When it comes to being a teenage girl, life can feel overwhelming and suffocating. With the pressures of social media, trying to balance a social life and school, and the changing of one's body, self-confidence can plummet causing girls to feel lost. Being a teenage girl in this day and age is hard enough, but now with social media causing "beauty standards" at a young age, teenage girls are criticizing themselves even more.
One thing I do praise social media for is the normalization of women in the weight room. Over the past years I have noticed a growing number of young women and teen girls wanting to lift weights or start their fitness journey. One of my favorite populations to work with is teenage girls and there are so many great benefits of girls starting to weightlift in their teenage years.
The first benefit and one of the most important is the self-confidence girls will gain as they lift. If done correctly, they can see major improvements in their endurance, strength, and muscle growth. All of these will lead not only to more self-confidence in the way their view their body, but also self-confidence in their ability. I've seen many girls that I train grow out of their shell and compliment themselves more as they are training with me. From one of my 16-year old's having the confidence to participate in our annual Lift Heavy Things event and Squat 215lbs, to one of my 14-year old's referring to her sessions as "Operation Gym Rat."
Weightlifting will help teenage girls to develop a positive body image and better self-efficacy.
Another positive of weight training for teenage girls is that they are learning positive lifelong habits. Exercising is a great habit that can be added into a weekly routine and be done for the rest of one's life. The great thing about the YMCA is there are many opportunities for teenagers to create these habits. The YMCA's of Greater Omaha offer a youth fitness class where they can learn to use the seated machines and the cardio equipment, they're allowed to join in on the group fitness classes, and some YMCA's even have specialty programs centered towards youth fitness. They can even meet with a trainer and learn about lifting towards their specific goal. Even by just adding in going to the gym once or twice a week they are learning the importance of health and creating a habit.
One of the last major benefits of weight training for teenage girls is that it is a great form of stress relief. It's amazing what accomplishing a big lift or throwing a slam ball at the floor can do. Weight training has been shown to release happy endorphins and overall, just make you feel good. I watched one of my teenage clients struggle with moving up in weight for a few weeks and, after she finally got it, she had the biggest smile on her face. Weight training is a great way for teenagers to just focus on themselves and something to put their energy into.
I highly recommend all teenage girls give weight training a try, they might just fall in love with it. Not only will it improve performance in sports, but it has major benefits in everyday life. Weight training is an amazing tool and my favorite thing about it is you don't have to be athletic to lift weights, anyone can do it! So many of my young clients aren't involved in sports at all but love weight training and coming to the gym. A good place to start is your closest Y!
Kaylee Hintz-Horan, Armbrust YMCA, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer