Should children practice strength training and conditioning?

CINCINNATI -- A Cincinnati fitness expert says strength training and conditioning for is perfectly healthy for young kids, as long as they act like a grown up and have a desire for results.

Trainer Chuck Keating agrees with the Mayo Clinic and the National Strength and Conditioning Council - working out is good for Generation M. As long as they're trained by a professional, weightlifting is a perfectly healthy habit.

Behind a heavy squat press on Wednesday stood 11-year-old Aidan Guessford. He loves football, basketball and any sport he can take part in, including a good workout at the Academy of Sports Performance (ASP).

"I like that I feel stronger," Guessford said. "It helps me get prepared for my sports at school."

Aidan's 8-year-old sister, Gia, came along too, and went hard at a series of squats and jumps.

"There you go!" Keating cheered. "Good jump!"

While Gia had fun working out, Keating watched carefully so that she jumped and landed correctly. He said that's how most people get hurt.

Owner of ASP and director of training, Jensen Brent, said according to research, the brain learns proper movement when it's young and pliable.

"Your brain is able to be manipulated when you're younger," he said. "You want to ingrain good technique so that when you get older you still move with those good patterns."

Aidan started training three years ago, when he was just eight years old. Now, the young athlete can lift 85 to 100 pounds.

No matter how old the athlete may be, Keating and Brent never base goals on age.

"We need to look at the maturity of the child," Brent said. "Are they able to focus, are they able to take instruction, and are they willing and interested to do this?"

As long as children want to train properly and learn as they progress, Brent said he can help those at a young age get better, stronger and achieve goals.

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WCPO's Carol Williams visited ASP and spoke with the local experts.


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