How young is too young to start strength training? Physicians debate have debated this for years- is it 6 year old, 8 years old? 14 years old old? Every child is unique, therefore it depends on various factors. Is your child mature enough to successfully complete a strength training session with correct form and technique? Supervision is obviously important, as you do not want to your child performing improper movements while increasing the risk of injury. You can not have kids messing around, or in ‘show off’ mode as this has the potential to lead to lingering injuries. Parents and coaches must give improvement tips on technique while also monitoring how much their kids are lifting. Each kid is different in the amount of strength they possess and the quality of their movements. Keep in mind that what is safe for one child may not be safe for another, therefore consider age and overall strength while developing strength plans.
What about growth stunt, is it a myth or not? According to the Mayo Clinic, light weights and controlled movements are best for children as not to adversely affect growth.
I prefer to combine flexibility training with lightweight training, as this will not only increase strength, but also be a force to prevent injuries. Yoga stretches is a way to get an edge, as yoga will help to increase flexibility and prevent injury.
For younger athletes, calisthenics are the perfect introduction to strength training.
Top 8 reasons your kid athletes need to strength train via calisthenics (push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups):
- Set the building blocks for a lifetime of physical fitness.
- Thwart the risks of childhood obesity by teaching the importance of nutrition with strength training.
- Football is a demanding sport, it requires a kid athlete be in optimal shape.
- Will keep your athlete occupied during the off-season, busy getting better rather than playing video games or surfing the web.
- Will ensure your athlete remains disciplined.
- Greater quality of life.
- The athlete will look and feel better.
- Builds confidence.
As the season nears start, it is ideal to create a strength report card to assess the development of strength and speed of your kids. Set attainable strength goals for your kids and encourage them to meet or exceed them. As the season concludes, this will give you an idea of how your kids have gained strength. The off-season is the ultimate time to keep the momentum flowing from the youth football season, it’s also the right time to develop a physical edge by strength training.
Create a safe and structured football environment for strength training, and you’ll team will reap the benefits of strength training.
Visit our Youth Football Training category page for more articles on strength and conditioning training!