WHY YOUR YOUNG ATHLETE NEEDS TO STRENGTH TRAIN
Parents in our program know that I am a little obsessed with strength training and conditioning, especially during the off-season. Our owner, Ahmed, has had to order all manner of equipment at my request over the years, including (but not limited to) balance beams, medicine balls, mini hurdles, cones, Bosu balls and jump ropes. I'm always trying to find the most effective ways to get our young athletes to have a strong foundation for growth and sport development. I went very simplistic with our younger athletes this off-season, focusing on basic exercises like planks, push-ups, lunges, wall-sits, frog jumps, etc. that we could do over and over while developing proper posture and form for each exercise. My kids can sideplank like ninjas by now!
I think it's important that parents and athletes understand the need for this component, however, especially since it isn't sport-specific (fortunately no one is required to stop and do push-ups during a triathlon, though I do think that would be a great penalty). Strength training for young athletes, as you'll see in the following statement from the ACSM, can "increase motor fitness skills and sports performance...decrease the incidence of sports injury, [and]...play an important role in effective weight loss."
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Have a great Sunday,