Should kids/youth be exposed to training and resistance training?
The answer is YES, as long as it is done in a safe environment and in a progressive manner. The modern world has changed the way people develop. From technology to everyday tasks, kids of the “new world” are not moving and developing adequately. Exposing them to training with or without a fitness professional can and will benefit them in the long run.
How do kids develop and how can training assist in their growth to adulthood?
Long term athletic development (LTAD) is crucial in developing a child’s development through to puberty then adolescence and then adulthood.
LTAD is the pillar stone to all individuals’ success in their physical and in some aspect psychological outcomes throughout their development. Adults and children will get active, stay active and even reach the greatest heights in their sport achievements if they do the right thing at the right time. This is the main logic behind LTAD.
As individuals grow from being infants to children then adolescents their brain starts to search for more information, which is received and processed through the internal and external senses. At birth and throughout infancy, movements made are all reflexive movements. This is the start of the individual’s movement journey and his/her central nervous system development.
There are different phases that an individual needs to go through to ensure that the individual develops adequately without future restrictions or complications. Leading up to adolescence, these include the following:
- Reflexive Movement Phase
- Rudimentary Movement Phase
- Fundamental Movement Phase
- Specialized Movement Phase
After the 2 initial phases of development (Reflexive and Rudimentary Phases) the individual will enter his/her Fundamental Movement Phase. This phase is better known as the ABC’s of the individuals LTAD. The ABC’s can be broken in to:
- A – Agility
- B – Balance
- C – Coordination
- S – Speed
This phase is where the child will be able to do a series of movements in a row and as a strength and conditioning coach, it is important to maintain or add the FUN in the FUNdamental movement phase.
This phase is to further develop the child’s hand-eye coordination as well as core stability and strength. The child will learn to balance on one foot and execute tasks such as throwing and catching a ball with ease.
Weight training for kids is a daunting thought for most parents, but if done correctly by a fitness professional that is qualified it can only add value to the child’s development and growth. Weight training for kids has the following positive outcomes if done correctly,
- Bone and muscular growth
- Neural development
- Motor stability and development
- Brain health
- Injury prevention
- General health and well being
Exposing kids to resistance training can give them an “advantage/head start” over others as when these kids reach adolescence and adulthood they have already stimulated their neural pathways and weight-training patterns are imprinted in their brains and muscular structure.