Strength Training for Children and Adolescents


There was a long-held belief that resistance training such as weight machines, free weights etc was only suitable for adults and should be avoided by children and adolescents. We now know for fact that this is untrue.

The latest research proposed recommendations for children and adolescents to perform some form of strength training exercises a minimum of three times weekly. This does not have to be in a formal gym setting. Strength training is often incorporated into training sessions for various sports or as part of the exercise performed during physical education in school. Even for kids not enrolled in sports, resistance training exercises on their own will provide lots of benefits.

Young athlete training

Addressing Misconceptions

It is often important to address some misconceptions with parents and coaches:

✓ IN FACT, strength training exercises in the youth are perfectly safe, provided they have the correct technique and training loads just as would be recommended in adults.

Growth plate injuries are actually more common in some youth sports than in strength training and, again, is attributed to incorrect technique or training loads.

✓ IN FACT, strength training has been show to improve certain aspects of performance in children: speed, jump height, agility, and motor skill.

Strength training has also reduced the risk of injury in many child and adolescent soccer studies.

✓ IN FACT, children (both boys and girls equally) can become stronger within 8-12 weeks of strength exercises.

Children’s muscles may not grow in size very much, but they become more efficient at contracting.

✓ IN FACT, strength training is a great activity on its own and is one exercise option that can be used to address obesity.