Strength development vital for children, especially if they partake in sporting activity 

The aim of this website is to try and enhance athletic performance through providing evidence based information and guidance to young people who wish to improve and develop into professional athletes. The programmes and blog articles available focus largely the utilisation of motor development and functional bodyweight strengthening before moving on to more complex aspects of physical development.

Everything on this website has been specifically written for aspiring young athletes, and is completely age appropriate. 

 

Everything on this website is evidence based

 

I am sure that you - as parents - may have some questions and queries regarding the safety and appropriateness of the types of training that are mentioned in this website. I am aware of many misconceptions (and myths) that are still floating around when it comes to youth training, especially strength training in particular. These myths usually lead to young athletes being hampered by poorly evidenced social ideas, which often leads to youth sportsmen and women to never reach their full potential. It is my aim to demystify these ideas and provide you with the best information I can, so that you can make an informed decision regarding the development of your child. 

The acceptance of youth strength training in adolescents has grown significantly in recent years and is now universally encouraged, despite outdated concerns regarding safety (1, 2, 3, 5, 6). Public health guidelines are currently advising young people to partake in strengthening activities, in what seems to be a positive push for this highly beneficial form of training (7, 8).  In addition, there is a relatively low risk of injury associated with age appropriate strengthening programmes (9, 11, 12).  Research is showing that the likelihood of getting injured in strength training is no greater than other sports and physical activities (12, 13). 

Previous concerns regarding youth strength training have been categorically disproved by research evidence; which states that strength training is both safe and effective so long and a training schedule is carefully planned and age appropriate (5, 9, 10, 11). It can now be stated with great confidence that strength training does not damage growth plates or stunt growth in any way. In fact, Feigenbaum (2011) notes that physical activity consisting of bodyweight exercises is likely to have a positive impact on growth during childhood and adolescence. The evidence tells us, that to be able to fully operate in various sporting situations, a child should learn both fundamental movement skills and fundamental sports skills (14).

 


References

  1. American College of Sports Medicine. (2010). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription.          Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. 
  2. Australian Strength and Conditioning Association. (2007). Resistance training for children and youth: A position stand from the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association
  3. Behm, D., Faigenbaum, A., Falk, B., and Klentrou, P. (2008). Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology position paper: resistance training in youths and adolescents. Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, 33, 547-561. 
  4. British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. (2004). BASES position statement on guidelines for resistance exercise in young people. Journal of Sports Science, 22, 383-390.
  5. Faigenbaum, A., and Myer, G. (2010). Resistance training among young athletes: safety, efficacy and injury prevention effects. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 44, 56-63. 
  6. Mountjoy, M., Armstrong, N., Bizzini, L et al (2008). IOC consensus statement: ‘Training the Elite Young Athlete’. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 18, 122-123. 
  7. Department of Health, (2004). At Least Five a Week. Evidence on the Impact of Physical Activity and its Relationship to Health. A report from the Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, London. 
  8. Department of Health and Human Services, (2008). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC.
  9. Falk, B., and Eliakim, A (2003). Resistance training, skeletal muscle and growth. Paediatric Endocrinology Review, 1, 120-127. 
  10. Malina, R (2006). Weight training in youth-growth, maturation and safety: an evidence based review. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 16, 478-487.
  11. Pierce, K., Brewer, C., Ramsey, M. et al (2008). Youth Resistance Training. Professional Strength and Conditioning 10, 9-23.
  12. Hammill, B (1994). Relative safety of weight lifting and weight training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
  13. Lavalee, M.E., and Balam, T. (2010). An overview of strength training injuries: Acute and chronic. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 9:307-313.
  14. Higgs, C., Balyi, I., Way, R., Cardinal, C., Norris, S., and Bluechardt, M. (2008). Developing Physical Literacy: A Guide for Parents and Children aged 0-12, Vancouver: Canadian Sports Centre.