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Thread: Weight Lifting for a 7 yo girl

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  1. #1
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    Weight Lifting for a 7 yo girl

    Okay, I have to say I am puzzled here. My daughter, who loves climbing, swimming and monkey bars already, and has badminton and basketball, keeps trying to train with me.

    So, last night I led her through the short endurance circuit of:
    1 set of 12 Bicep Curl, Deltoid Raise and OHP with 2 lbs dumbells - she could not handle 5 lbs safely
    Pavel's ladders push-ups (she went off my very low bench, I went off the floor) - she can do one good push up, then loses back alignment and I stop her
    and I got her to do an assisted chin-up on my pull-up bar

    When we are in the gym, I get her to squat on Bosu (about 20 reps), and do push-ups of the 30" bench (she can do 3-4)

    Is it bad for her to do this? Do I need to do something different? I know BC is not exactly exercise of choice, but I am afraid she can hurt herself with longer levelrs motion?

    My only recollection of exercise is a bit later in life, around 10, we did body weight only (rope, bars, somersolts, push-ups and pull-ups, squats).

    Is it safe to give her 2-3 lbs weights in that age and give her a mechanic isolation motion, or should I insist on the body weight?
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  2. #2
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    i would say stick with the bodyweight work, not necessarily because of safety, but because it's great and will keep her strong and mobile. once she gets familiar with the bodyweight stuff, and if she wants to add lifting weights, i don't see any reason to discourage her as long as someone is making sure she isn't doing any damage to herself from overstraining or bad form.

  3. #3
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    That would be me, but I am only certified as an adult group fitness instructor for aerobics and weights. I am not certified as a PT. I keep a mom's eye on her neutral alignment, but I have no idea what are specifics for training young children before the bones/joints are 'finalized'? Anyone has any books about it?

    EDIT: Am I over-thinking as usual? After all, girls do gymnastics at this age, and that's by far greater load than 2 lb weight?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leida View Post
    children do gymnastics at this age, and that's by far greater load than 2 lb weight
    this was my original thought, and another reason why i would recommend body weight work over weights...gymnasts have insane abilities, strength, mobility, etc. that i think are some of the best things to focus on early in life, and it's my understanding that those skills come from body weight work.
    but, if she wants to lift weights, let her lift weights...just keep it simple. a pair of dumbells aren't much different than pails of sand. stick with those. or, better yet, let her have her own sandbag.

  5. #5
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    I am certified as a PT and would never do any resistance work with a child that young. Let her go out & play or find a good gymnastics teacher to work with.

  6. #6
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    She does tons of active play, both structured and not, as I said before. But she wants the weights. I am thinking of putting her into gymnastics next fall, but I am reluctant because she is tall and muscular, rather than small and wiry. I had her in ballet class for 2 years and she looked like a quarterback compared to the other girls.
    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leida View Post
    ...she is tall and muscular, rather than small and wiry. I had her in ballet class for 2 years and she looked like a quarterback compared to the other girls.
    That's a sign of good parenting on your part making sure she has plenty of calories and nutrients so her body can grow. You're helping a little person grow big and strong. Go you.

    Regarding stunted growth:

    Stunted growth is due to low calorie consumption and malnutrition. And you've already described your little one as developing well in comparison to other children, you seem to be feeding her enough and the right kinds of foods. Keep at it.

    Regarding exercise:

    Bodyweight exercises, weighted exercises...it's all the same. The body is being stressed. Gravity is a stressor. Bone strength/density is determined by the stresses placed on the body. The same goes for all other connective tissues: tendons (connect muscle to bone), ligaments (connect bones), and muscles.

    Coordination is probably the most important thing growing up. If she wants to lift weights, make sure she lifts properly (which you've been doing), continue to incorporate the bodyweight exercises, and light, comfortable stretching after activity as part of the time when you cool down.

    You're doing fine. You aren't going to stunt her growth or damage her growth plates. From running alone, studies have shown forces up to 7 times the body's weight placed on the feet.

    I'd be more concerned with the prevalence of injuries caused within gymnastics because kids are being pushed beyond the limits of their coordination and strength.

  8. #8
    I would like to clear up some of the rampant misconceptions about gymnastics. The vast majority of children who participate in gymnastics classes do so at the recreational level (i.e. strictly for the fun of it). A tiny percentage have what it takes to train at a competitive level and an even tinier percentage are on track for the elite level which can lead to college scholarships, world championships, and the Olympics.

    Recreational gymnasts spend maybe one to two hours in the gym per week, whereas competitive gymnasts usually put in anywhere from 12 to 30, even 40 at the elite level. And yes, even children as young as 6 years old might put in 12 hours per week. There is really no comparing recreational and competitive gymnastics; they are two very different programs.

    Recreational gymnastics is for EVERYONE and those who benefit the most are the overweight, weak, uncoordinated, cautious, and special needs children (and adults) of the world. In a children's recreational class they will play games, learn to move their bodies in different ways, climb, balance, roll, and turn. These are things that children do naturally out on the playground. In the gym they have mats and trained coaches to guide them. They will develop functional fitness, gain flexibility, learn to fall safely, and develop spacial awareness. I can't think of a more well-rounded exercise program for children. There is also something magical that happens to one's confidence when one finally masters a cartwheel or balances for a long time in a handstand. These are the kinds of skills that are learned in a recreational class, NOT what you see on the TV during the Olympics.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BananaLeaf View Post
    I would like to clear up some of the rampant misconceptions about gymnastics. The vast majority of children who participate in gymnastics classes do so at the recreational level (i.e. strictly for the fun of it). A tiny percentage have what it takes to train at a competitive level and an even tinier percentage are on track for the elite level which can lead to college scholarships, world championships, and the Olympics.

    Recreational gymnasts spend maybe one to two hours in the gym per week, whereas competitive gymnasts usually put in anywhere from 12 to 30, even 40 at the elite level. And yes, even children as young as 6 years old might put in 12 hours per week. There is really no comparing recreational and competitive gymnastics; they are two very different programs.

    Recreational gymnastics is for EVERYONE and those who benefit the most are the overweight, weak, uncoordinated, cautious, and special needs children (and adults) of the world. In a children's recreational class they will play games, learn to move their bodies in different ways, climb, balance, roll, and turn. These are things that children do naturally out on the playground. In the gym they have mats and trained coaches to guide them. They will develop functional fitness, gain flexibility, learn to fall safely, and develop spacial awareness. I can't think of a more well-rounded exercise program for children. There is also something magical that happens to one's confidence when one finally masters a cartwheel or balances for a long time in a handstand. These are the kinds of skills that are learned in a recreational class, NOT what you see on the TV during the Olympics.
    +1

  10. #10
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    I believe on the Starting Strength forums there is a woman (in North Carolina?) who works with young children and has some kind of PVC pipe system set up for them. While I would agree that an adult weight lifting regimen is not appropriate for pre-pubescent children, I think there is a ton you can do that will feel like weight lifting to a child and still not be too much for their growing bodies. Best to get some advice from some one who works with children.

    ETA: I wouldn't put a child into gymnastics unless they were begging and pleading. I don't know what the injury rate for child gymnasts is over all, but among the ones I know, it is SCARY.
    Last edited by LauraSB; 03-11-2013 at 05:04 PM.
    50yo, 5'3"
    SW-195
    CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
    GW- Goals are no longer weight-related

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