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  • Writer's picturePatrick Dossor

Strength Training for Athletic Development in Children and Teenagers: Dispelling Three Common Myths


Strong youth athlete performing kettlebell exercises for athletic development and fitness.
Strong youth athlete performing kettlebell exercises for athletic development and fitness.

Strength training is a highly effective and valuable form of exercise for young people, especially in relation to athletic development. It can improve athletic abilities such as strength, power, and speed. However, there are common myths and misconceptions about strength training in young people, which can potentially cause parents and coaches to avoid this form of exercise. These myths include concerns about stunted growth and injury risk. In this blog post, we will dispel these myths by examining the scientific evidence and explaining the benefits of strength training for athletic development in children and teenagers.


One persistent myth is that strength training stunts growth. This myth has been around for a long time and is often cited as a reason for parents and coaches to avoid strength training in children and teenagers. However, studies have shown that strength training has no negative impact on growth in young people (1,2,3). It is important to note that proper technique and supervision should always be used when strength training, as with any exercise.


Another myth is that strength training is dangerous for young people. While there is always a risk of injury with any physical activity, strength training is not inherently more dangerous than other forms of exercise. In fact, strength training can help to reduce the risk of injury by improving strength, stability, and flexibility (1). Proper technique and supervision are important to minimise the risk of injury.

A third myth is that strength training is only for athletes. This is not true. Strength training is a great form of exercise for anyone who wants to improve their overall health and fitness. It can help to improve strength, flexibility, and balance, and can also help to prevent chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease (1,2,3). In addition, strength training can be a fun and challenging activity for children and teenagers, which can help to promote lifelong physical activity habits.


It is important to note that children and teenagers should not engage in maximal lifts or 1-rep max testing. Instead, they should focus on learning proper technique and gradually increasing the weight used for each exercise over time (1). It is also important for young people to have appropriate supervision and instruction from a qualified strength and conditioning coach.


To sum it up, strength training is a safe and powerful exercise method for young individuals, offering numerous benefits for athletic development and overall health. In this blog post, we debunked three common myths surrounding strength training in young people by providing evidence-based information. By emphasising the importance of proper technique, supervision, and instruction, we aim to inspire more young individuals to embrace strength training and reap its rewards. Let's empower the next generation to unleash their potential through strength training!


We'd love to hear from you! Have you encountered any other myths about strength training in young people? Do you have any questions or personal experiences to share? Leave a comment below and let's start a conversation. Together, we can empower young athletes to reach their full potential!


 
References:

1. Faigenbaum, A. D., Lloyd, R. S., & Myer, G. D. (2016). Youth resistance training: Past practices, new perspectives, and future directions. Pediatric Exercise Science, 28(4), 437-447.

2. Lloyd, R. S., Faigenbaum, A. D., Stone, M. H., Oliver, J. L., Jeffreys, I., Moody, J. A., ... & Micheli, L. J. (2014). Position statement on youth resistance training: The 2014 International Consensus. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(7), 498-505.

3. Lloyd, R. S., Cronin, J. B., Faigenbaum, A. D., Haff, G. G., Howard, R., Kraemer, W. J., ... & Williams, M. H. (2013). National Strength and Conditioning Association position statement on long-term athletic development. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 27(8), 2439-2450.


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