Strongest Kids

By Amelie R.

*I have some video links below the post. I summarize them throughout the post and links are provided so feel free to watch them as you read.

A family in the States has been named the strongest family in the world. Nick and Cali Best are both Strongman contestants. They train many hours a day and push themselves to extremes to increase their strength. They have two children, Dylan (age 11) and JJ (age 5). What is controversial about this family is that Nick and Callie both push their children to do heavy strength training along with them. Dylan can easily do deadlifts and Olympic lifts with ease. He routinely deadlifts 130lbs. A grown woman deadlifting that weight would have excellent strength. JJ can do one arm pushups and has lifted 100 lbs. To put it into context, a 5 year old is suggested to lift 1 pound dumbbells. Also to compensate for this increase in activity, both Dylan and JJ eat twice the amount of their daily recommended calorie intake.

For years, strength training has been prescribed to improve the quality of life of many individuals. It improves bone strength, overall heart health, and mental health to name a few. The main concern with these children is that they are beginning to train far too intensely for their age. Children haven’t fully developed their nervous system yet, and are still not fully aware of their always changing bodies. Lifting weights takes much coordination, balance and awareness of one’s limits. If pushed too far, it can cause injury. You also have to wonder a bit if the parents are pushing their children too far with their own obsession. In the video, you can see that Dylan is trying to lift a pair of 85lb dumbbell weights. Nick Best watches him and encourages him to keep lifting despite Dylan having a terrible form (rounded back) and obviously struggling with the weight. Nick himself admits to be obsessed with lifting weights and becoming stronger. He appears to be pushing them so hard that he is blinded by the idea that perhaps he may be putting his children at risk. Putting high expectations on children that are unrealistic can be detrimental to youth development. These kids could feel that there is no other option other than lift weights like their parents. This could really restrict these kids.

One comforting thing is that the kids appear to be enthusiastic about lifting, which will help them develop a good attitude towards exercise later in life. Another child similar to Dylan and JJ is a boy named Aaron, also from the United States. His father coaches him to achieve records for competitive weight lifting. In one video, he is shown squatting 48kg (105 lbs). His father pushes him hard, but does show concern about hitting his child’s limit. I do believe that this sort of competitive exercise is good for children, and it makes for an early start in the child’s athletic career. The only concern I have is that the parent must be aware of the child’s limits and understand that they might not want to push themselves to their maximum potential like the parent. Also, understanding body self-awareness is key. I remember hitting my growth spurt and my coordination faltered. Training for really young kids like JJ should be focused more towards learning and perfecting the basic movements, not to attain records. I also think that these parents should discuss priorities. For Nick and Callie Best, their lives are completely surrounded by strength building. School work, friends, and free play were never mentioned in any of the videos. I hope that these kids can have fun and down time away from the constant training they are assigned to do. Strongest family in the world Strongest kid

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3 Responses to Strongest Kids

  1. ashleylegresley says:

    Ashley LeGresley
    Like the children in Amelie’s article, many of us are involved in sports or activities that our parents were invovled in as children. This only makes sense because as children, our parents are our first role models, and what they are doing, WE want to do too.
    This is a great base for them to learn the sports we like, we should also try to broaden their options and get our children involved in various sports so that they themselves can figure out what their niche is. Parents don’t just have to put their child in a sport to see if it intrigues their interest. Simply by taking them to a game to watch, can peak their interest enough for them to want to try it out for themselves.
    Although as Amelie already stated, the children in her article will have a good base for a healthy lifestyle full of exercise, it will be detrimental as their bodies aren’t suitable for this type of exercise and rigorous training. Their bodies are only beginning to develop and they need time to mature both mentally and physically.
    Parents should involve their children in age appropriate activites, both that are individual and team based, so that they can learn to work by themselves and in a team setting. With a good combination of both, they will develop into healthy, well-rounded individuals with a wide variety of assets for both sports and life.

  2. ahaiart says:

    Great article Amelie.
    It is interesting to see a family dynamic like this one. There are many positives and potential negatives that could result from their lifestyle. I believe it just depends on what you put more value towards. In my opinion, the family bring some great ideas and understandable reasons why they live that way.
    There are many positives that result from this family dynamic. I think it is great that they all share certain values and activities as a family. This will instil a strong family structure as the parents and other sibling have a strong impact on their daily life. The childs’ support systems would be developed as they are a strong knit. Also, I believe they learn certain character traits like perseverance and work ethic. It is apparent that these children work very hard(not to mention enjoy) and are very committed to their activity. Another indirect positive would be learning to eat healthy and understanding what nutrients are good for the body. As you may have noticed, I did not mention the positives from actual lifting the weights because for me, it is not as important. I believe their assets are important for developing and there is potential for that in their lifestyle.
    However, there are many potential negative outcomes to this lifestyle. As you mentioned, Amelie, there can be physical repercussions when children lift weights. It is advised that children stick with bodyweight exercises(push ups, burpees, pull ups, running) as the body is still developing. Also, parent intervention can lead to experiencing activities in a different way. It can also lead to burn-out as lifting consumes their life even at the household. Another problem is that the children seem to have no social life with other children. It seems like they have skipped childhood and live as professional weight lifters.
    This article was great, I really enjoyed the videos. It was interesting to see family dynamics in a different life. The way that the children and parents socialize show us that we all have different ways of developing into productive members of todays society.
    Alex Haiart

  3. JosiahM says:

    It is quite the feat that the Best family works out that much. They are some strong people with some impressive physical attributes. As far as family support in the Best family, it seems to be in abundance. The parents encourage the kids in their weightlifting. However, weightlifting before the teen years is not a good idea. These kids are potentially damaging their bodies by lifting weights like they do. The amount of food they eat is simply because the amount that they work out, so that is not as much of an issue. The parents have high expectations for the kids, which are resulting in the unhealthy influence of weight training at such young ages. The Best kids need to play and more instead of training like miniature professional athletes.
    Josiah M.

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