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The current manuscript is a translation of the Position statement on youth resistance training: the 2014 International Consensus. The original manuscript was adapted from the oficial position statement of the UK Strength and Conditioning Association on youth resistance training. It was subsequently reviewed and endorsed by leading professional organisations within the fields of sports medicine, exercise science and paediatrics. The authorship team for this article was selected from the fields of paediatric exercise science, paediatric medicine, physical education, strength and conditioning and sports medicine.
Position statement on youth resistance training:
the 2014 International Consensus
Rhodri S Lloyd,
Avery D Faigenbaum,
Michael H Stone,
Jon L Oliver,
Ian Jeffreys,
Jeremy A Moody,
Clive Brewer,
Kyle C Pierce,
Teri M McCambridge,
Rick Howard,
Lee Herrington,
Brian Hainline,
Lyle J Micheli,
Rod Jaques,
William J Kraemer,
Michael G McBride,
Thomas M Best,
Donald A Chu,
Brent A Alvar,
Gregory D Myer
For numbered afliations see
end of article.
Correspondence to
Dr Gregory D Myer, Division of
Sports Medicine, Cincinnati
Childrens Hospital Medical
Center 3333 Burnet Ave,
MLC 10001, Cincinnati,
OH 45229, USA;
Adapted from the position
statement of the UK Strength
and Conditioning Association
on youth resistance training
Endorsed by: American
Academy of Pediatrics (AAP);
American Alliance for Health,
Physical Education, Recreation
and Dance (AAHPERD);
American Medical Society for
Sports Medicine (AMSSM);
British Association of Sports
Rehabilitators and Trainers
(BASRaT); International
Federation of Sports Medicine
(FIMS); Faculty of Sport and
Exercise Medicine UK (FSEM);
North American Society for
Pediatric Exercise Medicine
(NASPEM); National Athletic
TrainersAssociation (NATA);
Chief Medical Ofcer, National
Collegiate Athletic Associaiton
(NCAA); National Strength and
Conditioning Association
Accepted 17 August 2013
To cite: Lloyd RS,
Faigenbaum AD, Stone MH,
et al.Br J Sports Med
Published Online First:
[please include Day Month
Year] doi:10.1136/bjsports-
The current manuscript has been adapted from the ofcial
position statement of the UK Strength and Conditioning
Association on youth resistance training. It has
subsequently been reviewed and endorsed by leading
professional organisations within the elds of sports
medicine, exercise science and paediatrics. The authorship
team for this article was selected from the elds of
paediatric exercise science, paediatric medicine, physical
education, strength and conditioning and sports medicine.
Prior to discussing the literature surrounding youth
resistance training, it is pertinent to dene key ter-
minologies used throughout the manuscript.
Childhood represents the developmental period
of life from the end of infancy to the beginning
of adolescence. The term children refers to girls
and boys (generally up to the age of 11 and
13 years, respectively) who have not developed
secondary sex characteristics.
The term adolescence refers to a period of life
between childhood and adulthood. Although ado-
lescence is a more difcult period to dene in
terms of chronological age due to differential mat-
uration rates,
girls 1218 years and boys 14
18 years are generally considered adolescents.
The terms youth and young athletes represent
global terms which include both children and
Growth is typically viewed as a quantiable
change in body composition, the size of the
body as a whole or the size of specic regions of
the body.
Maturation refers to the highly variable timing
and tempo of progressive change within the
human body from childhood to adulthood, and
which, in addition to growth, inuences overall
physical performance capabilities.
Training age refers to the number of years an
individual has been involved in a structured and
appropriately supervised training programme.
Resistance training refers to a specialised
method of conditioning whereby an individual
is working against a wide range of resistive loads
to enhance health, tness and performance.
Forms of resistance training include the use of
body weight, weight machines, free weights
(barbells and dumbbells), elastic bands and
medicine balls.
Weightlifting is a sport that involves the per-
formance of the snatch and clean and jerk lifts
in competition.
Weightlifting training refers to
a variety of multijoint exercises including the
snatch, clean and jerk and modied variations of
these lifts, that are explosive but highly con-
trolled movements that require a high degree of
technical skill.
Qualied professional is a term used to repre-
sent those individuals who are trained and
aware of the unique physiological, physical and
psychosocial needs of children and adolescents,
and possess a relevant and recognised strength
and conditioning qualication (eg, the UK
Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA)
Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach or
National Strength and Conditioning Association
(NSCA) Certied Strength and Conditioning
Specialist). Importantly, such individuals should
have a strong pedagogical background to ensure
that they are knowledgeable of the different
styles of communication and interaction that
will be needed to effectively teach or coach chil-
dren and adolescents.
Qualied professionals
should possess the knowledge and expertise to
plan, teach and progress age-related resistance
training programmes to youth of all ages and
abilities using various forms of resistance exer-
cises, and should be able to identify and modify
technical deciencies when necessary. Qualied
professionals would also be expected to work
effectively and respectively with other health-
care practitioners (eg, physicians, physical thera-
pists, certied athletic trainers, registered
dieticians, physical education teachers, youth
coaches, paediatric exercise specialists and
researchers) to enhance the health and well-
being of all youth.
Since seminal attempts to address concerns sur-
rounding prepubescent strength training,
concept of children and adolescents participating in
various forms of resistance training has been of
growing interest among researchers, clinicians and
practitioners. There is now a compelling body of
scientic evidence that supports regular participa-
tion in youth resistance training to reinforce posi-
tive health and tness adaptations and sports
performance enhancement. There is even stronger
Lloyd RS, et al.Br J Sports Med 2013;0:112. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092952 1
Consensus statement
BJSM Online First, published on September 20, 2013 as 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092952
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support for the use of resistance training in youth provided that
these programmes are supervised by qualied professionals and
consistent with the needs, goals and abilities of children and
Research has indicated that various forms of
resistance training can elicit signicant performance improve-
ments in muscular strength,
power production,
change-of-direction speed
and general motor per-
in youth. From a health perspective, evidence indi-
cates that resistance training can make positive alterations in
overall body composition,
reduce body fat,
19 20
insulin-sensitivity in adolescents who are overweight
enhance cardiac function in children who are obese.
Importantly, it has also been demonstrated that regular partici-
pation in an appropriately designed exercise programme inclu-
sive of resistance training, can enhance bone-mineral density
and improve skeletal health
23 24
and likely reduce sports-related
injury risk in young athletes.
25 26
This would appear to be an
important consideration given that approximately 3.5 million
sports-related injuries in youth require a medical visit each year
in the USA.
