Should Youth Athletes Strength Train?
Updated: Jan 9, 2019
Is it safe for youth athlete's to strength train? YES! Strength training can help prevent injuries as well as improve sports performance. Other benefits include increased muscle and bone strength, greater endurance, and improved confidence. Strength training does not necessarily mean lifting heavy weights. It could be body weight exercises, medicine balls, resistance bands, and dowel rods. What’s most important is proper technique and form. Children as young as eight can begin strength training; however, most parents wait until the athlete is ten. This is an age when children are able to follow direction better and are more aware of their bodies.
So how do you start a youth exercise program for your young athlete? The first thing to remember is a child’s training program is not a scaled down version of an adult’s program. What parents do in a gym is not necessarily what a youth athlete should be doing. Secondly, it’s best to seek advice from a professional trainer who has experience working with youth clients. Many fitness facilities offer a youth specialized program taught by certified professionals from accredited organizations like the National Academy of Sports Medicine or the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
A few last tips for success are: always warm up and cool down, keep it light, stress proper technique and form, supervise, and most of all make it fun!