Years ago, strength training for kids got a bad wrap. Fear and lack of knowledge mostly drove people to believe that strength training would stunt a kid's growth. The reasons as to why strength training is beneficial is almost as great as the number of exercises that fall into the category.
Libby Bradley, a senior at UCLA and member of the UCLA Triathlon Club said that she was first introduced to strength training in 10th grade when she took a class titled "Strength and Conditioning for Women" that was offered through her high school's Physical Education Program. Libby stated, "The fact that it was with all girls made it less intimidating and I think it is something that has helped me stay with strength training until today. Strength training can be intimidating, whether it is because of the boys in the gym along side that or the large number of exercises to choose from."
Like the PE class Libby took in high school, a more focused class that taught the basics of strength training and specific exercises to target each muscle group would be greatly beneficial to the majority of students who want to incorporate strength training into their weekly exercise routine.
For the busy high school and college students of today, it is difficult to find time to exercise regularly let alone follow a strength training regimen. Libby said, "My biggest challenge is trying not to stress too much about school and triathlon training. I have gotten much better about organizing my time well and figuring out when I will be doing what each day. I have found that a calendar for these events is very helpful."
And while scheduling is always a difficulty, most students going into college are aware of the necessity of regular exercise. Increased muscle mass can help develop better body mechanics, increase energy levels and burn calories, but it can also be done without an expensive gym membership or gym equipment. O2 MAX surveyed and interviewed students ages 10 to 22 years old to find out the younger generation's view on this important form of exercise.
The broad range of opinions of what strength training actually is to students is almost as wide as the strength training exercises that exist. When the students were asked to define strength training, answers ranged from weight machines to resistance bands to cardio that involved strengthening specific muscle groups to something done in PE.
The majority of students surveyed knew that strength training was important and most had tried it, but the general consensus was that they needed to include it more often than not. Santa Monica High School graduate Mardi Jacobson said, "I know that I have to stay on track because I won't be one of those people who gain weight their first year. I feel that if I stay focused and keep my plan or workout schedule then I will be fine."
The willingness and desire is there, and it seems with a little structure and guidance put in place, the younger generation can realize the benefits of strength training.