Comparable relative data from Europe found that
nearly 1.3 million cases of sports-related injuries reported in
2009 required hospitalisation for children under the age of
15 years.
Additionally, muscular strength and resistance train-
ing have been associated with positive psychological health and
well-being in children and adolescents.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and other public
health agencies now include resistance training as part of their
physical activity guidelines for children and adolescents.
However, recent evidence indicates that the muscular strength
levels of school-age youth are decreasing.
Progressive resist-
ance training under the supervision of qualied professionals
can offer a safe, effective and worthwhile method for reversing
this undesirable trend, while encouraging participation in resist-
ance training as an ongoing lifestyle choice. The importance of
effective education by qualied professionals is essential,
as positive early experiences in physical education have been
associated with lifelong physical activity.
It has been established previously that muscular strength devel-
opment is a multidimensional tness component that is inu-
enced by a combination of muscular, neural and biomechanical
Due to the non-linear development of physiological
processes such as stature and body mass during childhood and
adolescence, the assessment and monitoring of muscular
strength can be a challenging task during the growing years.
Similarly, a non-linear pattern emerges when examining the
development of physical performance qualities in younger
Assessments of muscular strength in children and
adolescents indicate that strength increases in a relatively linear
fashion throughout childhood for both boys and girls.
As chil-
dren reach the onset of puberty, they experience rapid growth
along with observable non-linear gains in muscular strength.
During this period, sex differences in muscular strength begin to
emerge, with boys demonstrating accelerated gains as a result of
the adolescent spurt, and girls appearing to continue to develop
in a more linear fashion.
Potential factors inherently respon-
sible for increases in strength during childhood appear to be
related to the maturation of the central nervous system,
example, improvements in motor unit recruitment, ring fre-
quency, synchronisation and neural myelination.
48 49
gains during adolescence are typically driven by further neural
development, but structural and architectural changes resulting
largely from increased hormonal concentrations, including tes-
tosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor play a
signicant role, especially in males.
Further increases in muscle
cross-sectional area, muscle pennation angle and continued
motor unit differentiation will typically enable adolescents to
express greater levels of force, and partly explain the age-related
differences in strength between children, adolescents and
The number of muscle bres that an individual will
possess is determined as a result of prenatal myogenesis,
therefore it should be noted that postnatal increases in muscle
cross-sectional area will be largely governed by increases in
muscle bre size, not an increase in the number of muscle
51 52
Sex-related differences in muscular strength are more evident
as children enter adolescence, with males consistently outper-
forming females.
Research has indicated that muscle growth
will largely explain the disparity between sexes, especially for
absolute measures of muscular strength and power.
54 55
It is
essential that those responsible for teaching and training chil-
dren and adolescents are aware of these paediatric scientic
principles to ensure that an exercise prescription is planned
according to the unique demands of the individual inclusive of
baseline tness levels, motor skill development, movement com-
petencies and health or medical issues. Owing to the highly
individualised nature of growth and maturation, children and
adolescents of the same chronological age will vary markedly in
biological status (up to 45 years), and consequently, chrono-
logical age is deemed a weak indicator of maturational status.
Awareness of the potential variation in biological age among
children of the same chronological age group is a central tenet
of most long-term physical development programmes in order
to ensure that youth are trained according to their biological
status, as opposed to age-group classications.
In addition
to chronological and biological age, those responsible for the
design and implementation of youth resistance training pro-
grammes must take into consideration the training age of the
From a developmental perspective, this becomes
critically important when training an adolescent who is
approaching adulthood, but has no experience of participating
in a structured resistance training programme. Conversely, a
technically procient 10-year-old child should not be restricted
to introductory training methods, provided they have the inter-
est and desire to participate in more advanced training
The WHO now recognises physical inactivity as the fourth
leading risk factor for global mortality for non-communicable
diseases, and supports participation in a variety of physical activ-
ities including those that strengthen muscle and bone.
contemporary youth are not as active as they should be,
children and adolescents should be encouraged to participate
regularly in play, games, sports and planned exercise in the
context of school and community activities. Not only is physical
activity essential for normal growth and development, but also
youth programmes that enhance muscular strength and funda-
mental movement skill performance early in life appear to build
the foundation for an active lifestyle later in life.
Since mus-
cular strength is an essential component of motor skill perform-
developing competence and condence to perform
resistance exercise during the growing years may have important
long-term implications for health, tness and sports
2 Lloyd RS, et al.Br J Sports Med 2013;0:112. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092952
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Resistance training as part of a well-rounded tness training
programme can offer unique health benets to children and
adolescents when appropriately prescribed and supervised.
Regular participation in youth resistance training programme
has been shown to elicit favourable short-term inuences on
musculoskeletal health, body composition and cardiovascular
risk factors.
11 7477
However, following a period of detraining
(812 weeks) various measures of muscular tness appear to
regress towards baseline values,
suggesting that engagement
in resistance training should be viewed as a long-term, year-
round commitment to a well-constructed and varied periodised
Given the growing prevalence of youth who are overweight
and obese and the associated health-related concerns, the inu-
ence of resistance training on the metabolic health, body com-
position and injury risk prole of children and adolescents with
excess body fat has received increased attention.
21 8186
Although low intensity, long-duration aerobic exercise is typic-
ally prescribed for youth who are overweight or obese, excess
body fat and weight may hinder the performance of physical
activities such as jogging. Additionally, adolescents who are
overweight and obese are more than twice as likely to be injured
in sports and other physical activities compared with their peers
who are not overweight or obese, typically due to a reduced
ability to demonstrate and maintain postural stability.
Furthermore, youth deemed to be overweight and obese seem
to demonstrate signicantly lower motor coordination than
normal weight youth,
which is of concern due to the estab-
lished relationship between motor coordination and levels of
physical activity.
70 9092
While the treatment of youth who are
overweight and obese is complex, participation in a formalised
training programme that is inclusive of resistance training may
provide an opportunity to improve their muscle strength,
enhance motor coordination and gain condence in their per-
ceived abilities to be physically active.
93 94
The available evidence indicates that resistance training has
the potential to offer observable health value to sedentary youth
and young athletes, and such training should always be designed
by qualied professionals to meet the needs of all children and
adolescents, regardless of body size or physical ability.
Resistance training and the growing skeleton
From a public health perspective, it is noteworthy that trad-
itional fears and misinformed concerns that resistance training
would be harmful to the developing skeleton have been replaced
by reports indicating that childhood may be the opportune time
to build bone mass and enhance bone structure by participating
in weight-bearing physical activities.
