Strength Training for Youth and Adolescence

min read


The Sports Injury Clinic

Rachel Mills

February 2, 2021


Will strength training lead to growth plate injuries and/or soft tissue injuries? Isn't strength training only for athletes or those older than 12 years? 

These are all very common questions and here we debunk the myths surrounding them.

  1. Participating in almost any sport carriers a risk of injury, however a well supervised, thought out program following recommended loads, sets, and repetitions has no greater inherent risk.
  2. Participation in a supervised tailored strength program can also favourably influencing bone growth and development.
  3. At this stage there is no evidence regarding starting age for a strength program, all should be able to accept direction and follow safety rules.
  4. Resistance training can help with performance enhancement, injury prevention, musculoskeletal health, increase daily physical activity.

Exercise and sport are an important part of childhood, lessons learned from team and individual sports are applicable throughout life. However, strength training should be individualised based on age, maturity, personal goals and objectives.

Although there are factors such as heredity, training experience and health habits (sleep/nutrition) that will influence the rate and magnitude of adaptation, there are a few principles for an effective program which include -Progression, Regularity, Overload, Creativity, Enjoyment, Socialization, and supervision. A strength training program that is specifically designed, controlled and in a supervised environment can help children/adolescence of all athletic abilities.


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