Youth Training Q & A

With Fitness Pro Alex Molden

Q1) Will strength training stunt my child's growth?

A1) Studies have proven that strength training does not damage growth plates or stunt growth in children, as was previously thought. If nutritional guidelines, including adequate calcium intake, are met, and if training guidelines are followed, strength training in young athletes can actually enhance growth. The greatest amount of bone formation occurs during childhood, and strength training can serve to create stronger bones if done correctly and in the proper setting.

Q2) At what age do you recommend starting weight training?

A2) 10-12 year olds typically can perform exercises with weight and have a better understanding of how to do a specified movement under supervision of a certified fitness trainer. We recommend doing high repetitions (15-20) and practice proper technique and breathing instead of going into the gym and having the attitude of seeing how much they can "lift".

Q3) How can my son/daughter become faster or more explosive?

A3) Proper technique is always first and foremost. Hip flexibility and strength, stride length, leg strength, ankle flexibility and core strength (when was the last time you seen a big bellied sprinter?). And remember this; in order be explosive you must train explosively.

Q4) What is functional training?

A4) Functional training is training that is productive or useful for a particular sport or activity. For example; a football player doing a bench press as compared to doing a dumbbell bench press off of an exercise ball that is going to cause him/her to use other muscle groups to keep him balanced (abs, shoulders, hips) as well as develop the main muscle being worked which in this case is the pectoral muscles. You should perform movements or exercises that parallel your particular sport.
*Bodybuilders do not use functional training methods because they are training for looks not function.

Q5) Should my child train for one particular sport?

A5) We believe you should train as an athlete wouldÂ….in all directions (not just forward i.e. bench press) but backward and laterally i.e.; lateral squats or backward running with resistance. Also, some sort of exercise that include balance i.e.; single leg dumbbell alternating military press. And you can never go wrong with some form of leg squat, power clean and push-press. As the athletes particular sport draws nearer then more movements that are required for that sport should be added to the training regimen.