Strength training for children and adolescents is important. There is a time and a place for strength training to occur. Most importantly technique with strength training is what makes the difference of it being a recommendation versus shied away from. Gray Cook explains it best: “Don’t add strength to dysfunction”. The problem with strength training for children or adolescents is only when there is dysfunction. When the technique is taught properly, and any dysfunction is corrected, when need-be, then strength training for children is strongly encouraged!
In recent years, it has become evident that more and more females are involved in resistance training programs. Whether women are training at all-female centers such as Curves for Women, or working out at the local YMCA, there is an increase in the number of women resistance training.
We have come a long way from when you only saw men in the weight room pumping the iron. Not only have women joined the brigade, but even teenagers and children have become involved. Now that people are beginning to train in this fashion, it becomes more and more important to educate the newer population in training the right way to get the results they want and need.
Resistance training does not necessarily mean squatting hundreds of pounds or doing bicep curls until your arm falls off. Instead, resistance training is performing exercises in which you put a stress on your body which then forces your body to adapt to the stress to be able to perform such a task. This may include exercises such as push-ups, body-weight squats, or lunges that do not even require any additional weight as your body alone provides enough resistance to gain adaptations.
Resistance training for female athletes is especially important even at a young age. This helps build a foundation from which the athlete can then perfect her sport-specific goals. It creates a muscular balance in young girls for movements they perform in all planes of motion. This is necessary in order for females to participate at a high level of sport performance because the best players are able to efficiently move in all planes while playing their sport.
Beyond sports performance, resistance training is effective in injury prevention. Each exercise learned in the proper way will help a young girl learn the proper biomechanics and movement patterns to be successful and injury-free. Proper form for running, jumping, and more becomes habit quickly. Female athletes are thought to be eight times more likely to suffer knee injuries than male athletes. This may be linked to strength and flexibility imbalances in the lower limb. Both imbalances can easily be corrected if the problems are addressed with proper training.
Young girls who are interested in beginning a new resistance program must have proper education and supervision in order to prevent injury and excel in their performance. Every individual is unique, and so must be each one’s training program. In is absolutely necessary for proper biomechanics to be taught to female athletes ages 10-18 before they progress to more complex activities on and off the field.
Resistance training is extremely beneficial for youth and adolescent female athletes when trained properly. The results are tremendous in preventing injuries and gaining speed, strength, agility, and more, which translates to successful play in sport.
I’m ready to help you or your daughter get on the right track to athletic safety and success.
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