Research evidence continues to define the unique health- and performance-related benefits of resistance exercise for children and adolescents. While the effectiveness of resistance exercise in increasing muscle strength and motor skill performance has been demonstrated repeatedly, current scientific evidence indicates that the right “dose” of resistance exercise can enhance physical performance in young athletes and reduce the risk of developing cardiometabolic disease. The papers discussed in this commentary add to our understanding of the potential benefits of youth resistance exercise by defining dose-response relationships for key training variables, exploring sex-specific adaptations to this type of training, and examining the relationship between muscular strength early in life and cardiometabolic risk later in life. Noteworthy is the identification of unique, sex-specific thresholds for normalized strength to detect high risk cardiometabolic phenotypes in youth. New insights indicate that stronger boys and girls will be better prepared for sport and for life.
The author is with the Dept. of Health and Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ.