Myths and Benefits (Strength Training For Kids)
Up until recent years, strength training for kids has been a bit of a taboo subject.
Common myths about risking growth plate damage and lack of safety still persist in the general population.
Yet evidence has been building to suggest that not only is strength training for junior athletes quite safe, but it can be vital in improving performance and reducing the risk of injury.
Here are 3 common myths about strength training for kids, as well as 3 major benefits.
1. Stunts Growth
This myth has absolutely no evidence to support it. This has been researched extensively and results suggest that well supervised and appropriately programmed strength training has no negative impact on skeletal growth in kids and adolescents.
Well-meaning parents often consider resistance training unsafe for kids while allowing them to play high impact sports with jumping, sprinting and collisions. The truth is that young athletes are much less likely to be injured in the gym as compared with many popular sports. Well supervised strength training in a controlled environment has been shown to be safer than the dynamic and unpredictability of the sporting field.
3. Need to be 15-16
If kids are capable of participating in organised sports then they are generally ready to join a supervised resistance training program. As soon as a child starts school at around 6 years of age, they may be ready to start age-appropriate strength training. However, all kids are different and the overriding factor is their ability to take directions and be safe in the gym environment. At Highlite Hi-Performance Academy (HPA) we have a rough starting age of 9yrs old.
Resistance training will help junior athletes gain muscular strength, power and speed. Most of these qualities are highly valued in most sports and will improve overall sports performance. Obviously, for most sports, the best way to improve performance will always be practising skills and tactics, however, the physical capabilities which are nurtured in a strength training environment can be the foundation of continued success.
2. Injury Reduction
With gains in muscular strength as well as the acquisition of more efficient movement patterns, junior athletes can reduce their risk of sustaining injury in their chosen sport. Additionally, prehab and activation exercises which supplement a strength program can rectify imbalances and create further resilience.
Apart from the obvious physiological benefits, participating in strength training can have significant positive psychological and social benefits. Junior athletes gain confidence by performing tasks they previously thought impossible. The gym is a positive environment where personal bests are easily measured and can be achieved on a regular basis. In HPA we train junior athletes from a wide range of sports, which means our kids are widening their social circles and breaking out of their single sport bubbles.
For further reading, check out the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association’s position stand on youth strength training.
What You Can Do
If you know a junior athlete wanting to take their game to the next level, the HPA program is designed specifically for them! Sessions are at 3:45 pm and 4:15 pm every weekday. Contact us for more info.