(3) Weight training is inclusive.
Many sports select directly or indirectly for very specific
physical attributes (Duquet, 1978; Keogh, 1999) or involve competition
against other youth regardless of body mass. Powerlifting and
weightlifting, with their multitude of weight classes and age
groups, allow for athletes who traditionally have few competitive
outlets the opportunity for competition in a controlled, equitable
environment. Even in a non-competitive weight room, any student
or athlete can experience success since any participant can improve
his performance. As such the activity may be more suitable for
child participation than sports where success is measured simply
by victory or defeat.
kid can smile in the weight room. No other training activity
lets everyone experience the joy of success regardless of physical
Recommendations Based on the available medical and scientific
data we strongly recommend:
1. Weight training programs for youth should be conducted
by well-trained adults. Ideally, the supervising staff should
be certified to coach and certified in first-aid. The American
Academy of Pediatricians proposes that it is essential that all
staff working with children should be trained in supervising
strength training through completion of programs from universities
or professional organizations. Few universities possess faculty
that are both experientially and academically prepared to teach
coaches proper coaching methods pertaining to weight training.
USA Weightlifting, in particular, and the National Strength and
Conditioning Association both have strong coaching education
programs for developing and certifying coaches that are easily
accessible. Ensure that the certifying authority you choose is
backed by an organization with professional membership and that
the certification examination is rigorous. Obtaining a certification
from an organization in business only to sell them is rarely
of value. Professional workshops, when conducted by trained professionals,
are also appropriate methods for gaining expertise.
2. Weight training should take place in facilities equipped
to support safe training practices. Use of quality free weights
in supervised weight training sessions, as presented in this
book, can be done inexpensively.
3. Skill-based weightlifting programs that include a wide
variety of general athletic preparation are appropriate for children
and can commence between the ages of 9 and 12 years of age.
4. Total exercise training time should not exceed 15 hours
per week. Coaches must consider the cumulative effect of all
the trainees physical activities. We recommend a holistic
approach to training, an approach that requires the coach to
be cognizant of the trainees exercise/activity behaviors
on and off campus.
5. Utilization of maximal weights, although no data currently
establishes a clear-cut relationship, has been opposed as a practice
that places the child athlete at risk of injury. We do not discourage
use of maximal and near-maximal loads (see Youth
Weight Training Literature Review for clarification). These
loads should be used cautiously and applied only as part of a
regimented training program for technically proficient trainees.
Each attempt and set must be supervised and safety measures must
be in place. Excellence in technique should be emphasized rather
than the amount of weight lifted.
is for everyone regardless of age, gender, and sport.
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