Resistance Training for Children – Why you should start now?

Resistance Training for Children – Why you should start now?

Over the last 25 years, the overwhelming evidence has shown that resistance training for children and adolescents has a number of significant benefits, including injury prevention, improved athletic performance, faster recovery, and general well-being.

The research clearly indicates that an appropriately designed resistance program can benefit youth of all ages and in fact a failure to start resistance training before 16 may actually be detrimental to their playing longevity.

Injury prevention

The growing athlete is predisposed to a number of injuries. The most common is arguably as a result of reduced flexibility and decreased capacity of muscle-tendon units, known as the Traction Apophysites. Some common traction apophysitis conditions include Severs Disease, Osgood Schlatters Disease, and Sinding Larsen Johannson Disease, similar conditions affecting different muscles.

There are many contributing factors however poor flexibility, poor technique, excessive loading, and muscle imbalances are modifiable risk factors that may be the difference between keeping your child participating in sport or needing time out. Resistance training focused on these modifiable risk factors has the potential to reduce overuse injuries by approximately 50% in children and teens.

In fact studies have shown that adolescent athletes who followed a resistance training program suffered fewer injuries and recovered from injuries with less time spent in rehabilitation compared to teammates who did not participate in a similar resistance training program!

Athletic Performance

Resistance training can help significantly improve athletic performance by addressing a variety of requirements of sport / activities including:

  •  Muscular strength
  •  Running speed
  •  Speed of agility & direction changes
  •  Motor skill performance & coordination (jumping, running, and throwing tasks)


Recovery is an area that is commonly overlooked by athletes, in particular young athletes who are often juggling school, training, and competition, sometimes across a variety of levels or sports. It is not uncommon for a gifted basketballer to play for a school, club, domestic, and representative teams. Adding additional sessions into the mix may seem excessive, however a failure to incorporate scheduled recovery sessions into the training program can contribute to overuse and chronic injuries. Techniques such as stretching, foam rolling, and trigger pointing allow the muscles, tendons, and bones to withstand the loads placed upon them without resulting in injury.

General Health

Resistance training can also have a positive effect on overall body composition, cardiac function, bone-mineral density, and improve overall posture.

There is mountains of evidence indicating that training programs that last more than 8 weeks, and involve a variety of exercises result in huge benefits across the board. Enrol your child into the Sports Performance Program at Malvern Physiotherapy Clinic today!

Published December 11, 2017


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