Kettle Bell & Kids

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by Eric Stroehle, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. Eric Stroehle

    Eric Stroehle First Timer

    I recently saw some of "Pavel's" videos on youtube. I heard Pavel's Interview on the Tim Ferris show and was fascinated. From what I have been able to gather, I have been doing everything the hard way for the last 20 years.

    I have a question regarding kettlebell training with children, as I am curious about. I have a 13 year old and a 11 year old, and I was wondering if there is a methodology and thoughts on how to develop a program for them. As I listened to the interview on building strength it appeared that the techniques were geared toward sneaking up on strength instead of killing yourself with lift to failure methods (which would make me nervous for my kids, especially when I just figured out that this is nuts). For example 3 to 5 reps... lots of sets at 60% of max effort. To my mind, this seems to alleviate some of the dangers for children. I would like for them to begin to engage in some form of strength training activity that is both beneficial and fun.

    I have to admit, I don't know if it is due to the dynamic nature of the KettleBell, but it is hard not to like. I am an avid Mt Biker and Cyclist, and it shares what I will refer to as the same flow as those sports. I have only attempted some rudimentary movements mixed in with pushups in between and in the last week I am sore in places I did not know existed, and I don't feel like I am going to pass out after a workout. I actually find myself craving a workout to get the dynamic experience again. I have a friend who is a PT who had always told me that strength has as much to do with neural pathways as it does with muscle mass, and that isolating exercises do not provide the same recruitment through the nervous system as more multi functional exercises. At the time I think my eyes glazed over a bit, but now that I have experienced it... Its a different feeling.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2018
    Bret S. and jca17 like this.
  2. WhatWouldHulkDo

    WhatWouldHulkDo Strong Member of the Forum

    I'm not formally trained in anything physiological or psychological, so everything I say is just anecdotal.

    My son is 8, and I'll bring him down to the gym with me to do an S&S session occasionally. At this point, he has neither the body control nor mental focus to do proper swing or TGU technique. But I have him work with a little 8# rubber kettlebell, something he can swing around easily with no risk of hurting himself (or me). He swings it 2-handed, and rather than a TGU he just picks it up off the floor and presses it. I generally don't try to do any form corrections with him - more just make sure he's keeping his speed under control (swing easy, and lower the press slowly) so it stays safe.

    Particularly at a young age, I'd say keep the weight far below anything that really challenges their strength, and let them play with the form. Playing is plenty of "conditioning" for a kid; it's more important to ingrain the idea that training can be fun. Once kids are old enough to have some desire to really be "good" at something, starting teaching technique, again without really challenging their strength. When a kid is ready for that will naturally vary from kid to kid.

    When my son is older, I figure I'll work on teaching him to use his deltoids/traps as little as possible when he swings, and really "showing off" each position in a TGU. But I'm not holding my breath... he's kind of a goofball. For now I'm happy he enjoys spending gym time with dad.
  3. Smile-n-Nod

    Smile-n-Nod Strong Member of the Forum

    Your children are a little too old: you missed your best chance at doing kettlebell training with your children:

    Use Your Baby For Exercise | The Art of Manliness

    Boosh32, MarkSch, WxHerk and 5 others like this.
  4. Tjerr

    Tjerr Double-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    In old studies they've concluded that the body of a 'child' isn't fit for strength training because the joints & tendons aren't strong enough yet.

    Recent research showed that non of this is true and strength training for kids is no problem for their body. The critical point is, that children want to go for the heaviest weight possible instead of working with a correct technique. So the problem is not their body not being able to adapt, but injuries because of lifting with incorrect form.

    If you want to let them join in, I'll suggest some two arm swings and Get Up's or half kneeling bottom up presses. The latter two are self limiting exercisis which 'can't' be cheated. Simple & Sinister should be just fine
  5. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum

    I started Olympic Lifting at 13, and I did fine, and still lift at 36 with no injuries. Training and competing taught me a lot about life, not just strength.
    Steve Freides and krg like this.
  6. krg

    krg Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    Dogma in the UK is no weight training before 16. I think it's a wasted opportunity
    Carl in Dover likes this.
  7. WhatWouldHulkDo

    WhatWouldHulkDo Strong Member of the Forum

    Did you have someone there to teach you when you started?

    I started weightlifting at 13, with nobody to teach me. I remember hurting both knees and my back that year. Fortunately I was young and resilient.