Fears that resistance
training would injure the growth plates of youths are not sup-
ported by scientic reports or clinical observations, which indi-
cate that the mechanical stress placed on the developing growth
plates from resistance exercise, or high strain eliciting sports
such as gymnastics or weightlifting, may be benecial for bone
formation and growth.
29 98102
While children have a lower risk
of resistance training-related injury to joint sprains and muscle
strains than adults,
attention to initial postural alignment and
technical competency during all exercises throughout the train-
ing programme is essential to ensure safe and effective practice
irrespective of resistance training mode. While numerous
factors, including genetics and nutritional status inuence skel-
etal health, regular participation in sports and tness pro-
grammes, which include multijoint, moderate-to-high intensity
resistance exercise, can help to optimise bone-mineral accrual
during childhood and adolescence.
23 24 97 104110
In fact, the
literature suggests that childhood and adolescence are indeed
key developmental periods for increasing bone-mineral density,
and that failure to participate in moderate-to-vigorous weight-
bearing physical activity during these stages of growth may pre-
dispose individuals to long-term bone-health implica-
24 95 111
Furthermore, no scientic evidence indicates that
resistance training will have an adverse effect on linear growth
during childhood or adolescence
99 112
or reduce eventual height
in adulthood.
Although the total elimination of sport-related and physical
activity-related injuries is an unrealistic goal, multifaceted train-
ing programmes that include general and specic strength and
conditioning activities may help to reduce the likelihood of
injuries in youth. Cahill and Grifth
incorporated resistance
training into their preseason conditioning for adolescent
American football players and reported a reduction in non-
serious knee injuries, as well as knee injuries requiring surgery,
over four competitive seasons. Hejna et al
reported that ado-
lescent athletes who incorporated resistance training in their
physical development programme suffered fewer injuries and
recovered from injuries with less time spent in rehabilitation as
compared with team-mates who did not participate in a similar
resistance training programme. Similarly, Soligard et al
cessfully reduced the risk of severe and overuse injuries in
female adolescent soccer players, following the implementation
of a comprehensive warm-up programme that incorporated
resistance-based exercises. Likewise, Emery and Meeuwisse
reported a reduction in overall injuries and acute injury inci-
dence in adolescent soccer players with the use of an integrative
training programme that included resistance training. Of note,
recent evidence suggests that adherence of adolescent female
soccer players to injury prevention programmes is greater when
facilitated by appropriately skilled coaches.
This underscores
the importance of regular coach education to ensure that quali-
ed professionals understand the mechanical requirements of
correct exercise techniques, fundamental principles of paediatric
exercise science and the pedagogical aspects of coaching youth
training programmes.
Despite specic case study reports highlighting acute resist-
ance training-related injuries,
112 118 119
such injuries have gener-
ally occurred when youth are unsupervised or supervised by
individuals with unqualied instruction and/or inappropriate
training loads.
Recent data examining acute resistance
training-related injuries in youth and adults reveal that approxi-
mately 77.2% of all injuries are accidental
and that most
injuries are potentially avoidable with appropriate supervision,
sensible training progression based on technical competency and
a safe training environment.
With respect to overuse injuries,
literature indicates that appropriately prescribed and well-
supervised training programmes will reduce the likelihood of
overuse injuries occurring in youth populations
and that
resistance training focused on addressing the risk factors asso-
ciated with youth-sport injuries (eg, low-tness level, muscle
imbalances and errors in training) has the potential to reduce
overuse injuries by approximately 50% in children and adoles-
26 123
For example, training protocols incorporated into
preseason and in-season conditioning programmes reduced
overuse injury risks, and decreased anterior cruciate ligament
(ACL) injuries in adolescent athletes.
It appears that multifaceted programmes that increase muscle
strength, enhance movement mechanics and improve functional
Lloyd RS, et al.Br J Sports Med 2013;0:112. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092952 3
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abilities may be the most effective strategy for reducing sports-
related injuries in young athletes.
116 124 129 130
Additionally, the
effectiveness of these injury prevention programmes is greater if
implemented in younger age groups prior to the onset of neuro-
muscular decits and biomechanical alterations.
130 131
participation in physical activity should not begin with competi-
tive sport but should evolve out of preparatory tness condi-
tioning that is sensibly progressed over time. This notion is
supported by the fact that basic jumping and landing activities
commonly encountered within both competitive sports and free-
play activities can expose individuals to ground reaction forces
of approximately 57 times body weight,
132 133
which are in
excess of the forces experienced during resistance training
Since physical inactivity is a risk factor for activity-related
injuries in children,
youth who participate regularly in
age-appropriate tness programmes, which include resistance
exercise, may be less likely to suffer an injury owing to the
apparent decline in free-time physical activity among children
and adolescents.
34 67 135137
As such, it seems that the musculo-
skeletal system of some aspiring young athletes may be ill-
prepared for the demands of sports practice and competi-
25 29 138 139
Recent position statements have recognised the
importance of physical activity and sport for youth, and
promote the early identication of tness decits in aspiring
young athletes and the proper prescription of training pro-
grammes to address individual limitations.
140 141
aspiring young athletes should be encouraged to participate in,
and appreciate the value of, multifaceted preparatory condition-
ing programmes that include resistance training to address de-
cits in muscular tness and skill development, and enhance
symmetry in strength development around joints. Importantly,
for youth who participate in multiple sports or multiple leagues
within the same sport, resistance training sessions should not be
simply viewed as an addition to the overall sporting schedule,
but should form a compulsory component in lieu of additional
competitive events or sport-specic training sessions.
Resistance training considerations for young females
Musculoskeletal growth during puberty, in the absence of corre-
sponding neuromuscular adaptation, may facilitate the develop-
ment of abnormal joint mechanics and injury risk factors in
young adolescent girls.
142 143
If not addressed, these intrinsic
risk factors may continue to develop throughout adolescence,
thus predisposing female athletes to increased risk of
144 145
In a recent longitudinal study, Ford et al
noted that young females who did not participate in resistance
training programmes as they matured developed injury risk
factors (eg, increased knee valgus moment when landing).
Conversely, those maturing athletes who did report participation
in resistance training activities were found to have safer move-
ment mechanics and increased posterior chain strength.
Well-supervised, multifaceted resistance training programmes
have been shown to reduce abnormal biomechanics (eg,
increased knee valgus landing) that manifest during adoles-
127 128 147 148
and appear to decrease injury rates in
female athletes.
