-confidence, self-assurance, and self-alliance. Confidence is something that most teenagers lack which sadly can result to teenage depression cases; recent studies have identified that 12 weeks of weight training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than counselling.
So, banging around a few weights increases the ‘‘feel good” hormones in our body called endorphins and provides us a feeling of accomplishment once finished with the workout session. It teaches teens that anything can be achieved in life with a positive attitude and solid mindset. Endurance and energy levels will be increased therefore making it easier to tackle life’s obstacles.
Not feeling good? Then train. Not happy? Train. Need a mood boost? Then train. It really works!!
Weight Lifting For Functional Health
With all the mental benefits that training provides also comes a numerous amount of physiological or what we call functional health benefits. Weight lifting strengthens bones and muscles thus making teen’s better athletes and will promote longevity. Training functionally with stress on heavy weight, increases their bone mass which decreases as we start entering the senior portion of our lives. This means that starting to weight lift at a younger age will help prevent diseases like osteoporosis. Training as a young adult will help teens in the present as well as help them in the future.
Lifting weights increases the metabolism which means this boost will help us burn more fat/calories therefore making us not only look better but also lower our chances of being obese. With the increase of technology; i.e. gaming and social media, there are more teens in the obesity range than what we had 10 years ago. Introducing weight training as a healthy lifestyle decreases the chances of being diagnosed with heart problems – studies show that moderate exercise decreases blood pressure by 20 percent. According to livestrong.com, 150 minutes a week of weight lifting lowers the risk of diabetes by 34 percent. Teens love their sugar and working out burns glucose thus controlling blood sugar levels.
Teenagers should start incorporating weight lifting as well as a healthy diet in order to prevent these diseases from occurring in the present or in the future.
Weight training myths: Does Weight Lifting Stunt Your Growth?
In the past many of you may have asked your parents if you can get a gym membership and have received an answer like: “You’re too young” or “would you like to stay that height for the rest of your life?” and lastly the most common of the bunch and my personal favorite: “No, it will stunt your growth.” This is one of the biggest misconceptions in the entire industry! It is an old myth that sadly punishes teens to reach their full potential. We’ve been able to put men on the moon but have never been able to scientifically prove whether weight lifting stunts growth or not.
In order to stunt your growth the individual must fracture the growth plate. Contact sports like football provide a greater risk in severely damaging the growth plate compared to a squat, deadlift or bench press. If we back track to many, many centuries ago, the Egyptians used to deadlift their stones, farmer carry them to a desired location in which they were then military pressed over head in order to reach new heights and successfully complete their astonishing pyramids, all while remaining pain free and “stunt-growth” free.
These Movements Are Natural / Functional)
What people do not understand is that most bodybuilding movements (especially compound movements like the squat, deadlift, bench press and the military press) are 100% natural and the addition of weights is only implemented in order to stimulate the muscles to a greater extent. To all parents: When your teen was an infant and s/he went to go pick up a toy s/he performed a perfect squat to pick it up. The only difference is that your child is no longer an infant and s/he can start utilizing additional weight (with proper form) to stimulate their muscles, minds and central nervous systems.
Unless you’re squatting and someone throws a dumbbell at your spine the odds of fracturing bones in the weight room are slim. Genetics determine growth, NOT weight lifting so if you come from a family where everyone is 5’5, the odds of you becoming a 7’4 basketball player are low. HGH is the human growth hormone responsible for our overall growth, and this hormone is released into our body in two different ways. HGH is mainly secreted in long and deep sleep. When teens weight lift they become mentally and physically fatigued, thus increasing the quality of sleep which stimulates growth. The second way it is released is through intense exercise which means the more intense the exercise the more HGH is secreted into our bodies. This means that weight lifters will most likely have a greater secretion of HGH which will allow them to reach superior heights compared to the average teen.
Maybe it’s time for us to start educating our parents on this misconception but be careful, they are the ones who will most likely be paying for your membership.
Time to start
People who think adolescents should not weight train are just uneducated on this topic. The most valuable element in all of our lives is our health and weight lifting clearly increases physical and mental health dramatically. Teens have their entire lives ahead of them and they must start taking care of themselves now. We can help them by re-educating ourselves and setting an example; by following of proper nutrition and exercise.
If this is a topic that resonates with you or if you know of someone who could use this, please share. Want to get started? We have consults available, just schedule here: (KALFITSANDIEGO)
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Looking forward to meeting you,
To your First Step,
Kipp – KALFIT coach & mentor
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