What is resistance training and how can it help children?

Here at Velo Athletics, we base our performance recommendations on the most up to date science in regards to youth athletic development. This multi-part series will be released piece by piece to help youth coaches avoid the common pitfalls that many people face introducing their kids to resistance training. Throughout this series, I will be providing a plethora of tips and tricks to help parents and coaches alike make informed decisions regarding their athletes. If it is of interest of you, I will also be providing the research that supports my point of view. While not the end all be all, science gives us a framework to help understand why things are happening the way they are. We are all human but slightly different in a variety of ways. I do believe that if one is well versed in the current literature regarding the human body, planning and decision making can be evermore effective. With this in mind let’s delve into the nuts and bolts of what training is and how your child can get started.

What is resistance training and how can it help children?

Let’s define resistance training as a method at increasing force production against an external resistance with a specific set of imposed guidelines. With this working definition any sport involves “resistance training” to be politically correct. But I know you’re wanting to talk about the type of training that makes athletes FASTER, STRONGER, and BIGGER. This type of training involves an overload event (a form of exercise the body has not adapted to), and recovery from it. After these two events have occurred the athlete will be able to perform at an increased level. This manifests as the ability to squat five more pounds, throw 2MPH faster, or run a mile 5 seconds faster. Resistance training can help increase bone density, mood, muscular strength, muscular size, aerobic endurance, self-efficacy, and a variety of other things. But to be clear it must be used under the careful eye of a professional especially under times of rapid growth. There is quite a bit of literature to back timing of training up. This will be discussed further in future posts.

Ages for weight training?

For some age appropriate recommendations to begin resistance training, anything that is cleared by a medical professional would be the first line of guidance from our performance coaches. You MUST make sure your child is medically able to participate in this type of activity as it can be grueling. We’ve all heard our high school coach debate with your dad if you are READY TO LIFT. But honestly someone like your child’s pediatrician should be the final call here. A variety of conditions can alter our recommendations, and we never want to jeopardize ANY athlete’s safety.

Now that you have an idea of what resistance training is, we can dive deeper into a wide array of topics. As we move forward into this series I will discuss individual sport needs, specificity, training periodization, nutrition, sleep, and many other things. During part 1 of this series we are going to assume your child has been medically cleared and is ready to TRAIN. Let’s GO!

Ryan Benson

Ryan Benson

Director Benson leads the team and personal training programs at Velo Athletics. He plays a significant role in the ongoing growth of youth athletes (volleyball, softball, baseball, basketball, track and field, football, and soccer).