In recent times it has become an ever so common a reality and point of knowledge that children and youth (adolescents), living in countries considered to be developed or so called “first world” in nature, experience obesity and extreme levels of being overweight that have begun to reach epidemic levels of concern. This phenomenon is common in part to the fact that many young kids in recent times do not exercise or take part in rigorous physical activity.
In fact, it is noted, Westcott (2003:1), that children are less enthusiastic in participating in any form of exercise, often 20 to 30 minutes in duration, which places a strong sense of work ethic on endurance. Having mentioned the above, conventional exercise routines and fitness methods, to improve one’s cardiovascular activity, may not be the most practical for youngsters dealing with weight issues.
Before going into the guidelines of strength and resistance training recommended for children, it is important to understand just what resistance training is all about as well as how it is beneficial to not only children but people of all ages. According to Lee and Carroll (2007:1) resistance training is termed as voluntarily contracting one’s muscles against a weight normally heavier or equalling more resistance than that experienced in normal activities. In this type of training it is observed that strength capability is increased through training within the nervous, as well as muscular, system.
According to Westcott (2003:1) strength adaptations and exercise offers numerous advantages and benefits for youngsters, over and above any other form of training adaptation. It is also seen to be more enticing for many children as a primary preference of physical activity with periods of rest and recovery being longer, as compared to other short spells of activity requiring large amounts of effort. Training through strength exercise adaptations also helps provide kids with reinforcements of a visual nature as they are able to visually watch the amount of weights they are pushing and their rate of overall progression. Strength training is seen to be highly effective and successful for overweight boys, as well as girls, of all ages.
2.1. Guidelines for Children
According to Westcott (2003:1) peak strength adaptation regulations and conditions in adults and children share similar attributes to one another, it however has been found that there are variations on a notable level, in particular when it comes to the amount of reps and sets needed to be done. In general, the rule for children with regard to strength training exercise is that they should participate in roughly twenty minutes of strength training exercise which has been carefully formulated to their physical requirements. Ideally a ten minute session of warm-up and cool-down exercises should be incorporated as to prevent injuries taking place from the session. The guidelines for strength training in children are broken down...