Strength training refers to a specialised method of conditioning that involves a wide range of materials and activities, including dumb-bells, weight machines, medicine balls and body weight exercises that are specifically designed to enhance or maintain muscular tness. Regular participation in a strength training programme can reduce the risk of sport-related injuries in young athletes. This type of conditioning should start during childhood as a preventive measure to enhance physical fitness and prepare aspiring young athletes for the demands of sports practice and competition.
What should I know before starting my adolescent in a programme?
Adolescents should not undertake strength training on their own. They need guidance from a qualified professional to match the strength training programme to their needs, interests, and abilities.
If qualified instruction and a safe training environment are not available, athletes who train on their own are at an increased risk of injury. The key is to provide close supervision, age-related instruction, proper equipment, and a safe training environment.
What should a strength training programme include?
There is not one optimal combination of sets, repetitions and exercise for all youths. Rather, the structure of the programme, individual effort, and qualified instruction will determine results. General youth strength training guidelines include:
- Providing qualified instruction and supervision
- Making sure the exercise environment is safe and free of hazards such as loose weights to trip on
- Focusing on developing proper exercise technique beginning each session with a 5-to10 minute warm-up period
- Starting with one light set of 10 to 15 repetitions on a variety of exercises
- Performing eight to 12 exercises for the upper body, lower body, and mid section.
- Progressing to two to three sets of six to 15 repetitions, depending on needs and goals
- Increasing the resistance gradually as strength improves
- Strengthening training two to three times per week on non-consecutive days.
- Using individualised workout logs to monitor progress
Keeping the programme fresh and challenging by varying the training programme within the given guidelines of an athletic trainer or coach.