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Family Sports & Fitness

Good Sports:
Add Weights for Better Play

Strength training can help you be a better, stronger athlete and could get you named “most improved team player.” Even if you participate in individual sports like tennis or golf, adding weights could be the lift your game needs.

An increasing number of young people are snagging weights and benefiting from strength training. In fact, from about age 8 and up, resistance strength training is a good way to maintain and improve your active life.

Weight training improvements
Ability to play longer, with less fatigue
Muscles and bones that hurt less and work better
More wins in all competitive sports

Make strength training just one part of a total fitness program
Keep the fun in fitness and promote lifetime health
You should feel comfortable with the program and look forward to the next workout

Avoid these common mistakes
Choosing too light or too heavy of weights to start
Easily and consistently doing more than 15 reps in good form
Never increasing the weight you lift

Know Your 1RM
To increase your strength through weight training, know your One Rep Max and build from there. One Rep Max (1RM) is the highest possible weight you could lift on a particular exercise if you only did one repetition.
When strength training, you should be lifting a weight that is about 60-70% of this 1RM
•   Beginners and kids may need to start at 2 pounds or less
•   Make your own light weights by filling socks with pennies until you’re physically
    able to use traditional weights
•   Pennies from 1983 to present: Roughly 181 pennies make one pound
•   Pennies from 1982 and earlier: Roughly 146 pennies make one pound
•   Experienced weightlifters may begin lifting at 30 pounds or more

The ideal weight is one that you can lift (with proper form) at least 8 times, but no more than 15.

As you get stronger, and reach 15 reps, it’s time to increase your lifting weight again.

Progress Safely
Use a 3-step process to keep increasing your strength effectively.
•   Increase the weight resistance by no more than 10% at a time
•   Example: 20 lbs. + 10% = 22 lbs.
•   Round down if the exact increase amount isn’t available
•   Generally a 2-5 lb. increase in weight is consistent with a 5% to 10% increase
    in training intensity
•   Complete1-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions in good form
•   You’ll be working harder than usual with the increased weight
•   Increase the weight again when 2-3 reps are easy to do in good form
•   No matter how long you wait between sessions, keep progressing

Guidelines for Kids
•   Kids are ready for strength training when they can participate in
    organized sports or activities
•   7-8 years-old is the usual starting age
•   Children are more prone to heat illness than adults
•   Encourage kids to drink water while they train, even if they are not thirsty
•   Kids should be closely supervised by an adult during training with an
    instructor-to-child ratio of at least 1 instructor for every 10 youths
•   Always warm up your muscles before and after every strength training class
•   Start with a relatively light weight and high reps, then increase the load and
    decrease the reps as strength improves
•   Begin with 1 set of 10-15 repetitions on 6-8 exercises that focus on the
    major muscle groups of the upper and lower body
•   Train no more than 2-3 times/week on nonconsecutive days

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