Issue 21
Monday, 21 November 2016
Charles Darwin University
Coaches, parents and participants at the Introductory Olympic Weightlifting Junior Program
Coaches, parents and participants at the Introductory Olympic Weightlifting Junior Program

New program for NT’s future Olympic weightlifters

By Leanne Miles

Charles Darwin University sports scientists have piloted a program aimed at encouraging kids to get involved in weightlifting.

The Introductory Olympic Weightlifting Junior Program at CDU was run in conjunction with the Northern Territory Weightlifting Association and gave kids and parents the opportunity to explore the sport through engaging games and activities.

CDU lecturer in Exercise and Sports Science Dr Daniel Gahreman said the benefits of weightlifting were wide-ranging for any age, or fitness level, improving all components of physical fitness.

“Weightlifting develops strength, speed, power, flexibility, coordination, balance, muscular and cardiovascular endurance, and body composition,” Dr Gahreman said.

“These benefits are not only far-ranging for improving performance in other sports, but also for everyday life and fitness.”

Dr Gahreman said there was often a misconception about the safety of the sport.

“Olympic weightlifting is one of the safest sports for children, juniors and adults, and provides opportunities for athletes to compete at all levels from local competitions through to the Olympics,” he said. 

“With correct coaching, proper equipment and realistic expectations, strength training and weightlifting programs designed for children and adolescents are safe and beneficial.”

Dr Gahreman said that due to the success of the “Come and Try” pilot program, a nine-week program was in the works for early next year.

As part of the program next year Dr Gahreman and CDU sports science students will monitor the improvement of the new athletes.

Dr Gahreman said the program was part of a wider strategy of collaboration between CDU experts and local athletes and teams to promote the general wellbeing of Territorians through exercise. 

“We are currently working with professional cycling, BMX and swimming clubs for research purposes and to improve performance,” he said.

The 2017 Olympic Weightlifting Children’s Program will run in February 2017.