Should or shouldn’t young athletes lift weights?

USP - Should or shouldn't young ahtletes lift weights

There’s a long standing myth that young athletes shouldn’t undertake resistance training because it causes injury and stunts their growth…any resistance training program that is poorly designed or executed without adequate supervision by a qualified professional coach or trainer with appropriate progressive overload can be dangerous for anyone irrespective of age…

If resistance training is performed correctly the opposite is true! Scientific research by Faugenbaum and my own personal coaching experiences suggests that young athletes can and should undertake resistance training because:

Kobe Cummings ruck contest

1. It allows the preferential development of Fast Twitch Muscle Fibres and allows the junior athletes to transfer their muscle fibres to as fast twitch as genetically possible.

2. Athletes that begin resistance training earlier tend to have a higher peak power outputs which is advantageous to the young athlete.

3. It helps with joint stabilisation and integrity and reduces the chance of injury. Kobe Cummings plays 2 age groups up and finished runner up in the Brisbane League Under 12 best and fairest awards last week as an 11 year old.

Kobe Cummings Runner Up best and Fairest 3 age groups up

Small in stature but big in heart, determination and ability! 13 Chin Ups at 11 years of age in less than 3 months training with USP in our Junior Elite Athlete program.

Many coaches only use one method of overload i.e. they keep increasing the weight an athlete lifts. Elite coaches know there are many ways to progress an athlete and 1 method that I picked up from Queensland Academy of Sport Strength and Conditioning Coach Kelvin Giles, Lachlan Penfold, Dean Benton and Long Term Athlete Development guru Istvan Balyi, was to increase exercise complexity.

Methods of Progression for Long Term Athletic Strength Development

Check out young Kobe Cummings busting out his chin ups here.

Their 80 years combined coaching numerous junior athletes to the Olympic Level, suggests that modifying the grip, body angle, bar position or changing the stance/posture, implement, limb involvement and plane to be superior stimulus rather increasing load in young developing athletes.

All the best,

Joey Hayes

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