We get questions all the time about strength training for junior athletes. Is strength training safe? Will it harm my child? Will they get too big? Will it stunt their growth? The answers to those questions are yes and no. Yes, strength training is safe for youth to participate in, but only when the session is supervised by a qualified professional. Will they get too big? No. The beginning of a good strength training program is a learning phase. Resistance is only added after this learning phase in order to strengthen a good position, not to increase the size of their muscles. And finally, will it stunt their growth? No, research has shown that a well-designed strength training program actually helps in the growth and development of children.
The most important element for a developing athlete to reduce injuries and improve performance is to build a solid foundation. Using resistance training to build a solid foundation will provide the athlete with the base that they can then build skills, speed, and power.
Today there seems to be an emphasis on complicated strength training programs. However, young athletes will get the most benefit from mastering the basics first. An emphasis should be placed on basic movement patterns. It is amazing to see how many young people don’t know how to move correctly and are putting themselves at increased risk of injury.
Our Junior Vikings program is designed specifically to teach youth basic movement patterns. This program covers warm-up, correct jumping and landing techniques, basic strength movements and basic recovery strategies.