Strength Training for Youths
Strength is widely accepted as an important part of any adult athlete's programme. However, this is now also being recognised as an important part of youth development, after the stigma behind resistance training for young people has slowly dissipated.
Resistance training programmes for adults and youths have been shown to improve strength and power beyond normal levels of development (1). Strength training also has benefits to developing strong bones, regular resistance training sessions have shown to significantly increase bone mineral density and total bone mass (2).
Strength training also has many performance benefits. As muscular strength is the foundation to many athletic qualities, It has been shown to improve young people's balance, coordination, jumping and running (2).
It's important to note that young people should have experienced individuals who are qualified strength and conditioning professionals to deliver youth sessions. As the equipment, environment, and exercise technique could cause injury if not performed safely and effectively.
Depending on the facilities you have access to, youths should start off with easier exercises or very light weights to master the technique of the exercise. Once the technique is robust you can start challenging the athlete by slowly increasing the load.
It is suggested to start with 1-2 sets of 8-15 repetitions. As the young person progresses you can either increase the load on the body or change the rep range to increase the difficulty. It's also plausible to go down to as little as 5 or 6 reps for multiple sets for experienced youngsters who have built up to that volume and intensity of training.
Here is a basic bodyweight strength programme any young person could start on:
1 – Overhead Squat 1-2 Sets 8 Reps
2 – Incline Press Up 1-2 Sets 8 Reps
3 – Hip Bridge 1-2 Sets 8 Reps
4 – Resistance Band Row 1-2 Sets 8 Reps
5 – Deadbugs 1-2 Sets 8 Reps
6 – Resistance Band Woodchop 1-2 Sets 8 Reps
You can see all of these exercises performed in the video below:
If you're unsure on how to warm up correctly for a resistance training session you can watch the example video below which demonstrates an effective warm up. Perform 1-2 sets of 8 repetitions before completing the session above.
If you find any of the exercises in the warm up challenging you can remove these and swap them for static stretches while you are building up your strength levels to enable you to complete this warm up in the future at a much lower intensity.
We will be releasing a full warm up article very soon.
FALK, B, and TENENBAUM, G (1996). The effectiveness of resistance training in children: A meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 22 (3), 176-186.
FRENCH, Duncan N, JONES, Thomas, and KRAEMER, William J (2012). Strength development in youths. In: LLOYD, Rhodri, and OLIVER, Jon L. Strength and Conditioning for Young Athletes. Oxon, Routledge, 66-79.