Resistance Training in Young Athletes

Written by: Gretchen McLennan | Physiotherapist

Ever wonder if your teenager is risking getting injured because he/she is training so much? Is your young star athlete training in one sport and you are worried about over-training? Are you concerned about your child’s safety in his/her chosen sport?

The topic of how we can effectively manage our child’s growth and development, while they strive to succeed in sport and general activity is an important one. We are seeing a trend where kids are getting into organized sports at a younger age, and they are specializing in specific sports early on. This results in high intensity training and competition on young bodies that have not fully matured. Our job as physiotherapist (and parents!) is to make sure these young athletes are pursuing the sport they love to do, without compromising their bodies in the process. In other words, prevention is the key!

Photo: Isabella Mendes

Photo: Isabella Mendes

Research supports multifaceted resistance training (during the pre-season that is developmentally appropriate and with proper coaching on movement biomechanics) in the prevention of sports related injuries in young athletes. Both acute and overuse injuries can be reduced if there is balance appropriate physical load and skill development. Research also indicates that with young athletes that are specializing in one sport, resistance training may also help performance. The athlete is able to master more complex skills and become better equipped to sustain the demands of training and competition, all while preventing breakdown and injury.

This would also apply to the very active young person who many not be involved in organized sport, but rather enjoys a variety of sports of activities. In a nutshell, if you have a budding athlete at home, or a youngster that can’t sit still and wants to get out there, appropriate resistance training as an adjunct may be helpful.

Have your teenager come in for a thorough assessment by one of our experienced physiotherapists and we can help you determine if strength training would help improve performance and prevent injury!