Resistance Training Young Athletes
Resistance training can improve a young athlete’s potential by preparing him to learn complex movements, master sports tactics, and step up to the demands of training and competition, according to a 2016 study analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Furthermore, strength training actually reduces the chances of a kid getting injured playing a sport, according to a meta-analysis in Current Sports Medicine Reports. In fact, mere sports training isn’t enough for kids to make the neuromuscular gains they need to prevent injury and promote lifelong health, that same analysis found. Kids actually need additional activity.
So how young is too young? Most kids are ready to start intentionally building strength by 7 or 8 years old. The only real concern? Whether a child is emotionally ready for training.
Beyond setting young athletes up for success, though, strength training has a long-term effect on a kid’s development—inactive kids become inactive teens, and then inactive adults, research also shows. And since kids today are weaker than their peers were a few decades ago, the earlier they become active, the better.