Author(s): Dahab KS, McCambridge TM
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Abstract CONTEXT: Strength training in children, in combination with plyometric and/or agility training, has become an increasingly popular tactic for athletes to gain a competitive edge during the off-season. The present review clarifies some common myths associated with strength training in children, and it outlines the most current recommendations. EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: Relevant studies on strength training in children and adolescents were reviewed (search results included studies indexed in PubMed and MEDLINE from 1980 through 2008). Also reviewed were recommendations from consensus guidelines and position statements applicable to strength training in youth. RESULTS: Children can improve strength by 30\% to 50\% after just 8 to 12 weeks of a well-designed strength training program. Youth need to continue to train at least 2 times per week to maintain strength. The case reports of injuries related to strength training, including epiphyseal plate fractures and lower back injuries, are primarily attributed to the misuse of equipment, inappropriate weight, improper technique, or lack of qualified adult supervision. CONCLUSION: Youth-athletes and nonathletes alike-can successfully and safely improve their strength and overall health by participating in a well-supervised program. Trained fitness professionals play an essential role in ensuring proper technique, form, progression of exercises, and safety in this age group.
This article was published in Sports Health
and referenced in Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy