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American Academy of Pediatrics Provides Guidance on Resistance Training for Children

American Academy of Pediatrics Provides Guidance on Resistance Training for Children American Academy of Pediatrics Provides Guidance on Resistance Training for Children

​Misconceptions about children and resistance-training are refuted by research that shows benefits of strength-building, including injury prevention and overall fitness

Children of all ages with proper supervision can benefit from resistance training, a form of strength building that should be incorporated into physical activity classes when students return to school​, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The academy issued its recommendations in a clinical report, “​Resistance Training for Children and Adolescents​," published in the June 2020 issue of Pediatrics (published online May 26). The report, which revises a 2008 policy statement, reviews the latest research on the benefits and risks of resistance training for children and adolescents.

“Resistance training consists of much more than weight-lifting, and it has a place in everyone's physical fitness routine," said Paul R. Stricker, MD, FAAP, lead author of the statement, written by the Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness.

“We know children as young as 5 can build strength with one-legged hops or frog jumps. For older children, resistance training can be combined with aerobics or other sports to round out their activities."

Yet it is not age alone that determines training participation. A child with more exercise experience and competency with resistance training skills will have an older “training age" than a beginner of the same chronological age.​

The report emphasizes the need for proper technique and supervision, which can be provided during physical education classes and youth sport programs.

The AAP recommendatio​ns include:

  • Before beginning a resistance training program, children should see a medical professional if they have had conditions such as uncontrolled hypertension​, uncontrolled seizure​ disorders, specific cardiovascular conditions, or a history of chemotherapy.​

  • Integrate aerobic and resistance training along with other skill-related fitness components into developmentally appropriate exercise training.

  • In youth with overweight or obesity, start with basic resistance exercises over a more aerobically based program to support and encourage successful physical activity both short- and long-term.

  • Include dynamic warm-up exercises in the training session and cool down with less intense stretching.

  • Encourage participants to have an adequate intake of fluids and proper nutrition​ because both are important for energy storage, recuperation, and competition.

  • Evaluate any symptom of illness or sign of injury or overuse from resistance training or sport participation before exercise is resumed.

“While most sports training programs have been on hold during the pandemic, we can start thinking in advance about new ways to keep children fit and healthy through a wide range of activities," Dr. Stricker said. “Resistance training can be an enjoyable lifelong pursuit that contributes to overall physical fitness."​​

Additional Information from

5/26/2020 12:05 AM
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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