Youth Strength Training

Some useful resources concerning youth strength training:


I’ve read that supervised strength training programs are safe for children but our pediatrician thinks that’s kids don’t belong in the weight room. What do you think?

K.J., England


Years ago it was thought that strength training would stunt a child’s growth, or result in injury. These outdated beliefs are not true. Provided that a strength training program is well-designed and supervised, the risk of injury while strength training is actually lower than many other children’s sports and activities. In fact, all major medical and fitness organizations in the United States, including the American College of Sports Medicine, the National
Strength and Conditioning Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics support and encourage children and teenagers to participate in supervised youth strength training programs. In short, strength training can be added to the long list of sports and
physical activities that are appropriate for kids.


My teenage daughter wants to start strength training but I don’t know where to start. Do fitness centers offer strength training programs
for teens?

S.M., PA


Most fitness centers that focus on the adult market unfortunately do not typically offer programs for children and teenagers, although
this trend does seem to be changing. YMCAs and YWCAs are a good place to look for youth programs because these centers often have youth strength training equipment and instructors who have experience working with younger populations. Also, check out local community centers, and ask your daughter’s physical education teacher for some advice. Your daughter’s interest in strength training should be matched with a competent and caring instructor who will provide guidance getting your daughter started on a sensible strength training program that is consistent with her individual goals.

ACSM - Youth Strength Training

A variety of training programs and many types of equipment – from rubber tubing to weight machines designed for children – have proven
to be safe and effective. Although there are no scientific reportsthat define the optimal combinations of sets and repetitions for children and adolescents, one to three sets of six to fifteen repetitions performed two to three times per week on nonconsecutive
days have been found to be reasonable. Beginning with one set of several upper and lower body exercises that focus on the major muscle groups will allow room for progress to be made. The program can be made more challenging by gradually increasing the weight or the number of sets and repetitions. Strength training with maximal weights is not recommended because of the potential for possible injuries related to the long bones, growth plates, and back. It must be underscored that the overriding emphasis should be on proper technique and safety – not on how much weight can be lifted.

Proper training guidelines, program variation and competentsupervision will make strength training programs safe, effectiveand fun for children. Instructors should understand the physical and emotional uniqueness of children, and, in turn, children should appreciate the benefits and risks associated with strength training. If appropriate guidelines are followed, it is the opinion of ACSM that strength training can be enjoyable, beneficial and healthy experience for children and adolescents.

Youth Resistance Training

It is the current position of the NSCA that:

  1.  A properly designed and supervised resistance training 

program is safe for children.
2. A properly designed and supervised resistance training
program can increase the strength of children.
3. A properly designed and supervised resistance training
program can help to enhance the motor fitness skills and sports
performance of children.
4. A properly designed and supervised resistance training
program can help to prevent injuries in youth sports and recreational
5. A properly designed and supervised resistance training
program can help to improve the psychosocial well-being of children.
6. A properly designed and supervised resistance training
program can enhance the overall health of children.

Posted in the SuperTraining forum.

I would be much stronger and most likely faster right now if the coaches down here thought like that. Wouldnt be faced with all these dumb injuries that happened as a result of lack of strength in specific areas.

I really doubt any of your injuries were a lack of strength in any areas. Either bad luck or poor coaching, or maybe even both.

I have argued this into the ground with almost every sports coach I know, yet I continue to be told that kids shouldn’t lift weights.

Classical physics explains that it is force that acts upon a structure, not any amount of weight. In this way, well structured and adequately monitored weight lifting is no more dangerous than any other physical sport, be it basketball, gymnastics, soccer, football, volleyball, etc.

Further more, studies have in fact shown that the bones and ligaments of children adapt positively to stress. That is, conditioning the growing bones and ligaments through exercise and resistance produces a stronger muscular and skeletal system!

I came across a new website that talks a ton about training all kinds of athletes from kids on up to pro. using Olympic style weightlifting. Check it out and see what you think.

Anyone getting tired of these relentless plugs for hatchdome?

me…not so much info on it up to now…hope in the future…

If a third person comes in and says it again, that’s free ad…
If that site says something on the topic, post it; if not, leave it!!
Sorry, but it’s getting pretty annoying!

“Two great resources for youth sports training with an emphasis on strength are Children and Sports Training by Jozef Drabik PhD and Weightlifting and Age by L.S. Dvorkin. Both are based on Eastern Bloc research and are avaliable through

Posted in the SuperTraining forum.

What about building up a GPP base through callisthenics (which will likely develop a fair amount of strength as well)? Who cares how much they can bench if they don’t have a foundation for their pubescent years where they will really get the big strength gains?