Hello, ladies and gents.
Before I get to my question I think it’s appropriate that I introduce myself.
I am a Community Sports Coach and I specialise in Multi-skills and Fundamentals training for children mostly aged between 4-10 years old (based on the Long Term Athlete Development(LTAD) programme). I also coach disabled sports as well as run sessions for different age ranges (including adults). I also coach Rugby Union, and have an interest in Strength and Conditioning and would like to eventually work as a coach in that field as well.
I have been reading T-Nation (both articles and forums) for a while now, but as of yet not posted.
Anyway, my main question is this:
Does any body have any research studies or journal articles about any long term effects that weight training would have from childhood, or at least be able to point me in the right direction?
As I understand it, weight training from childhood does not have any effect on growth, and may in fact lead to increased bone density. If anyone could shed any factual light on the subject I would be very grateful. I will include a study at the end of this post which suggests that the immediate effects of a short term weight training programme for a child lead to very few risks, however I feel this is a fairly basic write up and would like something in more detail and of course longitudinal.
Thanks in advance,
[quote]Pearson, D Faigenbaum, A, Conley, M, Kraemer, WJ. The National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Basic Guidelines for the Resistance Training of Athletes. 2000. Natl. Strength Cond. Assoc. J. 22:(4)14-27.
Resistance Training for Children
Even with the large number of children participating in youth sports, many are not conditioning their bodies for the physical demands and rigors of the sport. If a child is capable of participating in a youth sport, she or he is capable of participating in a resistance-training program designed to condition the body to meet the demands of the sport and help prevent sport-related injuries. It was previously believed that resistance training-induced strength gains during preadolescence (defined as a period of time before the development of secondary sex characteristics) were not possible because of insufficient concentrations of circulating androgens. However, current findings clearly indicate that children can significantly increase their strength above and beyond what is accounted for by growth and maturation, provided that the resistance-training program is of sufficient duration and intensity. Strength gains of roughly 40% have been observed in children following short-term (8-12 weeks) resistance-training programs, although gains of up to 74% have been reported. Further, positive changes in motor fitness skills, sports performance, and selected health-related measures have also been observed in resistance-trained youths. Interestingly, preliminary evidence indicates that resistance training may also increase a child’s resistance to sports-related injuries.
One of the traditional concerns associated with youth resistance training is the potential for injury to the epiphyseal plate or growth cartilage. Although epiphyseal plate fractures have been reported in young weight trainers, most of these injuries involved improper lifting techniques or the performance of heavy, overhead lifts in unsupervised settings. An epiphyseal plate fracture has not been reported in any prospective youth resistance-training study that was appropriately designed and competently supervised. If children are taught how to resistance train properly (e.g., adequate warm-up, correct technique, and a gradual progression of training loads) and if close and competent adult supervision is present, it seems that the risk of an epiphyseal plate fracture while strength training is minimal. In general, it appears that the risks associated with youth resistance training are not any greater than those in other sports and recreational activities in which children regularly participate. However, the potential for a serious injury is possible if youth guidelines and safety precautions are not followed.
The goal of youth resistance-training programs should not be limited to increasing muscular strength but should also include teaching children about their bodies, promoting injury prevention strategies, and providing a stimulating program that gives children a more positive attitude toward resistance training and exercise in general.
When introducing children to resistance training, it is always better to underestimate their physical abilities and gradually increase the volume and intensity of training than to overshoot their abilities and potentially risk an injury. There is no minimum age requirement for participation in a youth resistance-training program; however, all participants should have the emotional maturity to accept and follow directions and should understand the risks and benefits associated with resistance training. A medical examination is recommended for children with known or suspected health problems; however, it is not mandatory for apparently healthy children.
A variety of resistance-training programs have been developed for children, and different types of equipment have been safely and effectively used in these programs. Although extra pads and boards can be used to modify some types of adult equipment, child-size resistance-training equipment is now available and has proven to be a viable alternative to adult-sized machines. Free weights, elastic tubing, and body weight-resisted exercises can also be used. Although youth resistance training has the potential to be a pleasurable and valuable experience, it should be only one part of a total conditioning program that also includes cardiorespiratory, flexibility, and agility exercises.
Typically, children should participate in a periodized program using loads that will allow a 6- to 12-repetition range. In addition, programs are typically lower in volume and may be performed using a lower frequency (2/3 days per week) but can adhere to many of the same principles as adult resistance-training programs. It is important that youth resistance exercise-training programs do not attempt to just implement adult programs because the physiological stress will be inappropriate .