Resistance training for children and adolescents

Allison M. Myers, Nicholas W. Beam, Joseph D. Fakhoury


As more children and adolescents are becoming involved in exercise and school or community based athletics, attention is turned towards proper training and conditioning to optimize performance, stimulate athletic development and ensure safety while tolerating long-term competition. Resistance training (RT) refers to the methodology of ensuring such optimal performance and safety. This is a common component of sports and physical fitness in schools and organized athletic programs around the country. RT is a physical conditioning program that involves various training techniques (e.g., machine based, free weight, plyometric, complex and functional training) and progressively increasing resistive loads to achieve desired muscle endurance, strength, power or a combination of the above. Proper RT programs have a plethora of associated benefits including increased strength, lower rates of sports-related injury, increased bone strength index (BSI), decreased risk of fracture and improved self-esteem and interest in fitness. There are risks involved with improper or poor training programs. Proper training programs involve knowledgeable trainers, effective supervision and tailored weight training.