Strength Training For Children
Regular strength training for children from as young as 6 can be of great benefit to all round development. Emphasis should always be on technical proficiency with appropriate & never exessive loading.
Even at such a young age the demands of competitive sport far outweigh those of the controlled, fixed load and movement patterns of a strength training programme. This is due to the reactive and unpredictable nature of sport. Think of the impact of a rugby tackle or that simple changes of direction at speed can create loads of up to 8 times body weight onto one leg.
Early sports specialisation can over time cause injury by mechanically overloading the same movement patterns. This will suppress growth and potentially be dangerous to long term health.
A regular, controlled programme of strength training for children will help improve resilience and joint stability minimising risk of injury. Periosteum, the protective layer coating our bones is particularly strong in children. Resistance training actually stimulates growth, so strength training for children will encourage more tissue to be laid down increasing bone density creating a stronger skeletal system.
The older we get, the harder it is to learn new movements. However, neural plasticity is high in children. This means they can pick up and master movements quickly to give them the best opportunity of building strength that will benefit their entire life.