Tuesday, November 4, 2008

When Is Your Kid Ready For Athletic Training?

By the time your kid is 5 or 6 years old, he or she is usually ready for some type of resistance training. Bodyweight exercises work great to stabilize the joints and build strength endurance (including critical core strength).



For kids ages 5-9, bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, back extensions, crunches, planks, squats, etc. are sufficient. To prevent injury and burnout, any speed or agility “drills” should be limited to fun games that require cutting, explosive burst, change-of-direction, jumping, bounding and jumping rope.

For kids ages 10-12, some light dumbbell exercises can be used with the bodyweight exercises and the speed and agility drills can be ramped up.

A YOUNG ATHLETE SHOULD NOT BEGIN A SPORTS TRAINING 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!

Beginning at about age 13, young athletes can begin a more serious program of sports conditioning. These athletes should not limit themselves to one sport, but should participate in as many sports as possible to enhance overall athletic skills.

In all cases, avoid over-training young athletes. Over-training will take the joy out of sports as well as break down their bodies. And remember, kids are not training to be the next Derek Jeter, Adrian Peterson or Tom Brady. They are training to be the best they can be!

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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