The ndings of a recent meta-analysis
revealed that within existing literature, an age-related association
between resistance training and reduction of ACL incidence
only occurred in the youngest female athletes (1418 years),
indicating that the earlier youth can engage with a well-rounded
training programme inclusive of resistance training, the lower
the likelihood of ACL injury.
Resistance training utilised to
enrich the motor learning environment in early youth may
initiate adaptation and help low-motor competence children
catch-upwith their peers in neuromuscular control.
addition to reduced knee injuries in adolescent
female athletes, regular participation in a multifaceted
resistance training programme may also induce measures of the
neuromuscular spurt,dened as the natural increases in muscle
power, strength and coordination that occurs with increasing
age in adolescent boys,
which are not typically seen in
128 153
Of potential interest to sports medicine profes-
sionals, resistance training timed with growth and development
may induce the desired neuromuscular spurt, which may
improve sports performance and improve biomechanics related
to injury risk in young females.
128 144
Observed relative gains in
females can be greater than in males, perhaps because baseline
neuromuscular performance levels are lower on average in
128 156159
At present, research examining the psychological benets of
resistance training for youth is limited, and the literature that is
available has thus far produced equivocal ndings. While a
small number of studies have previously failed to demonstrate
signicant resistance training-induced psychological benets for
healthy youth,
112 160
other research indicates that physical activ-
ity interventions inclusive of resistance training can lead to
improvements in psychological well-being,
30 33
mood and self-
Of note, youth who possess relatively low levels of
self-concept at the start of an exercise programme may be more
likely to show signicant improvement in comparison with
those who begin training with a relatively high self-concept.
Research indicates that self-concept and self-perception are
related to an individuals level of engagement in physical activ-
It has been reported that adolescent girls improved
their physical self-perceptions in response to an 8-week resist-
ance training programme.
Similarly, various measures of self-
concept have been shown to improve in adolescent males and
females after a 12-week resistance training programme.
Collectively, these ndings indicate that age-related resistance
training can have a favourable inuence on the psychological
well-being of school-age youth provided that self-improvement
and enjoyment remain central to the training programme.
It should be noted that excessive volumes of physical training
(inclusive of resistance training) could lead to negative psycho-
social effects, especially for those youth who are emotionally
and psychologically vulnerable.
Excessive training with inad-
equate recovery may lead to a child or adolescent experiencing
overtraining syndrome, which is identied by prolonged mal-
adaptation of biological, neurochemical and hormonal systems.
In addition to physiological concerns, overtraining can have
serious psychosocial consequences
and may require substan-
tial time for a young athlete to make a full recovery.
highlights the need for appropriate prescription and supervision
by qualied professionals who listen to individual concerns and
understand the physical and psychological uniqueness of
younger populations.
The term trainabilitydescribes the sensitivity of developing
athletes to a given training stimulus.
As previously documented,
children and adolescents will increase muscular strength levels
as a result of growth and maturation.
Growth and
4 Lloyd RS, et al.Br J Sports Med 2013;0:112. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092952
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maturation can obscure the effects of training, as they can quite
often mask potential training effects if the intensity and volume
of the conditioning programme are suboptimal.
169 173 174
appropriate development of muscular strength can have import-
ant implications for sport and daily life. To induce adaptations
in muscular strength above and beyond those of growth and
maturation alone, the volume and intensity of training stimulus
must be sufcient.
2 5 12 175 176
Research clearly indicates that
appropriately designed resistance training programmes can
benet youth of all ages, with children as young as 56 years of
age making noticeable improvements in muscular tness follow-
ing exposure to basic resistance training exercises using free
weights, elastic resistance bands and machine weights.
161 177179
Irrespective of chronological age, it is recommended that any
child engaging in a form of resistance training is emotionally
mature enough to accept and follow directions, and possesses
competent levels of balance and postural control.
reports indicate that the magnitude of absolute strength gains is
greater in adolescents (effect size=1.91) in comparison to chil-
dren (effect size=0.81),
relative increases in strength appear
to be similar during the developmental periods of childhood
and adolescence.
119 180 181
It is acknowledged that muscular strength is important for
effective motor skill performance.
Findings from a recent
meta-analysis showed that resistance training is effective in
enhancing motor skill performance ( jumping, running and
throwing tasks), and that children showed greater gains in per-
formance than adolescents.
These ndings, in addition to
several reviews
highlight the effective-
ness of resistance training for enhancing motor skill perform-
ance in school-age youth, and underscore the importance of
implementing progressive interventions early in life when chil-
dren possess higher levels of neural plasticity.
Despite the growing body of evidence demonstrating that
resistance training can lead to established improvements in
motor performance through increases in qualities such as
strength, speed, power and other related characteristics,
aspect of discussion among some observers relates to the degree
of training-induced muscle hypertrophy that is possible in chil-
dren prior to puberty.
169 183185
Existing research suggests that
increases in muscular strength are a result of muscle cross-
sectional area, architectural (muscle size, moment arm length)
and neural (voluntary activation level) adaptations.
53 186
However, the mechanisms appear to differ according to the
stage of development and are tissue dependent (ie, muscle vs
tendon). The primary mechanism underlying resistance
training-induced gains in muscular strength and related charac-
teristics before puberty depend primarily on neural adapta-
2 49 187 188
However, among early and particularly late
adolescents, the effects of resistance training appear to be a
result of additional gains in lean body mass and muscle cross-
sectional area (especially in males); with further alterations in
neural mechanisms appearing to be the same as those adapta-
tions experienced by adults.
14 189
Therefore, the focus of resist-
ance training for children should be based on goals related to
enhancement of muscle strength, function and control, as
opposed to trying to make substantial increases in muscle size.
Indeed, when training children and adolescents the adoption of
a long-term approach to physical development should be imple-
mented with a clear understanding of the primary mechanisms
responsible for training-induced adaptations during different
stages of development.
Collectively, the existing literature highlights several import-
ant concepts. First, appropriate resistance training can result in
an increased level of strength during childhood and adoles-
12 14 182 190195
Gains in maximum strength have ranged
from approximately 10% to 90%,
depending on several
factors including the volume, intensity, frequency, duration and
design of the training programme, as well as the quality of
However, in general, expected strength gains of
3040% are typically observed in untrained youth following
participation in an introductory (820 weeks) resistance training
Second, resistance training results in only a minor
sex-associated effect on both absolute and relative strength gains
among prepubertal children, however, the magnitude of effect
does appear to be a function of sex in older groups.
evidence indicates that the most effective programmes last more
than 8 weeks and involve multiple sets, and that generally
strength gains increase with the frequency of training sessions
per week.
