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Strength Training Adolescents

Strength training children and young adults has increased in recent years. While strength training is a vital part of a balanced workout routine, we need to take a couple of things in consideration. Some benefits of strength training are: increase in strength, fat loss, muscle growth, metabolism boosting. It can also reduce chances for chronic illnesses (like cancer, heart disease) later in life as well as increase life expectancy.

In preadolescents proper resistance training can enhance strength without concomitant muscle hypertrophy. Such gains in strength can be attributed to neuromuscular “learning” in which training increases the number of motor neurons that will fire with each muscle contraction. Strength training can also augment the muscle enlargement that normally occurs with puberty growth in males and females.

Before training the young adult, make sure they get a physical assessment from their physician. The most important thing when beginning to strength train is proper technique. So therefore the young adult should work with a fitness professional. The biggest cause of injury in young adults is lack of proper technique and most commonly injured is their lumbar back. Another major cause of injury is to start them of at their maximum lift. Extreme heavy lifting should never be done until their bodies reach physical and skeletal maturity.

There is not really a rule that says at what age to start, but most expected is the age of 15 to 16 years old.

Some strength training guidelines:

  1. Always begin with low resistance until proper technique is learned and under professional supervision in a safe environment.
  2. When 8 to 15 reps can be done a light resistance, you can add weight in small increments.
  3. Always work all muscles groups through their full range of motion.
  4. No more than 20 to 30 minutes per session between 2 to 4 days per week with at least a day of rest in between.
  5. Always include a proper warm-up and cool-down.
June 18th, 2013 Posted in Adolescents, Strength Training