Resistance training and the appropriate age to perform weight training has been a long-debated issue when it comes to the youth population.
Many parents are afraid to let their young athletes participate in resistance training programs because they have heard that it will stunt their growth, which is the furthest thing from the truth. Research has shown that stress put on the growth plates from a resistance training program can help with bone formation and growth. Along with the improvements in bone health, are the significant increases in muscular and connective tissue strength. Improvements in speed, power, and the reduced likelihood of injuries are also well documented and proven benefits.
Improvements in muscular strength helps the body learn to withstand and absorb more external force during sport diminishing the potential for injury. Changing direction can put a lot of stress on our body and improving our strength not only allows us to better deal with physical stress, but it will help us change direction quicker and with more power. The stronger we are the more force we can put into the ground thus improving our acceleration and speed.
Improved neural system development (enhanced recruitment and the rate the signals travel from the brain to the muscles) are also seen during resistance training in youth athletics. Many of the initial changes that take place in the body are strictly neural, which help our body to move more efficiently and help prevent the likelihood of injury. When practicing sport specific movements, with regards to weight training, our brain becomes much more efficient at telling our muscles how to perform these movements correctly. The longer we perform these movements incorrectly, the harder these deficiencies are to fix and the more likely they become ingrained movement patterns. It is essential to teach our children proper movement mechanics through resistance training at a young age. Weight training aids in establishing the foundation that is essential for improving performance and the reduction in the incidence of injury.
The physiological changes that can be achieved through training with weights are also accompanied by improvements in our health as wellbeing. Body image can be a huge confidence issue at a young age, and weight training is a proven way for a young athlete to improve their body composition and confidence. Mental health and positive self-image will always be an issue for a lot of young athletes, and resistance training is a great way to improve some of these difficult issues. Immediate changes can be seen in a child’s self-efficacy as they see their body change and their performance improve.
“You have to believe to achieve!”
Increased performance correlates directly with increases in output and participation. Increased activity and resistance training exercises even help reduce some of the markers for cardiovascular disease that affect us later in life. With a reduction in over all body fat our young athletes can improve their insulin sensitivity which can help reduce their chances for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Even with the numerous benefits resistance training provides, there is still however a certain maturity level required to follow a structured program. If your child is ready, mentally and physically, there are many benefits a professionally coached weight resistance program has to offer. Parents and coaches are constantly inundated by horror stories of injuries and accidents that occur due to poorly supervised or inexperienced weight room supervision. Don’t let false information, conjecture or outdated incorrect myths cloud your views, find out the facts! You have to dive into the research! We are doing a disservice to many of our young athletes by not letting them learn how to weight train the correct way and enabling them to get the most out of their potential. This will only be achieved by finding an experienced, certified, degreed strength and conditioning coach who can safely progress your athlete and get them strong while keeping them safe and healthy. Allow Performance Edge’s certified and degree coaching staff to assist you in developing your potential. “Result’s Aren’t Guaranteed…They’re Earned!”