Finally, following a short training programme,
detraining will be quite rapid.
Consequently, youth should
be encouraged to participate in year-round resistance training in
order to maintain training-induced gains in muscular strength. It
should be noted that resistance training programmes for youth
should follow a training model with a progressive and systematic
variation in exercise selection, intensity, volume, frequency and
repetition velocity to enhance training adaptations, reduce
boredom and decrease the risk of overuse injuries.
Qualied professionals should regularly assess the readiness of
youth to participate in resistance training sessions, and should
manipulate daily training sessions when appropriate.
Weightlifting for youth
The available literature indicates that participation in the sport
of weightlifting and the performance of weightlifting move-
ments as part of a strength and conditioning programme can be
safe, effective and enjoyable for children and adolescents pro-
vided qualied supervision and instruction are available and
progression is based on the technical performance of each
41 103 200202
However, it must be emphasised that regardless
of the exercise choice, all youth resistance training programmes
should be consistent with a participants training age, technical
competency and maturational status. Additionally, qualied pro-
fessionals who are knowledgeable of youth resistance training
protocols and are able to teach and progress a variety of exer-
cises including weightlifting movements should instruct such
Weightlifting exercises have previously been used by paediat-
ric researchers to examine the potential effects of strength-
power training on a number of performance and physiological
200 203 204
The data gleaned from these studies indicate
that the incorporation of weightlifting exercises into a training
programme can produce positive alterations in body compos-
ition, cardiorespiratory variables, various motor tness para-
meters (eg, jumping and sprinting) and overall weightlifting
performance among youth.
200 203 204
Additionally, weightlifting
injury rate is reportedly lower than other forms of resistance
training and sports in general.
200 201
If training and competition
are properly supervised and sensibly progressed, then the per-
formance of weightlifting exercises may provide a safe and
effective stimulus for enhancing strength and power perform-
ance in school-age youth. Owing to the skill level required to
perform weightlifting movements correctly, it is important that
individuals responsible for teaching complex movements to
youth hold the requisite coaching qualications, and have
experience teaching weightlifting to children and adolescents to
ensure their continued safety and well-being.
Lloyd RS, et al.Br J Sports Med 2013;0:112. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092952 5
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Training variable considerations
Exercise selection
While a range of exercises performed using a variety of equip-
ment can be prescribed to both children and adolescents, it is
vital that the fundamentals of technical competency are priori-
tised at all times. The principles of equipment suitability and
familiarity for paediatric testing, also apply for youth participat-
ing in a resistance training programme. The use of child-size
equipment (light barbells, small dumbbells or xed machine
weights) is important for children or adolescents to properly
and safely execute a movement with correct technique.
Some of the resistance modes available to those prescribing
youth resistance training programmes include bodyweight,
weight machines, free weights (ie, barbells and dumbbells),
elastic resistance bands and medicine balls; all of which have
been proven to elicit physiological adaptation and/or perform-
ance enhancement when used in youth resistance training
17 21 79 80 112 128 153 177 190 206217
The selection of the resistance modality will largely depend
on the technical ability and baseline tness levels of the individ-
ual, the level of coaching expertise, the overall goal of the train-
ing programme and the availability of equipment. However,
when basic bodyweight exercise technique (eg, bodyweight
squatting, lunging, pressing and pulling movements) is suf-
ciently developed in the individual, exercises with free weights
should be incorporated into the training programme since alter-
native forms of resistance such as machine-based resistance have
been reported to stimulate less muscle activation in lower
upper body
and whole-body
exercises compared
with free-weight resistance, albeit in adult populations. For
technically competent youth, dynamic qualities can be
enhanced with multijoint, velocity-specic training in the form
of free-weight resistance training (eg, weightlifting and
202 210 212
For youths with a minimal training experience and associated
poor technical competency (ie, low-training age), qualied pro-
fessionals should employ a range of exercises which are
designed to promote the development of muscular strength and
enhance overall fundamental motor skill competency.
Childhood is deemed to be a crucial time in which to develop
motor skill competency, as it is during these formative years that
neuromuscular coordination is most susceptible to change.
During this stage of development, children will experience rapid
brain maturation,
and exposing children to key athletic move-
ment patterns at a time where natural strengthening of existing
synaptic pathways
and synaptic pruning
takes place, is
considered crucial for long-term athletic development
and life-
long physical activity.
Once the child can demonstrate appro-
priate technical competency, they can be introduced to more
advanced exercises that challenge the child in terms of coordin-
ation and require greater levels and rates of force production. In
the case of weightlifting exercises, which by their nature are
more complex movements, researchers have previously sug-
gested that early exposure should focus on technical develop-
ment using modied equipment and light external loads.
Training volume and intensity
Volume and intensity are key resistance training variables that
are routinely manipulated within a training session, or overall
phase of training, depending on the primary training goal of the
individual. Volume refers to the total number of times an
exercise is performed within a training session multiplied by the
resistance used (kg).
197 226
Intensity most commonly refers to
the resistance that is required to overcome during a repeti-
The relationship between volume and intensity is
inverse in nature; the greater the load (intensity), the lower the
number of repetitions that can be completed (volume) by the
Both variables must be considered synergistically
when prescribing resistance training to maximise physiological
adaptation and minimise injury risk. Exposing a child or adoles-
cent to excessive intensity (external loading) at the expense of
correct technique may lead to acute injury, while prescribing
excessive volume of training over a training block may induce a
state of overtraining. This highlights the need for qualied pro-
fessionals to not only understand resistance training prescription
theory but also the unique intricacies associated with youth of
different ages and maturity levels.
To prescribe appropriate training intensity, teachers and
coaches typically stipulate a percentage of an individualsone
repetition-maximum (1 RM). Research indicates that maximal
strength and power testing of children
and adolescents
safe and reliable when standardised protocols are implemented
and monitored by qualied professionals. While 1 RM measure-
ments are routinely used within paediatric research settings and
youth sport training facilities, owing to time and class size, phys-
ical education teachers and youth tness professionals may
benet from the use of alternative means of assessing strength.
Predictive equations that estimate 1 RM values from submaxi-
mal loads have been used in adult populations,
methods of predicting 1 RM values from higher repetition
ranges possess less accuracy, in particular when repetition ranges
exceed more than 10.
Additionally, the fatiguing effects of
higher RM testing schemes (eg, 5 RM or 10 RM) are note-
worthy since the cumulative effects of fatigue will inuence the
ability of a child or adolescent to maintain proper exercise tech-
nique throughout the testing set. If an overarching demonstra-
tion of muscular strength is the desired outcome, simple
eld-based measures such as vertical jump, long jump and hand-
grip strength assessment have been signicantly correlated to 1
RM strength values in youth and may serve as an appropriate
surrogate measure of muscular strength, especially in schools
and recreational settings.
