Friday, July 25, 2008

Client Sports Fitness Question Of The Week, 4

As a personal trainer, I always look to protect young athletes from injuries! So, this client question is geared toward youth:

Client Q: What is "too young" when it comes to lifting weights?

Mark's A: Some type of resistance training can be started as early as 5-6 years old. The National Strength and Conditioning
Association (NSCA) gives the following general guidelines:


1. If your child is apparently healthy, a medical exam is not
mandatory. An exam is recommended for kids with known or
suspected health problems.

2. The child should be ready to follow instructions and training
guidelines.

3. The exercise environment should be safe and free of hazards.

4. The child should warm-up for 5 to 10 minutes before resistance
training.

5. Children should be encouraged to ask questions about training
and praised for participation.

Bodyweight exercises like squats, crunches, pullups, pushups, reverse crunches, lunges and step ups are safe and build muscle strength and endurance.

I would recommend bodyweight exercises for young athletes ages 5-9. Light dumbbell exercises can be done with athletes ages 10-12. At about age
13, young athletes are ready for heavier workloads.

YOUNG ATHLETES SHOULD NOT DO MAXIMUM LIFTS! CORE STRENGTHING SHOULD ALSO BE STRESSED FOR ALL YOUNG ATHLETES!

On a related subject, A YOUNG ATHLETE SHOULD NOT START A SPORTSTRAINING PROGRAM WITH PLYOMETRICS AND RESISTED SPEED TRAINING TECHNIQUES (WEIGHTED VESTS, SLEDS, ETC.)!

FOUNDATIONAL STRENGTH, CORE STRENGTH AND RUNNING/LANDING/JUMPING MECHANICS SHOULD BE MASTERED FIRST. FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE PROGRESSIONS WILL SUBJECT THE YOUNG ATHLETE TO POSTURAL DYSFUNCTIONS AND INJURIES!


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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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