When it comes to sports performance in youth athletes, this question is often posed…Should my child lift weights at school?

The quick and easy answer…YES, absolutely, 100%

There have been positive associations found in children and adolescents when looking at improvement in muscular fitness and bone health. One of the main positive associations is an increase self-esteem. However, the big down fall with resistance training (RT) programs is they are not taking the proper precautions to ensure children are equipped with the knowledge and physical abilities to weight train. 

A recent article published in Translational Pediatrics, outlines the requirements for good training:

EducationRegarding proper lifting techniques

It is pivotal that any child beginning a resistance training program is educated on proper mechanics of a lift prior to undergoing any excessive load. It is further imperative that an athlete become confident and competent in simple lifts prior to moving on to more dynamic or Olympic style weight training. 

Supervision—Effective supervision is key when implementing a RT program.

This is  especially true for the novel athlete but is also required for the more confident, experienced athlete as most injuries can occur with failed or improper form. 

DosingPrograms should be effective without overall taxing the youth lifter. 

For optimal performance all major muscle groups should be addressed without overly taxing the athlete. The exercises should be specific to the sport of choice, for example a youth tennis player needs strong hips, core and shoulders which should be the focus of that athletes program. Plyometric exercises should also be included as these assist in strength, power and endurance. But caution should be taken not to create any excessive load to growing tissues. 

At Delta Physical Therapy we are here to help you and your young athlete succeed whether that is on the court, field or in the weight room. It is important to ensure your athlete is given the best opportunities to excel in his/her respective sport. Our physical therapist at Delta are highly trained in breaking down simple and more complex lifts to ensure proper lifting mechanics for your child. Along with movement screening for the young athlete, we pride ourselves in open communication with physicians, coaches and parents. With a team approach you can be sure your child will excel in their desired sports and in the weight room. 

Have any concerns for your young athlete and lifter?

Bring them in to see one of our highly-qualified owners and physical therapists, Steve Levins or Kristen Glascock, for a movement assessment today!

Call 225-372-5008 or email info@deltabatonrouge.com

“Resistance training is considered safe if the training is designed appropriately for the emotional and developmental stage of the participant, rather than simply considering chronological age.” However, “competitive weight lifting is NOT recommended for children or adolescents.” 

—Resistance Training for Children and Adolescents, Translational Pediatrics (2017) 

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