There are a number of key benefits for younger athletes (13-17yrs) to start implementing strength training into their healthy lifestyle routine.
These vary for individuals but for teenagers typically include;
- Improved coordination
- Reduced risk of sport-specific injuries
- Changes to posture
- Strengthening of connective tissue – Such as tendons & ligaments
- Improvement of sport performance – For example jumping higher, running faster or playing longer
As with all things in sport there are several considerations to make when starting a new fitness regime and strength training is no different.
Specifically, teenagers should focus on the following;
1. A well-designed program
This should be appropriate to the athlete’s age and movement competency
2. Learning the movement
Before adding resistance, make sure you understand how the exercise works. Start with bodyweight exercises.
3. Developing a great technique
Crucial for long term success is having a solid technique for your strength training
4. Training the whole body
Don’t just do the exercises you think will improve your sport. The human body works best when in balance, so it’s important you train the whole body. For example, if you train your chest, train your back in equal measures.
5. Recovery and rest
The body will improve by adapting to the stress you place on it. So, try to have 24-36 hours rest between strength sessions as a minimum.
6. Train safely
As you progress to heavier, more complex strength training it’s suggested that you work with a qualified strength coach to help you achieve your goals in a safe and effective manner.