Despite common concerns, youth strength training has proven to bring many benefits to the development of youth athletes. In fact, a well-structured youth strength training program will help athletes build injury resiliency and build the foundation for athletic performance in later years.
When it comes to the fundamentals of a youth strength training program, teaching the basics and simplicity are key. We want young athletes to receive accurate training information and develop proper strength training habits.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
Teaching Weight Room Safety
It may seem a bit obvious, but teaching weight room safety to young athletes can often be overlooked. It is much safer to assume that your athletes have never set foot in a weight room than to assume they already know how to maintain a safe training environment. Coaches should make it a priority to teach athletes weight room awareness, how to properly spot and safe body mechanics not only when performing a lift, but loading and unloading a bar.
Prioritizing Proper Form
If you’re a coach, think back to the time when you first started strength training. Were you taught the proper form on basic movements, or were you left to learn from the habits of those around you? As a coach, you have the great opportunity to educate your athletes on training with proper form not only for safety and injury prevention, but for maximum muscle recruitment and strength gains.
For an in-depth explanation on body mechanics and proper form for squats, deadlifts and more, check out the Strength for Speed Membership.
Creating a Program
As previously stated, simplicity is key when it comes to constructing a youth strength training program. This is not the time to be experimenting with complex variations of a basic lift.
As a general rule, we recommend that youth athletes strength train twice per week for 30-60 minutes. With young athletes, we are focused on developing three areas – joint flexibility, tendon strength and core strength. A youth athlete strength training for the first time might focus more on single joint exercises with their body weight or resistance bands and slowly progress over time to free weights and more dynamic movements.
We highly recommend that youth athletes are taught how to squat, deadlift and bench press properly only after learning muscle mechanics and creating a foundation of strength to build from.
Youth Strength Training & Athletic Performance
Are you a young athlete looking to learn more about proper strength training? Or a coach wanting to ensure your youth athletes are training safely and in a way that results in maximal strength gains and athletic performance? Then the Strength for Speed Membership is perfect for you!
The membership features an extensive library of 30+ strength training videos covering the basics of body mechanics, breathing technique and proper execution of the most important strength training exercises for developing speed, including the deadlift, squat, lunge technique and upper body training essentials.