How young is ‘too young’ to start training?: Part 1
The age at which it is appropriate for youth athletes (people under the age of 18) to participate in strength and conditioning training has long been a debated topic. The purpose of this article is to show that, conducted in the right environment, youth athlete strength and conditioning is perfectly safe and reduces sports-related injuries. So what are the facts?
Benefits of Resistance Training
It seems that for many parents the prevailing view is that youths should not undertake resistance training as doing so may harm their physical development. Yet it’s unlikely that many of these same parents would think twice about letting their son or daughter play on a climbing frame (such as monkey bars, pulling themselves up, or jumping off onto the ground) in the local park even though this is still resistance based, just with the child’s bodyweight as the resistance.
Support of Strength and Conditioning National Bodies
In recent years, many national strength and conditioning bodies have issued updated position statements on the topic of youth strength and conditioning . More and more research is concluding that it is perfectly safe for youths to undertake strength and conditioning as long as it is appropriately prescribed and supervised .
It is not the undertaking of strength and conditioning training that is in itself dangerous; rather, it is the fact that youth athletes, left unsupervised, adopt poor training modalities with unsafe technique and dangerous loads, leading to injuries. It is therefore imperative that this training is part of an appropriately structured training programme conducted in a safe environment .
Reduced Injury Risk of Resistance Training