Youth and Resistance Training

by Pippa Teague

Infinite Potential Strength Coach

I would like to start off by giving the research credits to Barbell Medicine and their 3 part series has been summarized below.

Previously a lot of peoples beliefs surrounding youth and resistance training involved some of the following quotes and I still hear some of these coming up today:

“Resistance training stunts growth”

“Kids shouldn’t lift weights-it will damage their growth plates”


Well…both of these statements have been proven to be wrong and we have slowly shifted from that mindset.

Childhood is the time where we need to be focusing on building bone mass and structure by weight bearing activities!

It is ok for kids to weight train and resistance train-in fact, its GOOD for them!


Studies have shown these three important factors to resistance training as a youth

  1. Resistance training should be essential for aspiring athletes
  2. Participation early in life correlates to later life
  3. Those who don’t resistance train are at a higher risk of negative consequences 


Developing those skills early in life is very important if we want to remain healthy and fit as we get older.

Today 10 year olds are participating in the same amount of exercise as 60 year olds!

We are failing at getting our youth to exercise the amount that has been recommended – 5-17 year olds should engage in 60 mins of moderate to vigorous activity/day! Only 40% are actually achieving this!

Here is a breakdown of some age ranges and examples of how to include resistance training int their exercise.

Ages 6-8 – FUNdamentals, game oriented exercise, coordination, balance, agility

Ages 10-13 (males ) 9-11 (females) – learning to train, plyometric and free weights with a variety of training

Adolescence 14-18 (males) 12-18 (females) training to train, sport specific plus other training, heavy and slow resistance training

Adulthood Ages 18+ – training to compete, sport specialty, resistance training still an integral part

One study found that strength training reduced injuries three fold over the course of 1 soccer season! It also improved cutting speed and jumping !

Another study looked at females in repetitive sport e.g. running, and found that those youth athletes were 3 times more likely to have a lower bone mineral density than females who did the repetitive sport but also were resistance training.


Resistance training is important not just for youth athletes but for growing children.

Longer programs elicit larger effects and it is important for youth athletes to maintain resistance training alongside their sport for optimal results!






Citation: ‘resistance training for youth part I and part II’

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