232 233
Crucially, it should be noted
that a child or adolescent must be able to demonstrate sound
technical competency irrespective of the RM load or test
Progression of volume and intensity
When untrained or sedentary youth with a low-training age and
poor technical competency rst begin to participate in forma-
lised resistance training programmes, the use of 1RM measure-
ments (actual or predicted) to determine training intensities will
typically be unnecessary. Consequently, an appropriate repeti-
tion range should be prescribed to develop technical compe-
tency and acquire a base level of adaptation, and over time the
external load can be increased provided exercise technique has
sufciently improved. For individuals without prior experience
of resistance training, initial prescription should use low volume
(12 sets) and low-moderate training intensities (60% 1 RM)
for a range of exercises and movement patterns.
It should be
noted that when children are initially exposed to multijoint
resistance training exercises (eg, squatting), then multiple repeti-
tions might be counterproductive for motor control develop-
ment. Instead, it is recommended that children perform fewer
repetitions (13) and are provided with real-time feedback after
each repetition to ensure safe and correct movement
6 Lloyd RS, et al.Br J Sports Med 2013;0:112. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092952
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development. This is especially true for weightlifting exercises,
which will naturally require more frequent feedback owing to
the increased technical demands, associated with the move-
ments. Once basic exercise technique is competent, then pre-
scription should be progressed; for example, 24 sets of 612
repetitions with a low-moderate training intensity (80% 1
RM). Such progression should provide the child with sufcient
exposure in order to aid motor control development, while
serving as a suitable volume for physical conditioning. As train-
ing age and athletic competency increases, youth can be intro-
duced to periodic phases of lower repetition ranges (6) and
higher external loads (>85% 1 RM) in training, on the proviso
that technical competency remains.
15 77 200 234 235
However, it is important to note that not all exercises need to
be performed for the same number of sets and repetitions
within a training session. For example, an experienced adoles-
cent lifter may perform three sets of three repetitions of a
power-oriented exercise (eg, clean and jerk, snatch and deriva-
tives of these lifts); then complete three sets of 35 repetitions
of a large compound, multijoint movement (eg, back squat);
and then nish with two sets of 68 repetitions of a unilateral
exercise (eg, dumbbell lunge). Irrespective of the specicpre-
scription, qualied professionals must observe and monitor for
the effects of accumulated fatigue during the training session to
minimise the risks of fatigue-induced technique decrements,
which may predispose youth to training-related injury.
Depending on the learning environment, qualied profes-
sionals will need to provide feedback to ensure that technical
competency is maintained throughout each set of the training
programme. The frequency and mode of feedback will depend
to a large degree on the number of individuals training, type of
exercise being performed and the stage of learning and person-
ality traits of the youth involved. For example, when coaching a
novice, constructive feedback may be most helpful if it is pro-
vided after each repetition.
In physical education classes in
which the focus of the lesson is aimed at enhancing muscle
strength and fundamental motor skill development, constructive
feedback is most important since students are typically learning
the correct movement patterns for the rst time.
Rest intervals during training sessions
Available research indicates that children can recover more
quickly from fatigue-inducing resistance training,
236 237
are less likely to suffer muscle damage following this form of
exercise, owing to the increased pliability of their muscle
Therefore, rest periods of approximately 1 min
should sufce for most children. However, this may need to
be increased (eg, 23 min) as the intensity of training
increases, especially if the exercises require high levels of skill,
force or power production (eg, weightlifting or plyometric
exercises). While children can recover more quickly from
short, intermittent high-intensity exercise bouts than
236 237 239
within-session resistance training performance
should always be monitored to ensure correct resistance exer-
cise technique is maintained throughout the training session.
As such, commercial metabolic high-intensity resistance train-
ing programmes characterised by insufcient recovery between
sets and exercises may result in the performance of potentially
injurious exercise movements.
Training frequency
Training frequency typically refers to the number of sessions per-
formed within a week. Previous research has indicated that 23
sessions per week on non-consecutive days is most appropriate
in order to develop muscular strength levels in children and
5 240
Behringer et al
recently substantiated these
recommendations, indicating that across 42 studies (where mean
training frequency was 2.7±0.8 sessions/week), training fre-
quency was signicantly correlated with increased resistance
training effect. Since youth are still growing and developing,
resistance training programmes should provide adequate time
for rest and recovery. Youth who participate in resistance train-
ing programmes with a high training frequency should be moni-
tored closely. Training frequency may increase as children go
through adolescence and approach adulthood, especially for
youth in competitive sport. While sampling and exposure to a
variety of physical activity experiences should be recommended
to help promote long-term physical development,
coaches and tness professionals should be cognisant of the
potential difculties when youth participate in numerous activ-
ities resulting in the accumulation of high exercise volumes. For
youth participating in competitive sports, in-season resistance
training is needed to maintain gains in muscular tness and
reduce injury-risk. However, to reduce the chances of non-
functional overreaching or overtraining, and to allow natural
growth processes to occur, resistance training should not simply
be viewed as an additional training session within the overall
youth training programme, but as an alternative commitment in
place of sport-specic training sessions and/or competitive x-
tures. Depending on the competitive demands of the sport, any-
where between one and three resistance training sessions should
be completed in-season to enable the development (or at least
the maintenance) of previously acquired strength gains, and to
allow adequate time for rest and recovery. Increased lesson time
in physical education, taught by well-trained specialists may
hold a realistic and evidenced-based opportunity to increase
muscle strength and motor skill competency, which would facili-
tate an overall improvement in general physical tness.
Research demonstrates that exposure to resistance training with
qualied supervision during exercise lessons or physical educa-
tion classes does not have an adverse effect on after-school per-
formance in adolescent athletes.
Repetition velocity
While moderate movement velocities may typically be recom-
mended for youth when learning new movements or exercises,
there is also a need to promote the intention to move quickly to
develop motor unit recruitment patterns and ring frequencies
within the neuromuscular system.
