Page 37 - Athletic Health Handbook
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but these significant and sometimes logic mechanism and involve programs that adhere to proper tech- © AMERICAN ORTHOPAEDIC SOCIETY FOR SPORTS MEDICINE, 2008, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
fatal injuries have occurred in unsu- increased neurologic recruitment nique and provide watchful supervi-
pervised settings, often on home gym of muscle fibers. This allows youth sion. Readiness depends on maturity
equipment. Proper technique and to gain strength without gaining level, desire to participate, level of
supervision are extremely important muscle size or hypertrophy. physical development, and basic
because excess weight, poor form, sports skill proficiency. General
competitive lifting, and minimal Some additional benefits of guidelines include light weights,
oversight increase the likelihood strength training have shown increases proper form, strict supervision, and
of potential injury. in flexibility and bone density, and no competitive lifting. Programs
decreases in lipids. Strength training should be general, but appropriately
Explosive and ballistic types of has not been shown to have any sport-specific and should not be a
lifts (snatch, clean, and jerk) are detrimental effect on stature or substitute for general fitness, condi-
not recommended by the American normal blood pressure. Long-term tioning, or skill learning.
Academy of Pediatrics until after a research needs to be performed,
youngster reaches Tanner Stage 5 of however, in order to investigate Pre-adolescents can actually gain
sexual maturity. Safer types of strength whether such training can actually strength, but whether they should is
training can provide adequate strength- prevent or decrease injury, as well the more important question. There
ening with less risk of injury. Injury as enhance sports performance for are many factors to consider in order
risk can be lessened by: the pre-adolescent. for such a training program to actu-
ally be beneficial or appropriate in
Recommending pre-participation Besides the risk of injury, there this age group. Strength training
physical evaluations are many factors to consider prior to can complement a youth sports and
Exhaling with exertion allowing a pre-adolescent to partici- exercise program, but should be a
Eliminating hyperventilation pate in a strength training program. small part of a larger well-balanced
Using low weights and These factors include: and varied activity program.
higher repetitions
Using proper form Age References
Having strict supervision Level of physical development
with spotters Maturity American Academy of Pediatrics,
Excluding individuals with hyper- Desire Committee on Sports Medicine and
tension, uncontrolled seizures, or Reason for participation Fitness. Policy statement on strength
a history of chemotherapy with Level of sport skill training by children and adolescents.
more cardiotoxic substances, such Age is important because the June 2001.
as doxorubicin (Adriamycin®) development of sport skills occurs
The vast majority of studies, in as sequential manner. A necessary Ramsay J, Blimkie C, Smith K, et al.
mostly using Tanner Stage 1 for boys skill such as posture and balance Strength training effects in prepubescent
and girls, do support statistically control is often not mature until boys. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1990;
significant gains in strength when around the age of 8. Many children 22:605-614.
compared to control groups. Training are influenced by the media concept
methods vary from free weights to of the “perfect body” and may wish Weltman A, Janney C, Rians C, et al.
machines, to isotonic and isokinetic to pursue this activity for the wrong The effects of hydraulic resistance
resistance, lasting between eight to reasons. If a child has just begun to strength training in prepubertal males.
20 weeks. With adequate intensity, learn the basic skills of a sport, it is Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1986;18:629-638.
duration, and volume, findings show probably unreasonable to begin a
that significant increases in strength strength training program before Sewall L, Micheli L. Strength training for
are possible. The effectiveness of a skill proficiency has been achieved. children. J Pediatr Ortho. 1986;6:143-146.
program seems to be dependent on It is also important to remind chil-
intensity rather than duration or mode dren that strength is not the sole Ozmun J, Mikesky A, Surburg P.
of training, although training of less factor for improvement in sports Neuromuscular adaptations during
than eight weeks does not appear to and exercise activities. prepubescent strength training. Med
have a positive effect on strength gain. In summary, strength training for Sci Sports Exer. 1995;23(suppl):186.
Without pre-adolescent hormones, pre-adolescents should be approached
gains in strength occur via a neuro- with caution and respect. The poten- Blimkie C. Resistance training
tial for injury is real, but very low in during preadolescence. Sports Med.

Stricker P, Van Heest J. Strength Training
and Endurance Training for the Young
Athlete. In: Birrer R, Griesemer B,
Cataletto M, eds. Pediatric Sports
Medicine in Primary Care. Lippincott
Williams & Wilkins; 2002:83-94.

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