Youth Resistance Training: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly—The Year That Was 2017

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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  • 1 The College of New Jersey
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The good news is that a growing body of evidence recognizes resistance training as foundational to long-term physical development. Original research and reviews published in 2017 conclude that early exposure to developmentally appropriate resistance training can improve markers of health, increase muscular fitness, enhance physical literacy, and reduce the risk of injury in young athletes. Although the papers discussed in the commentary add to our understanding of the pleiotropic benefits of youth resistance training, they also raise concerns. As measures of muscular strength and power have been found to track from childhood to adulthood, the bad news is that youth with low levels of muscular fitness tend to become weak adults who are at increased risk for functional limitations and adverse health outcomes. Furthermore, global participation in youth resistance training is falling far short of public health recommendations, and these ugly trends will likely impact the health and well-being of future generations. A change in current attitudes and common practices is urgently needed to educate parents, practitioners, and clinicians about the potential benefits of resistance training for all children and adolescents, not only young athletes.

Faigenbaum is with the Dept. of Health and Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ.

Address author correspondence to Avery D. Faigenbaum at Faigenba@tcnj.edu.
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