A child with limited train-
ing experience may need to perform resistance exercises with a
moderate speed to maximise control and ensure correct tech-
nical development (eg, limb alignment, maintenance of correct
posture); however, a participant with a training history of
several months should be exposed to much greater movement
velocities. Repetition velocities may also uctuate within a
session; for example, the movement preparation phase (includ-
ing low load technical warm-up exercises) may consist of slower,
controlled movements, however, the main strength and power
exercises (inclusive of weightlifting and plyometric exercises)
will involve rapid movement speeds. For resistance training
exercises, the mass of the resistance will govern the velocity at
which the movement is performed. Although heavy strength
development exercises such as squatting, deadlifting, pressing
and pulling will typically involve slower movement velocities,
there should always be an intention to move as explosively as
possible to promote appropriate neuromuscular adaptations and
to maximise the transfer of training effect,
providing the
individual can demonstrate appropriate technique. The
Lloyd RS, et al.Br J Sports Med 2013;0:112. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092952 7
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development of high velocity movement may be especially
important during the growing years when neural plasticity and
motor coordination are most sensitive to change.
A compelling body of scientic evidence supports participation
in appropriately designed youth resistance training programmes
that are supervised and instructed by qualied professionals.
The current article has added to previous position statements
from medical and tness organisations, and has outlined the
health, tness and performance benets associated with this
training for children and adolescents. In summarising this
manuscript, it is proposed that
1. The use of resistance training by children and adolescents is
supported on the proviso that qualied professionals design
and supervise training programmes that are consistent with
the needs, goals and abilities of younger populations.
2. Parents, teachers, coaches and healthcare providers should
recognise the potential health and tness-related benets of
resistance exercise for all children and adolescents. Youth
who do not participate in activities that enhance muscle
strength and motor skills early in life may be at increased
risk for negative health outcomes later in life.
3. Appropriately designed resistance training programmes may
reduce sports-related injuries, and should be viewed as an
essential component of preparatory training programmes for
aspiring young athletes.
4. Regular participation in a variety of physical activities that
include resistance training during childhood and adolescence
can support and encourage participation in physical activity
as an ongoing lifestyle choice later in life.
5. Resistance training prescription should be based according to
training age, motor skill competency, technical prociency
and existing strength levels. Qualied professionals should
also consider the biological age and psychosocial maturity
level of the child or adolescent.
6. The focus of youth resistance training should be on develop-
ing the technical skill and competency to perform a variety of
resistance training exercises at the appropriate intensity and
volume, while providing youth with an opportunity to par-
ticipate in programmes that are safe, effective and enjoyable.
Author afliations
Cardiff School of Sport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, Wales, UK
Department of Health and Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey, Ewing,
New Jersey, USA
Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education, East Tennessee State
University, Johnson City, Tennessee, USA
Faculty of Health, Sport and Science, University of South Wales, UK
Widnes Vikings Rugby League Club, Widnes, UK
Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, Shreveport, Louisiana State
University, Louisiana, USA
Division of Sports Medicine, Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center,
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Department of Kinesiology, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
School of Health Sciences, University of Salford, Salford, UK
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Department of Orthopaedics, Division of Sports Medicine, Boston Childrens
Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA
Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM), Edinburgh, UK
Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of
Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA
Division of Cardiology, The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, USA
Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, Sports Health and
Performance Institute, Ohio State University, Ohio, USA
Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Provo, Utah, USA
Athercare Fitness and Rehabilitation, Alameda, California, USA
Athletic Training Division, School of Allied Medical Professions, The Ohio State
University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
Competing interests None.
Patient consent Obtained.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092952
published online September 20, 2013Br J Sports Med
Rhodri S Lloyd, Avery D Faigenbaum, Michael H Stone, et al.
training: the 2014 International Consensus
Position statement on youth resistance
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... Therefore, plyometric training with LGCF can effectively reduce the neural load, promote neural monitoring and control of SSC 42,43 . Reducing training intensity appropriately can reduce neural fatigue, allowing for greater attention to SSC regulation, thus enhancing neural adaptation 44,45 . ...
... (1) A reasonable OIT for plyometric training can provide adolescents with sufficient training volume, which is crucial for the development of the neural and muscular systems and for improving jumping performance. Studies have shown that appropriate training volume can gradually help adolescents adapt to training, enhance the reaction speed and coordination of the neural-muscular system 44,68 . In terms of the neural system, appropriate training can improve the activation efficiency of motor units and the learning efficiency of movement patterns 69 . ...
... In terms of the neural system, appropriate training can improve the activation efficiency of motor units and the learning efficiency of movement patterns 69 . In terms of the muscular system, appropriate training can enhance muscle strength, explosive power, and elasticity, and improve the coordination between the neural and muscular systems 44,68 . These changes and improvements in the neural and muscular systems can enhance the neural-muscular reaction speed and coordination of adolescents, thereby improving their jumping ability 70,71 (2) Plyometric training positively impacts adolescent growth and development. ...
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Plyometric training boosts adolescents' jumping ability, crucial for athletic success and health. However, the best total ground contact frequency (TGCF) and overall intervention time (OIT) for these exercises remain unclear. This meta-analysis aims to identify optimal TGCF and OIT in plyometric training for adolescents, focusing on countermovement jump (CMJ) and squat jump (SJ) outcomes. This systematic review encompassed five databases and included 38 studies with 50 randomized controlled experiments and 3347 participants. We used the Cochrane risk assessment tool for study quality and Review Manager 5.4 for data analysis. The current meta-analysis incorporated a total of 38 studies, comprising 50 sets of randomized controlled trials, to investigate the influence of different TGCFs and OITs on plyometric training. The Cochrane risk assessment tool indicated that all the included studies were classified as low risk. Various TGCFs in plyometric training positively affected CMJ and SJ heights in adolescents. The TGCF of less than 900 was ideal for enhancing CMJ, whereas more than 1400 was effective for SJ. The optimal OIT was 400–600 min, specifically, 500–600 min for CMJ and 400–500 min for SJ. Plyometric training improves jumping ability in adolescents. Lower ground contact frequency (< 900 contacts) enhances CMJ, while higher ground contact frequency (> 1400 contacts) is more effective for SJ. Optimal intervention time ranges from 400 to 600 min, with 500 to 600 min benefiting CMJ and 400 to 500 min improving SJ.
... [1][2][3] Over the last decade experts in youth development have published an international consensus on the importance of muscular strength in children and adolescents. 4 Empirical evidence further supports this, indicating that muscular strength enhancement in young athletes can improve physiological performance, 5 reduce associated injury risk factors, 6 and have a positive effect on health and well-being. 4 Numerous studies 7 have demonstrated that increased maximal strength relative to body mass can improve performance in explosive lower body movements, such as sprinting, 8,9 agility, 8 and vertical jumping. ...