    The next year a new coach was hired at school, who actually taught technique. It was a whole different experience.
  8. Shawn90

    Shawn90 Strong Member of the Forum

    I think "sneaking" up on strength long term is effective for anyone regardless of age.

    If i had a kid interested in strength training i would introduce it to calisthenics first.

    Taking your 60% max which is like 12/15rm and doing sets of 5 actually seems nice. If done CALMLY and for a certain time. 20/30 minutes. Under supervision that knows good form. :)

    Really, i would introduce pull up and push ups first. Bodyweight squats. Progressions all the way up to single arm/leg work. Its fun. In a later stadium i would introduce bridges and ab work like leg raises or even dragonflags . And probably hand stand (push up)

    If they like swings then thats great, but teach deadlifts first.

    Most importantly of all, watch their posture like a hawk.
    WhatWouldHulkDo likes this.
  9. apa

    apa Triple-Digit Post Count

    As long as the technique is fine, I doubt weight training does as much harm as having them sit in front of the tv or computer for hours. (not saying your kids are)

    When I was a kid it was normal to climb trees, do pushups, sprints, playing soccer, using monkey bars etc. And i'm only 30.
    Paul Nathan and maurice197 like this.
  10. CraigW

    CraigW Double-Digit Post Count

    Find an SFG to teach you and your children the movements.
    Stick with Crawling, Loaded Walking, Swing's & Get-Up's for a very long time.
    Research Buteyko Breathing and find an instructor.
    Read the Vertical Diet by Stan Efferding, you can watch his videos for a lot of the information.
    Read books by Paul Chek and watch/listen to his video blogs.
    I also suggest you read many of these blogs;
    Weekly strength training articles | StrongFirst
    Be Well 360 | Articles
    Blog | Original Strength
    Paul Chek's Blog
  11. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum

    I had a mentor who took an interest in me and introduced me to a coach when we moved to a city. No one in my family lifted or played sports. My father said “We never worked out, we went out and worked.”

    I was naturally stronger than most kids because I had strength build through work. My family were inshore fishermen and forestry workers.
    WhatWouldHulkDo likes this.
  12. maurice197

    maurice197 Double-Digit Post Count

    My 2cents...note that I'm not a certified anything, so this could all be hogwash.

    You can think of strength training as 2 parts...part 1 is coordination (or neurological) and part 2 is "meat based" in which the muscles,tendons,ligaments,etc actually remodel themselves in order to move and carry load more effectively.

    For young kids, I think the first part is the most important, since developing coordination (in as many different modalities) makes activity much easier to develop later on (this is why the eastern block countries had EVERYBODY doing gymnastics until they hit puberty and then decided which sports they would concentrate on).

    This is why I like the ~60-70% of max for 4-6 reps...because its heavy enough to require concentration and brief enough to maintain that concentration for a young person, but at the same time doesn't put them at a very high risk of injury (from either excessive load or volume). Also, this way they are more likely to stay crisp when they practice these movements (and therefore ingrain better movements).

    For the most part, if 11 and 13 year-old kids are active and eat well, biology will make sure they grow strong and healthy. The marginal benefit of trying to coax out a bit more "meat based" changes by going heavy are far outweighed by the costs of either injury, burn out, or over specialization.

    I hope they (and you) enjoy the ride!
    Anna C likes this.
  13. Smile-n-Nod

    Smile-n-Nod Strong Member of the Forum

    Martial arts can be a good option for children. Especially arts that teach ground-fighting and throws, in adition to striking.

    For children too young for martial arts, gymnastics is a great alternative.
    GeoffreyLevens likes this.
  14. Paul Nathan

    Paul Nathan Double-Digit Post Count

    I've been puttering through the literature on this. Before a certain point in puberty, the gains children make is neuological coordination, no hypertrophy. It's lost about 6 weeks after stopping. Before about 7 years old, the child's system is not coordinated enough typically to do gym work. Varies, of course.

    The current guidance is to build a foundation of movement and physical ability in preparation for puberty and a general fit life In that vein, low weight is commonly recommended, with a focus on form.

    My boy is 19 mo and he will try and swing a 5lb bell or so, emulating dad. :)
    Smile-n-Nod and Carl in Dover like this.
  15. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Admin & Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    Easy Strength is a good read on this subject, IMHO.

  16. Jan

    Jan Strong Member of the Forum

Share This Page