Does Weight-Training Benefit Young Athletes
Weight training is an essential part of athletic programs for adults. High school athletes regularly engage in resistance training as part of their practice sessions. However, the jury is still out on whether or not kids younger than thirteen actually receive any benefit at all from training with weights.
While high school aged athletes are safe to engage in strength training exercises, according to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, no child or teenage athlete should engage in heavy weight-lifting or power lifting. As a rule, lighter weights are best, adding weight very gradually and only when necessary. Risks of injury involved with heavy weights combined with possible growth inhibiting factors cancel out the use of heavy weight lifting in youth or high school sports.
The best way for kids under thirteen to train is with activity – basic calisthenics, and body-weight resistance such as pull-ups, push-ups, and monkey-bars. Athletes under thirteen are after-all, children and they want sports to be fun. Including games in practice, such as tag, are great ways for kids to warm up. Remember that stretching, mental sharpness, and let’s face it – enjoyment- are essential for any young athlete. Keep the focus there, and you’ve got a recipe for your team’s success.