Should kids lift weights?
That is a common question. Should any human move? Definitely. If you view weightlifting as movement, not 'blasting a or toning a muscle (or any other silly, narrow-minded pop-fitness view), then the answer is simple. Yes. Weight lifting is movement. Movement is weight lifting (the intensity and complexity should match the individual's level, no matter what age). Exercising to lose weight is a means to an end. Exercising to become healthier, increase your performance, and feel great is a lifetime endeavor. In fact, a child, even a toddler, naturally runs, lifts, climbs, and jumps. They vigorously move without even thinking about it.
We need to move away from what the media, supplement companies, commercial gyms, and especially The Biggest Loser feeds us. Exercise shouldn't be a chore, penance, or punishment. We shouldn't dread it. What kindergartner or animal dreads moving and being active? My six-year old daughter asks me every time we go to the gym if she can workout. So, we do. I don't give her anything too structured, just a little direction and let her do whatever she pleases. Sunday, she grabbed a kettlebell and started stepping and pressing it without being told (she has done it before). That is the pleasure and spontaneity more adults should have. She didn't care about reps or sets or how many calories she was burning. She just did it.
Finally, breaking from the pop fitness world, here is something to think about:
"Gauge how effective your workout session was not by how sweaty you were, how fatigued you became, or how sore you were following it. Gauge its effectiveness by how fluidly you moved, how good you felt, and how easy you performed each movement."
-An important pillar in my training philosophy.