Resistance Training and Youth

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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The use of resistance training for children has increased in popularity and interest. It appears that children are capable of voluntary strength gains. Exercise prescription in younger populations is critical and requires certain program variables to be altered from adult perspectives. Individualization is vital, as the rate of physiological maturation has an impact on the adaptations that occur. The major difference in programs for children is the use of lighter loads (i.e., > 6 RM loads). It appears that longer duration programs (i.e., 10-20 wks) are better for observing training adaptations. This may be due to the fact that it takes more exercise to stimulate adaptational mechanisms related to strength performance beyond that of normal growth rates. The risk of injury appears low during participation in a resistance training program, and this risk is minimized with proper supervision and instruction. Furthermore, with the incidence of injury in youth sports, participation in a resistance training program may provide a protective advantage in one’s preparation for sports participation.

This paper was developed from a presentation at the 1989 annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Baltimore, in a symposium titled “Training Adaptations and Cautions in Pre- and Post-Pubescent Children” organized and chaired by Bo Fernhall.

W.J. Kraemer and A.C. Fry are with the Center for Sports Medicine, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802. B. Conroy and J. Hoffman are with the Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Sport, Leisure and Exercise Sciences, The University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269. P.N. Frykman is presently with the Exercise Physiology Division, USARIEM, Natick, MA 01760.