... 4 Empirical evidence further supports this, indicating that muscular strength enhancement in young athletes can improve physiological performance, 5 reduce associated injury risk factors, 6 and have a positive effect on health and well-being. 4 Numerous studies 7 have demonstrated that increased maximal strength relative to body mass can improve performance in explosive lower body movements, such as sprinting, 8,9 agility, 8 and vertical jumping. 10,11 Jumping is an integral part of the training of an adolescent dancer, with jumping rates similar to those that are observed in volleyball. ...
... 21 When competency or training age is low, however, the use of multi-repetition maximum protocols seems a more plausible method of assessment. 4 The practitioners or researchers can then predict the 1 repetition maximum in youth. Multi-repetition maximum tests, however, are not as accurate as 1 repetition maximum for maximal strength evaluation and can increase the risk of fatigue accumulation. ...
Introduction The importance and potential benefits of muscular strength in the adolescent’s development for health and fitness has been demonstrated in the literature. Maximal muscular strength and its assessment, however, is not a primary assessment criterium in the selection of young talented dancers. Methods The present study evaluated the within- and between session reliability, variability, and minimal detectable change (MDC) of the isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP). Thirty-five participants (female n = 17) participated in 2 identical assessments on the same day with 4-hour break in between. Three 3-second IMTP were performed, and the mean peak force value was used for the analyses. Results Within-session the ICC indicated excellent reliability (ICC = .99, 95% CI: 0.98-0.99). Between-session reliability was excellent (ICC = .98, 95% CI: 0.95-0.99). The standard error of measurement was 4% (48 N), the minimum detectable change was 12% (134 N) and the CV was 3%. There were no within-session statistically significant differences, but statistically significant differences between-session were observed ( P < .001). Limits of agreement ranged from −121 N (95% CI −186 to −56 N) to 307 N (95% CI 243-372 N). Conclusion The observed results demonstrated excellent within- and between sessions reliability, low variability, and an MDC of 12%. The consistency of the within-session scores suggest that peak force data may be obtained with single try efforts. The statistically significant difference in the means of the retest session, however, suggests that the time of the day or the time since entrained awakening may be affecting performance in adolescent dancers. The results of the current study indicate that the IMTP is a reliable assessment tool for maximal muscular strength in adolescent dancers.
... Therefore, we are left with doubt about whether such an approach is appropriate to increase performance apart from developing healthy athletes and which strategies practitioners should follow to minimize undesired adaptations. Following this idea, effective resistance training methods to increase SV can and should be performed to facilitate athlete development if professionals supervise them and appropriate guidelines and progressions are followed (29,61,62). Nevertheless, because of high loads of serves hit during technical-tactical training and competition, alongside an increased number of sport-specific motions included in strength training sessions, specific considerations regarding training may be needed, especially when considering the beneficial effects of general resistance training tasks on reducing muscle imbalances and asymmetries (8,14,34). ...
... The velocity of execution of the repetitions should range from moderate-to-maximal speed, depending on the player's level. However, if the correct technique and optimal load progression are followed, highvelocity movement should be ensured, because it is essential to achieve efficient neural adaptations in children and adolescents (62). Following previous recommendations (20,34), exercises should include internal and primarily external rotator motions that balance the glenohumeral rotation ratio and reduce strength imbalances. ...
Junior tennis players perform many high-intensity serves during practice and competition. These demands can potentially put specific musculoskeletal structures at risk of developing negative adaptations that can increase the likelihood of injury. In addition, serve velocity enhancement sessions commonly include motion-specific resistance training approaches that can increase the load on these already at-risk muscles and joints. Therefore, it is essential to address holistically the optimization of serve training. To minimize harmful musculoskeletal adaptations and maximize performance, a multiperspective approach is advised when designing a serve training program for junior tennis players. This paper will propose methodological recommendations that can be included in these programs. Examples and suggestions include the benefits of incorporating general strength training tasks to minimize asymmetries and build robustness. Furthermore, on-court injury prevention protocols are proposed to target specific altered body structures and overall serving loads. Finally, load management strategies should ensure that training is controlled and organized appropriately.
... Physical fitness assessments play a crucial role in evaluating the health and performance levels of children and adolescents, especially within sports and physical education programs [1][2][3]. Among the various fitness components, core strength is particularly important due to its association with overall physical performance and injury prevention [4][5][6]. ...
... However, it may not be suitable for children with low levels of overall physical fitness or reduced motor ability, as they may struggle to perform even a single repetition [3,[11][12][13]. In addition, children with conditions, such as early joint problems, or limited flexibility may find it challenging to effectively perform the sit-up test due to reduced body mobility and musculoskeletal strength capacity [2,4,5,7]. ...
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Objectives to assess the reliability of the core “plank” test, investigate its correlation with abdominal resistance strength, and examine its longitudinal association before and after the COVID-19 pandemic in schoolchildren during the transition to adolescence. Methods The initial sample included 221 students aged 6–11 years in 2018 (58.8% of boys). These same students were re-evaluated between May and June 2023, at ages 11–16 years. The baseline assessments encompassed the plank isometric test and the abdominal sit-up (dynamic strength test). Due to resource limitations, only the plank test was conducted during the post-pandemic evaluation. To verify the reliability and reproducibility of the plank test, the two-way intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was used, also correlation coefficients (r) were calculated. Results The final sample comprised 130 boys and 91 girls, and the plank test demonstrated high reliability for both genders, with ICC ranging from 0.623 to 0.869 for boys and 0.695 to 0.901 for girls, as well as high Cronbach’s alpha (α) values, indicating internal consistency. The results revealed significant correlations between the plank test and other physical fitness variables for both boys and girls. The sit-up test showed moderate positive correlations with the follow-up plank test in girls, while in boys, the correlation was weak and negative in the baseline evaluation but became moderate and positive when adjusted for age. Conclusions The isometric plank strength test is highly reliable in children aged 6–16 years and can be used as an alternative measure to assess core strength in school-aged children. In addition, there was a significant and strong relationship between the plank test and the abdominal sit-up strength-resistance test, which provides valuable insights for fitness assessment in this age group.
... It can be performed with or without equipment using a variety of resistive loads, and in a range of settings (eg, at home, school, local park or gym/fitness centre). 10 When performed routinely, RT may lead to muscle hypertrophy (ie, increase in muscle size), improved muscular fitness (ie, muscle strength, power and/or endurance), body composition (ie, increases in fat-free mass and reductions in fat mass) and mental health (ie, self-esteem) in school-aged youth. 11 RT is also recommended within global physical activity guidelines for adults, 1 as it benefits a wide range of physical and mental health outcomes (including risk of chronic disease and depression/anxiety). ...