Many parents worry about the possible dangers of strength training for young athletes. Whether it’s safety concerns or concerns about adolescent growth and health affects, we understand that parents are only trying to protect their children. That’s why we feel it’s so important to share the right information so parents can make informed decisions and help their youth athletes achieve their goals.
Here are six benefits of strength training for young athletes:
1. Create a Foundation for the Future
Strength training plays a significant role in ensuring that young athletes develop motor skills, understand muscle mechanics and become more coordinated, stable and strong as they progress through their athletic careers.
Athletes go through a number of changes during adolescence. Many fundamentals for long-term athletic development are established. As such, it is imperative that young athletes are proficient in movement basics so that their platform for growth and development continues along an upward trend.
2. Reduce the Risk of Injury
In building foundational strength training knowledge, young athletes have a better understanding of muscle mechanics and training with proper form. Proper technique during weight training with all athletes is about safety and preventing injury. It’s never the weight that injures someone. It’s usually improper lifting of the weight. The technique an athlete learns first is the technique they will use all along. If it is learned incorrectly, even with light weight, an athlete might not get injured that day, but later down the line this can become a serious risk. Executing a lift with proper form, whether it’s light weight or heavy weight, is crucial for safety in youth strength training.
Additionally, strength training for young athletes builds injury resiliency as they improve joint flexibility, tendon strength and core strength.
3. Increase Strength
Of course, strength training during adolescence can result in impressive strength gains. In fact, it’s commonly recognized that increases in muscular strength seen in adolesce exceed those gained in older athletes. While a progressive strength training program is always recommended for young athletes, it’s greatly beneficial to have kids begin bodyweight exercises and training with resistance bands as early as age 7.
4. Build Self-Esteem
Quite possibly one of the greatest benefits of strength training for young athletes is the impact on self-esteem and self-confidence. Studies have shown an increase in positive self image with regular strength training. The rigors of a strength program, within reason, help a young athlete gain focus, attention and dedication. They see what their body can do that it couldn’t do before. All that in addition to improved body composition from their training. The resulting confidence and self-esteem helps them not only in their sport, but in all avenues of life.
5. Improve Sports Performance
A stronger athlete is a better athlete. Often, we see parents and coaches hyper-focused on sport-specific training when in actuality, greater benefits can be seen with a well-rounded program, especially for younger athletes.
Youth athletes do not have the strength, endurance, or stability of their muscles and joints to properly or efficiently perform many sports skills. Sport-specific training at a young age can actually result in muscle imbalances and improper training technique.
You most likely won’t see your young athletes putting on substantial size, but they will have the capability to get stronger due to a more functional nervous system.
Strength training for young athletes supports optimal mobility, stability, coordination, strength, and movement efficiency. In the sports arena, this results in improved speed, agility, quickness and conditioning.
6. Add Variety to Activities
We always have to remember we’re dealing with kids – they want to have fun! While kids are becoming more goal-oriented and dedicated at a younger age these days, it’s so important for coaches and parents alike to be aware of, and avoid, athlete burnout. One of the best ways of doing this is by mixing up the training routine for kids. This way, youth don’t feel like they are always practicing and playing their sport, but they know they are still working toward improving their skills.
Youth Strength Training & Athletic Performance
Are you a young athlete looking to learn more about proper strength training? Or a coach wanting to ensure your youth athletes are training safely and in a way that results in maximal strength gains and athletic performance? Then the Strength for Speed Membership is perfect for you!
The membership features an extensive library of 30+ strength training videos covering the basics of body mechanics, breathing technique and proper execution of the most important strength training exercises for developing speed, including the deadlift, squat, lunge technique and upper body training essentials.