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Weight training for young athletes

Strength and conditioning is a key element of technical training for adults and there has been much debate about whether weights or resistance training is appropriate for young people.

The current position on youth resistance training is that a properly designed and supervised training program is safe and can help to increase strength, prevent injury, and enhance motor skills and performance. It is very important that coaches of juniors at any level have a clear understanding of what should and shouldn’t be done.

In 2003 Narelle Sibte, Australian Institute of Sport Strength and Conditioning coach provided an article for the Australian Sports Commission’s Sports Coach magazine about pre adolescent strength training. Key recommendations from the article include:

  • Strength training for pre-adolescent athletes should focus on skills and technique
  • Children should work on strengthening all the big muscle groups, using free weight and body weight movements with relatively light loads
  • Adolescents should initially perform one to three sets of 6-15 repetitions of a variety of exercises, beginning with a frequency of 2-3 days per week on non-consecutive days.

The full article, which includes a list of the article’s references, is available to download below.

Dr. Avery Faigenbaum is a world leader in strength and conditioning training in juniors. He has written two books and over 100 articles on fitness and conditioning, which are highly recommended reading.

For further information, including articles by Dr.Faigenbaum please check out and Should Kids Pump Iron.

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