Years ago, resistance training for the youth population was often considered unsafe and potentially injurious to the developing muscle-skeletal system. Particularly so for children under the age of 14 years. With the global epidemic of pediatric obesity on the rise, new research has emerged. Over the past decade, numerous studies have shown that regular participation in resistance training programs can improve cardiorespiratory fitness, bone mineral density, blood lipids and total well-being for our youth. Resistance training can also help children lose excess body fat and improve insulin sensitivity at the cellular level. These two factors alone can have a huge impact on the reduction of childhood obesity as a whole.
General Program Design and Guidelines for the Overweight Youth
- Make sure the program is adequately supervised by a qualified instructor / personal trainer.
- Ensure the exercise environment is safe and free from potential hazards.
- Begin each session with a 5 to 7 minute, dynamic warm-up.
- Perform 1 to 3 sets of 6 to 15 repetitions for each exercise.
- Include exercises for the legs, arms, back and midsection.
- Focus on technique rather than the amount of weight being lifted.
- Include a cool-down and stretch period after each session.
- Strive to resistance train 2 to 3 times / week on nonconsecutive days.
- Use individual workout logs to chart progress.
- Periodically vary the resistance training program.