Children & Resistance Training - Part 2
Brendan Chaplin examines the statement: Do children and adolescents need resistance training?
Fact or Fallacy: Children should not train with weights? There are a few questions to be answered in this debate which are:
Do they need resistance training?
Although I would say that young people who want to improve sports performance will generally benefit more from practicing and perfecting skills of the sport than from resistance training. In the days of sports being taken extremely seriously from a young age, the value of strength training to the young performer is increasingly important.
Take the early specialization high skill sports such as tennis, badminton, soccer, and many more. Rightly or wrongly participants are often undertaking ten or more hours of one sport per week, and becoming very skilled at these sports. However, the time spent developing sports-specific actions also creates asymmetries and imbalances, meaning that injuries frequently occur in these juniors.
I am not in favour of early specialization; my view is that children should play as many sports as they can, and I would hope to go down this path with my kids. But it appears that I am in the minority, and these injuries are occurring in some of these sports.
If you are working with these sports as a trainer or S&C coach, you have to take the line of it is unethical not to be strengthening the key areas to give these kids a chance to continue playing.
On top of that, you have a more sedentary youth population nowadays. It is all well and good saying play sports but are they going to do it? Parents look to trainers and S&C coaches to provide that physical stimulus to their children as they will not get it elsewhere. It is a niche that is growing and includes fun and challenging work for us coaches.
Even in the late specialization sports such as rugby union, the argument is the same, just a little more delayed.
Here is a quote from the RFU (2007) position statement of youth strength training:
If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:
About the Author
Brendan Chaplin is currently Head of Strength and Conditioning at Leeds Metropolitan University. In this role, Brendan oversees all performance programs across the university as well as leading on the GB Badminton High-Performance Program, Yorkshire Jets Superleague netball, Women's FA through the English Institute of Sport, and Rugby League. Brendan is also the regional lead for TASS where he delivers and co-ordinates delivery for all funded athletes based at the Leeds Hub site. He also consults with England Golf and works with a wide variety of athletes from martial artists to cyclists, children, and adolescents alike. Before his current role, Brendan has worked with many governing bodies and institutions including British Tennis, Huddersfield Giants, English Institute of Sport, Durham University, and many more.