Is it safe for teens and pre teens to lift weights?
Yes! Much research has been done to investigate the importance of resistance training for teens and pre-teens. The research has shown that proper strength training develops not only the muscles and tendons, but it also has been shown to improve muscle balance, posture, flexibility and technique for motor movements. Furthermore, research tells us there are specific times in an adolescent’s development when the strength training is optimal for the greatest gains for life long mastery.
How could strength training help a teenager for their sport?
In any sport, there are specific motor movements which need to be mastered. These movements are dependent upon balance, coordination, and synchronized muscle contractions/relaxation for proper technique to occur. From the very basics of running, and jumping, the muscles need to be balanced so that the proper range of motion can be experienced, which then results in movement efficiency.
What if the muscles aren’t balanced?
When the muscles aren’t balanced, for instance between the quadriceps and the hamstrings, there is potential for injury, such as a hamstring tear, or worse-an ACL injury. If a young athlete expects to perform at an advanced level, and continues to train with structural imbalances, the young athlete is developing poor motor patterns, which could affect them later on in life.
When is the ideal period for teens to strength training?
Yes. Again, according to research, the ideal time in an adolescent’s life (window of optimal trainability) occurs after such events as Peak Height Velocity (PHV) or sudden growth spurt. During this phase, the body is a period of adaptability for strength gains. There are other for such things as speed, flexibility, and stamina. The Centre for Strength and Athlete Development will help identify those periods.