While I have a lot of ideas about what to write about when it comes to health and fitness, too often I witness some crazy stuff going on in the gyms and I need to write about them. I guess this is my way of venting while hopefully educating someone along the way. Today was no different in the gym. While I was using the bench press today, I was watching a Dad and his two sons, who were aged roughly 10 and 13 years old, in between sets. He was taking his kids through a strenous, high volume upper body workout; the kind Arnold “Get to the Chopper” Schwarzenegger did back in the 70’s. The ‘Ol man was wearing a Cornhusker (nothing against the Huskers) wrestling sweatshirt, and I was thinking, “Oh man, I bet he is training his kids like he trained back in his college days.” He was having them perform a tri-set (3 subsequent exercises completed right after the other) of bench press, close grip pushups, and incline bench press!!! Not to be outdone, this crazy father then told his oldest boy to perform one-armed push-ups with his feet elevated on a bench! The kid tried about the three times and collapsed miserably in failure. It took nearly everything I had to not say anything, but I did make several stares in that direction and turned my head away with a disapproving head shake (I know, I know, bad ass).
I know the father had good intentions with his sons, but the truth is he was doing more harm than good. When kids are that age, they need to learn how to move correctly with there bodyweight prior to loading with external resistance. They need to have sound fundamental movement patterns, keep/develop their youthful mobility/flexibility, and they need to have fun. They do not need to be training for a specific sport; they need to simply become more athletic. Hell, nowadays they need to turn off the PS3 and XBOX and get off the couch and just move!
I promise all fathers out there, nothing will kill your kid’s desire to work hard in the weightroom faster than taking them through a bodybuilder’s strength training routine. First off, they need to have fun, secondly they need to run, hop, skip, jump, throw, and catch (with good movement patterns). With a foundation of fundamentals under their belts, the kids will develop into better athletes.