Why Strength Training and CrossFit® are Good for Children

“Nobody has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for anyone to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which their body is capable” Socrates

ESTABLISHING LONG TERM HEALTH

Long term health is essential for a happy and fruitful life, and this begins from the moment that we are born. It is the foundation for almost everything else that we choose to do, which is why it is so important.

Establishing consistency, good habits and minimizing actions that are detrimental are all excellent ways to create a life that will allow anyone to remain healthy, fit and happy. This will provide a base for working to achieve your full potential in all aspects of life.

When we develop these behavioral patterns at an early age it is tremendously useful for the rest of our lives. Kids that are active and sporty generally grow up to be fit and strong. More children than ever before are now taking part in intensive training such as CrossFit® or Weightlifting, and this is setting the standards for a generation that are placing fitness and wellness at the heart of their lives.

Josh Bridges and His Kids
CrossFit Games® legend Josh Bridges teaching his kids how to wrestle!

Despite this, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, knee injuries have increased in child and adolescent athletes. Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recorded an increase in sport injuries of more than 400% at their institution over the last decade[1].

This demonstrates the absolute necessity of proper professional instruction and using the right equipment to protect your child and allow them to happily, and without injury, take part in the sports that they love. Rehband’s RX Knee Support Junior will help to protect joints and keep them warm, as well as helping to maintain and support good form and effective movement patterns.

ESTABLISHING GOOD MOVEMENT PATTERNS AS KIDS

Humans are not born with poor movement patterns. Generally, these are learnt or adopted through the lifestyle any given individual leads. For example, sitting for long periods can lead to less flexible hamstrings, a tight lower back and inflexible hip flexors. CrossFit® and weightlifting both accentuate the importance of regular mobility work and place great emphasis on proper form and good movement patterns.

Humans are designed to move, and when that is ingrained in us at a young age, it becomes a powerful and healthy habit to establish that should last a lifetime.

Child Squatting
The perfect squat!

Look at a child or a baby squatting. It is a completely natural and unforced position because the individual has had no time to learn bad habits or be affected negatively by the demands of a job or its environment.

If good movement patterns can be maintained and developed as the infant develops into a child and a teenager then this will lead to a healthier life overall. When this insistence on good quality movement (as taught by sport) is also present, then the child will learn how to better control and move, as well as why this matters in terms of health, wellbeing and injury prevention.

Daniel E. Lieberman is a Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Harvard, he teaches and studies:

“…how and why the human body looks and functions the way it does…I am now more focused on the evolution of human physical activity, and how evolutionary approaches to activities such as walking and running, as well as changes to our body’s environments (such as wearing shoes and being physically inactive) can help better prevent and treat musculoskeletal diseases.”[2]

Lieberman’s work and theories show how humans are designed for movement, which he contextualises within an evolutionary framework. To him, humans have evolved to move, and the way that our bodies generate force in order to move is efficient and has been honed through hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. Movement and rigorous activity helps to strengthen the human body, however old or young it is.

Children on cargo net
Fit for life.

As hunter gatherers we are well adapted for long distant running. Children, once old enough would commonly be helping the rest of the group or tribe, and are designed to move well and keep up. They are not weak and fragile.

STRENGTH TRAINING FOR KIDS

 “A well-supervised strength training program has no greater inherent risk than that of any other youth sport or activity.”[3]

It is a common misconception that strength training or high intensity work is bad for younger athletes. This is simply not true when it is performed using the appropriate weights, intelligently designed programming and good technique taught under the supervision of trained professionals.

Girl Weightlifting
Weightlifting – done properly – is a great way to improve confidence and strength.

The Sports Health Review found that strength can improve by 30% to 50% after merely 8 to 12 weeks of a well-designed training program and the few case reports of injuries relating to strength training were predominantly related to youths using the wrong weight, misuse of equipment, lack of qualified supervision or improper technique.[4]

Improvements in strength and fitness also lead to enhanced confidence, willpower and self-belief alongside many other benefits.

Girls Resting after Sport
CrossFit®, weightlifting and other sports promote and develop much more than just fitness.

PROTECTION WHILST GROWING

Knee sleeves are a great way to protect your kids when they train. The RX Knee Support Junior is a replica of Rehband’s bestselling product made in smaller sizes to fit a younger crowd. It offers many benefits for the growing athlete including:

  • Injury prevention
  • Stability
  • Keeping joints warm during training
  • Feelings of safety

Another advantage of the RX Knee Support Junior is that the sleeve stays in place and provides full support throughout movement without limiting muscle development. This means that your child can grow and the knee sleeve will still accommodate their changing body as well.

Agility Drills
Functional, fit and having fun.

INJURY PREVENTION FOR CHILDREN

From rugby to CrossFit®, strength training to running, learning to cope with physicality and hard work is an exceptionally important skill for any youngster to develop. But injury is always an unfortunate setback.

No parent wants to completely wrap their child in cotton wool, but you do want to know that they are as safe as they can be. Equip them for success, but let them take the next step on their own.

Enable your child’s full potential now

[1] AAP, ”Knee Injuries In Children and Adolescents: Has There Been An Increase in ACL and Meniscus Tears in Recent Years?” (2011). Available at: https://www.aap.org/ en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/Knee-Injuries-on-the-Rise-in-Child-and-Adolescent-Athletes.aspx

[2] Harvard University, Daniel Lieberman: “About Me” https://scholar.harvard.edu/dlieberman/home

[3] Sports Health, 1(3), 223–226. “Strength Training in Children and Adolescents: Raising the Bar for Young Athletes?” Dahab, K. S., & McCambridge, T. M. (2009). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445252/pdf/10.1177_1941738109334215.pdf

[4] IBID


Josh Bridges and His Kids © Rehband

Child Squatting © Rehband

Children on cargo net © Rehband

Girl Weightlifting © Rehband

Girls Resting after Sport © Rehband

Agility Drills © Rehband

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About The Author

Editor-In-Chief at BOXROX. I come from a background of rugby and weightlifting. Growing up in the English Lake District, I spent a great deal of time swimming in its stunning lakes and rivers. In 2015 my brothers and I became the first people to swim the 145km length of the River Eden, from source to mouth, in 9 days. We also swam the Corryvreckan whirlpool, the third largest in the world, and Crossfit is a huge part of my training for these events.

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