Is strength training safe for kids?
Can kids actually get stronger from strength training?
What are the benefits of strength training for kids and teens?
What is the ideal strength training program for kids?
What is Reflexive Performance Reset (RPR)?
What is CO2 sensor reset?
What is Heart Rate Variability Monitoring (HRV)?

Is strength training safe for kids?

A question that many parents have is whether strength training is safe for kids. As a parent, I completely understand the concern. But as a veteran strength coach, I also understand that the concern is unfounded.

As an article by New York Times health columnist Gretchen Reynolds explains, the  misunderstanding can likely be traced back to the 1970s when researchers studied child laborers in Japan and concluded that the children were often abnormally short as a result of lifting and moving heavy objects.

For years, it was widely (and wrongly) accepted that strength training could stunt young peoples’ growth and otherwise jeopardize their safety. But in recent decades, numerous researchers and physicians have disproven these beliefs.

In fact, a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics concluded that strength training has many benefits for young people, and it may even be essential to promote optimal health.

According to Mayo Clinic, strength training that is done correctly not only offers  numerous health benefits to young people, it also helps protect their muscles and joints from being injured in sports.

Additionally, the National Strength and Conditioning Association released a position paper in 2009 stating that youth resistance training is now becoming universally accepted by medical, fitness, and sport organizations.

The position paper also stated that the NSCA “recognizes and supports the premise that many of the benefits associated with adult resistance training programs are attainable by children and adolescents who follow age-specific resistance training guidelines.”

Ultimately, there is a plethora of scientific information that has been released in recent years that disproves the assumption that strength training is dangerous for young people, and highlights its numerous health benefits.

Can kids actually get stronger from strength training?

Another misunderstanding that many adults have about youth resistance training is that it is not possible for young people to build strength.

However, an expansive review published a few years ago in the medical journal Pediatrics proves otherwise. Researchers poured over 60 years’ worth of data on children and strength training and found that:

  • Youth ages 6 to 18 benefit from strength training
  • Children are able to grow stronger from strength training, no matter their age
  • Teenagers tend to gain the most muscle strength from strength training
  • Consistency is key in order for children to get stronger from strength training

The results shut down what many people have mistakenly believed for years: that children cannot get stronger from strength training. The reason for the misunderstanding likely has to do with the fact that children typically do not put on muscle “bulk” when they get stronger like adults do, the review explained. That means it is more difficult to see when a child has become stronger by just looking at him or her.

However, as youth strength training expert Dr. Avery Faigenbaum explains in an article published by the New York Times, children’s strength gains are typically “neurological” in nature and result in the nervous and muscle systems working together more efficiently.

Therefore, strength training not only can improve a young person’s strength, it can also improve the way their body moves in general. As a result, strength training can really give young athletes the upper hand on the ice, field, court, slopes or in the pool.

What are the benefits of strength training for kids and teens?

Now that we have debunked two of the main myths regarding youth strength training (that it is dangerous and that youth are too young to gain strength) we are going to talk a little more specifically about the benefits of strength training for young people.

Building athleticism

Becoming a better athlete is all about learning how to use your body more efficiently, which is what strength training teaches.

It has even been shown by a few small studies that weight training leads to a significant increase in motor unit activation within a youth’s muscles, which essentially means that muscles are contracting more efficiently.

Not only do muscles learn how to work more efficiently, strength training also teaches the body how to maximize force which equals explosivity on the ice, field or court. Generally, the more force an athlete can use against the ground or ice, the faster the athlete will be.

Preventing injury

Lyle Micheli, M.D., who is a director of sports medicine and a professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard University, explained to the New York Times that few young people today, even athletes, get the activity necessary to keep their bodies strong and healthy. When kids engage in sports, their bodies don’t always have the tissue strength necessary to avoid injury. Strength training can help with that by building muscle and tendon strength.

For young people who participate in competitive sports, strength training is a key factor in avoiding injury, and also a key factor in rehabilitating after an injury has occurred.

Gaining confidence

One of the best aspects of strength training is the confidence it instills in young people during times when many adolescents and teens struggle with low self-esteem and insecurity. In situations where a young person has been cut by a team, strength training can potentially prepare a young person to try out again the following season, or simply give them a much needed confidence boost.

