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Why youth need to begin gym training now

In a time where obesity, sedentary behaviour, cardiovascular disease and metabolic conditions are at an all-time high, there’s still reluctancies about allowing the younger generation to learn foundational movements of strength training.

 

Ask most parents and you’ll hear them say “starting weight training too early stunts growth” but a look at the research of late and you can very quickly find out that this is a misguided and inaccurate statement that is damaging the development and athletic potential of our youth.

 

Meyers and colleagues (2017), found that resistance training increases athletic performance, lowers rates of sports-related injury, increases bone strength index (BSI), decreases risk of bone fracture and has a positive impact on mental health and well-being.

 

Another study reported by Zaricznyj and colleagues found that resistance training exercises made up 0.7% of 1576 injuries in a one year period, whereas American Football was 19%, clearly demonstrating that there is very little to be worried about with strength training!

 

When it comes to our adolescent years, there are many things changing within the body. One to note, is the changes happening in the brain and how important this is for maturation and growth. Negra and colleagues (2016) noted that the participation of youth in resistance training increased the neural proliferation (rapid cell reproduction) and maturation of the central nervous system (CNS). They also found that the introduction of resistance training in the adolescent years showed greater strength gains in the initial stages as opposed to starting resistance training in the adult years. Research has identified how important early exposure to resistance training is for the development of our youth, so what is stopping us?

 

Lack of education across the board for both parents and children on the benefits of resistance training, how resistance training needs to be structured, and how to supplement it with participation in sports are among the leading causes of low engagement rates. Quite often a kid's first exposure to the gym will be with a mate who has also not learnt the basics and thus, will lead to lack of results, lack of enjoyment and also potentially injury if not supervised by a professional.

 

It is often thought that resistance/strength training only consists of lifting heavy weights and with this idea, it is understandable that some parents may restrict their child’s participation. It may ease your mind to know that strength training consists of both weighted exercises and bodyweight. In the initial stages of training, the trainee will be loaded with bodyweight/light resistance to ensure the movements are correctly and safely executed before increasing the load or adding complexity to the movements. At Science of Fitness, our training programs are structured using progressive overload, which allows us to improve their fitness and strength at a safe pace.

 

This year, we decided to offer the youth of Brisbane a special opportunity to get into the gym to learn technique, build confidence and develop healthy habits that will set them up for a successful future.

 

We launched two Youth Athletic Development classes per week (Monday and Wednesday afternoons 3:45pm), as well as 1-1 personal training sessions and individualised programming. These options are designed for 10–17-year-old children of all abilities who will be coached under a watchful eye of highly qualified coaches.

 

If you’d like to give your child a happy and healthy introduction to resistance training – this is the perfect place for them to start.

 

Email info@scienceoffitness.com.au for more information and please pass this blog onto any adolescents you know who may be interested in joining these fun and rewarding sessions.