We as parents want the best for our children when it comes to their future. A big part of that has to do with their health and exercise. Many people think that putting middle school students through a weight training lesson plan is bad and that it’s way too early to do so but that isn’t necessarily true.
With the proper steps and caution, a middle schooler (preferably late middle school) can start weight training in the gym.
At that age, many children, especially athletes are growing and becoming stronger so transitioning into the gym will help the process. If you were/are an athlete, you know that some form of weight training can be done to excel at a sport.
There is also many research done that shows how exercise in general promotes great physical and mental health throughout life.
One thing to keep in mind is that excessive weight training in middle school is not recommended. The saying that weight training can “stunt your growth” is true to an extent.
As Dr. Rob Raponi states on Healthline, “misconception that lifting weights stunts growth likely stems from the fact that injuries to growth plates in immature bones can stunt growth”.
So it is very important for the middle schooler to take the proper steps to stay safe while performing these exercises.
Before every weight training session, the middle schooler should prepare their body for the exercises to avoid injury. This would include warming up and stretching.
The warm-ups and stretching should be done regardless of what type of workout will be done because, at the end of the day, the safety of the body is the most important thing.
When stretching, make sure you are targeting the part of your body you will be working out. Many people just do the common quick stretches they know and don’t make an effort to really target the muscle they will be working out.
So if you are working out your upper body, you should be doing upper body stretches that target the Chest, Arms, Back, and Shoulders.
When training your lower body, you should be targeting your Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings and Calves.
Watch the video below to see some stretching exercise you can do do!
When warming up before the exercises, you should know what workouts you will be performing. The warm-up is essential doing the movement for a specific workout to get the body ready.
The reason warming up is important is because your body is like a machine. When starting a machine, it usually has to warm up and build to a capacity to operate without any issues. This is the same thing for our bodies. If they are not warmed up before a workout, there can be potential problems.
For example, if you are doing a bench press, you should do push-ups before doing any sets with the barbell. Since the bench press targets the chest and arms, doing pushups will get that part of the body ready.
Or if you are doing squats with the bar, the warm up should be air squats so the legs can be ready.
What Type of Weight Training Should a Middle Schooler Do?
When someone starts their fitness journey into the gym, they should go in knowing what type of training they will be focused on. For middle schoolers, they should be focused on the aspect of health rather than looks.
I say this because many young teens that have weight trained for looks tend to ego lift (lifting more weight than they can handle) and end up hurting themselves.
To avoid all that, the middle schooler should be focused on using the gym as a path to a healthier life rather than a place to look good.
Before getting into what type of training someone should do, we need to first understand the ways some can.
The 2 most common ways someone in the gym can train would either be strength or hypertrophy training.
Hypertrophy Training: When training in a way that promotes a lot of muscle growth
Strength Training: Training focused on mostly building strength
They need to also know what type of exercises should be done to target a specific muscle or muscle group. The reason for that is if you are doing an exercise that involves multiple muscle groups, you will not have to focus on too many workouts that only target a single muscle.
Exercise that target multiple muscle groups are called Compound workouts.
- Benchpress (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
- Pull-ups (Back and Biceps)
Exercise that target a single muscle are called Isolation workouts.
- Bicep Curls (Biceps)
- Shoulder Raises (Shoulder)
So with that in mind, the middle schooler should have their goal in mind before choosing their workouts.
Middle School Weight Training Lesson Plans
1. Bench Press
The first exercise we will get into would be the bench press. This exercise targets the chest, arms, and shoulders. It is a great exercise that increases strength and it targets multiple parts of the upper body.
- Lay down on the bench with your feet planted on the floor.
- While laying down, place your hand on the bar and make sure your elbows are slightly tucked in close to your body.
- Retract your shoulder back to avoid injury and then press up with the bar.
- As you bring the bar down closer to your body, make sure you are controlling the weight and not going too heavy.
- Once the bar reaches around 6 inches away from your body, press up again.
- Once you are down with the set, rerack the bar on the stand above you.
Squats are the best lower body exercises anyone can do. They target all the muscles in the legs and it helps strengthen the explosives energy in the lower body when performing a sport or task that involves movement.
- Stand with the bar on your neck/shoulder/trap muscle area.
- Place your hands on the bar and walk back a step to get away from the rack
- With your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly out, you will squat down.
- Make sure your back is straight as you are going down.
- Once you reach a point where your glutes are almost parallel to your knees, you will drive your self up again.
The next exercises targets the whole body which is why it should be done with every weight training lesson plan.
- Stand with the barbel down in front of you with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- While keeping your back straight, bend lower and grab the bar.
- Pull the bar up and stand straight while squeezing your back.
- Then bend down again with your back staying straight and let the bar touch the floor.
Pull-ups are a great workout to strengthen the back muscles and is a really great body movement exercise. It also targets the biceps which makes this workout an excellent “pull” exercise.
- Stand under the pull-up bar and place your hand on the bar with your hands facing in or out.
- Then let your body hang and pull up with all your strength
- Make sure you feel your body stretch fully to activate the muscle fully
5. Shoulder Press
The shoulder press is a great compound movement that strengthens the shoulders and helps with overall strength.
- Stand with the bar in front of you and make sure your legs are shoulder-width apart.
- Place your hands where you can feel the grip of the bar.
- Once ready, raise the bar from the rack and take a step back to have space.
- Raise the bar above your head and then bring it back to where the bar and your nose are parallel then press up again.
Working out is something that brings many positives with it. Setting up a middle school weight training lesson plan for kids that age can be beneficial for them if they are in a sport or want to get involved in physical activities.
Many people think it’s way too early to have a middle school train in the gym. That’s like saying teaching a 13-year-old how to drive. But in reality, starting things early isn’t such a bad idea as long as there is preparation and guidance.
Making sure to prepare before the workout by stretching and warming up is important because it will help prevent injury which is the last thing we want.
For anyone reading this that is a middle schooler or a parent of a middle schooler that is thinking about going through a workout plan, just remember that with the proper steps and guidance, great things can come out of it.