Strength Development for Young Adolescents

  •  Larry W. McDaniel    
  •  Allen Jackson    
  •  Laura Gaudet    


Participation in strength training is important for older children or young adolescences who wish to improve fitness or participate in sports. When designing strength training programs for our youth this age group is immature anatomically, physiologically, and psychologically. For the younger or inexperienced group the strength training activities may include push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, or pull-ups without barbells or dumbbells. These activities employ one’s body weight as resistance. After training at this level those who demonstrate progress may move to machines that provide resistance or dumbbells. When the preparation is sports related the training goals should focus on developing power and strength related to sport specific skills. These types of exercises may be used for those who are entering puberty. Remember, muscle balance must be maintained at all times. Strength training activities should be supervised by those with education and experience in these areas. Although some injuries occur in most physical activities the American College of Sports Medicine supports young adolescences and children's participation in appropriately designed and competently supervised strength training programs. Although all participants should understand the risks and benefits of strength training, a young child should not be expected to comprehend the intricacies of muscle action. Focus on lifetime fitness and teach kids how to exercise properly. Provide a stimulating program that develops in our youth a positive attitude towards strength training and a healthy lifestyle. Benefits include increasing muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition and sports performance. The primary objectives throughout all levels of youth training are safety, fitness, health, and enjoyment.

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