Strength Training to Prevent Injury
It was once believed that strength and resistance training was considered unsafe and potentially injurious to the developing musculoskeletal system. At worst, it was thought to stunt a child’s growth. In the past decade, research has begun to disprove the myths and support the addition of strength training into youth athletic programs.
In general, strength training has been known to improve performance, improve motor skill proficiency, increase neuromuscular development, improve bone health, increase self-esteem, and most importantly, reduce the risk of sport related injury. As the young athlete transitions in and out of growth stages and rapid development between the ages of 6-19, the non-linear rates of change (lengthening of bones verse adaptation of soft tissue) increase the susceptibility of injury during sports.
Participating in resistance training programs which include functional movements that focus on proper mechanics and technique, plyometrics, age appropriate lifts with free weights, or elastic resistance bands with a qualified strength coach may lead to the reduction of injury to the youth athlete.