Becoming healthier

Research has disproven the concerns over strength training stunting growth or causing growth-plate injuries. Instead, research has confirmed the many health benefits strength training affords youth, including strengthening bones, promoting healthy blood pressure, promoting healthy cholesterol levels, promoting health weight, and promoting injury prevention, as identified by Mayo Clinic.

The days of believing that strength training is dangerous for young people are over. Today, it is clear that strength training not only gives adolescence an edge on competition, it also helps them to avoid injury, gain confidence and improve overall health.

What is the ideal strength training program for kids?

As we all know, today’s average American adolescent gets a lot less activity than the youth of past generations. Instead of carrying milk jugs and helping out on the farm, kids today spend a lot of time playing video games, studying and on their phones.

At the same time, athletics today are even more demanding and competitive than they have ever been, which can, unfortunately, result in injury. That’s why it’s important that athletes’ bodies are strong enough to handle what they will encounter in their sport by strength training.

In order for strength training to be safe and effective for young people it has to be properly supervised and catered to their abilities.

One reason supervision is so important is to avoid accidents that can occur when young people are careless around weights, which typically involve dropped weights that cause injuries to the fingers or feet.

Another reason supervision is so important is because it is crucial that the young person develop the proper technique to use throughout his or her strength training career.

In that same vein, the ideal strength training program for kids who are just getting into it focuses primarily on technique. Heavy weights are not used. Instead, the goal is to teach the kids how to lift.

As the athlete gets older and more experienced with lifting techniques, more weight can be added with care.

As the Mayo Clinic has said, strength training for kids should not be about competition, which is why competitive weightlifting, bodybuilding and power lifting should be avoided.

Finally, for optimal results, athletes should use a “smart” strength training program that is catered to meet the needs of the specific sport and athlete. The program should be “periodized,” and should incorporate both recovery and injury prevention elements.

With the right strength training program, today’s young athletes can make sure that their bodies are well-prepared for their sports.

What is Reflexive Performance Reset (RPR)?

Typically your body is in fight or flight mode thanks to injuries and every day stresses. RPR resets the body, taking it out of survival mode and into performance mode. Through a series of tests and activating reflex points, RPR helps the body fire in the correct sequence for optimal strength and flexibility while bringing the body to a stress-free state. Activation is used as part of the warm-up to training and under supervision the athlete can learn and perform this technique on themselves before every competition, game or event. An RPR certified coach can quickly address issues of improper movement quickly while training and administer full body resets between training sessions.


What is CO2 sensor reset?

A CO2 sensor reset can help an athlete deliver oxygen to working muscles more efficiently through breathing techniques. The reset allows the athlete to hold more CO2 in their bodies comfortably (same as altitude training) while training and at rest. Here is why this is advantageous: Red blood cells travel the body carrying oxygen molecules to deliver fuel for the working muscles. How do the red blood cells know when to deploy the oxygen to the target area? They are signaled to deploy in the presence of CO2 which is emitted by the muscles that are working. The more CO2 the more efficiently the oxygen is released and the less rapidly the athlete will need breath. The CO2 sensor reset is a series of breathing drills and movements, like walking, that can slowly desensitize the sensor allowing the athlete to hold more CO2 comfortably. Advanced training of this system is done with a pulse oximeter which measures the specific amount of oxygen circulating in the body. This advanced training brings the mountains to you.

What is Heart Rate Variability Monitoring (HRV)?

Each beat of our heart is triggered by an electrical impulse that can be easily recorded by an electrocardiogram (ECG), one of the most common ways to monitor heart activity. However, our heart doesn’t beat at a constant frequency.  When looking at heart rate variability (HRV), we are interested in capturing the variability that occurs between heart beats. A low HRV would mean the athlete’s nervous system is spending more time in a sympathetic shift, this means an abundance of stressors the athlete is exposed to. It would then be appropriate to modify training to avoid overtraining and injury. They would also  get advice on how to recover by getting more sleep, eating healthier, focusing on breathing, etc. A high HRV would show a positive shift in the nervous system, parasympathetic, which shows the athlete is handling the stressors well and can continue to train more frequently. The HRV reading takes only 60 seconds first thing in the morning by using the HRV4 app and their cell phone camera and light to get the reading. This reading is sent to the monitoring coaches for analysis.