12/15/2022 - Entertainment and Well-being

Myths and truths about infant youth training

By Alberto Serruya

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Myths and truths about infant youth training

Training, physical exercise and, in short, physical activity at an early age, is a fundamental pillar, not only for improving physical performance or body composition, but also for better cognitive performance as well as psychosocial.

A rather controversial theme that generates many debates long ago is the training of strength in children. There are many myths around this field.

It is common for children and adolescents to try to recommend regular activities mostly aerobic like swimming, athletics or cycling to improve their cardiovascular conditioning, but few people talk about the benefits of strength training in them.

In the next report, we will name many myths that have been established without any scientific investigation that avale it.

  • Stops the growth of children: There is no scientific data supporting this belief. If the exercises are well planned and the training program is truly individualized and adapted to the child, there is no danger in growth. In fact, it favors growth and development during childhood and adolescence.
  • It is insecure: strength training no longer poses risk than any other physical activity in children. With good planning and good technique, there is no more risk than in any other sport.
  • Strength training only for healthy young people: really the strength training applied to people with overweight and obesity and with a generally sedentary life helps to improve their health in a more attractive way than long-lasting aerobic exercises. Many studies support multiple benefits of strength training.
  • Tied and inflexible muscles: Another myth says that strength training in children causes tight and inflexible muscles, but this is totally false, the movements performed in training with loads do not produce loss of flexibility. In fact, if the program is well structured, the opposite effect is fair.
  • Children do not have the ability to increase their strength by lack of testosterone: Testosterone is not essential for gaining strength.

Benefits of strength training in children

Although the generality a few years ago has been guided by the myths mentioned above, fortunately this approach is changing. In the last decade, strength training is being used as a more physical conditioning tool capable of producing multiple benefits in children and adolescents who want to improve their health, their physical state and their performance in other sports disciplines.

  • Increased strength and strength of muscles, in addition to muscle tolerance, bone mineral density and also increased performance of motor capacities (improved in heel, launch and speed)
  • There are also improvements in lipid blood levels. Body composition and sports capacity.
  • But the best of all is, the confidence in itself that is generated and the positive attitude to the practice of sports activities born in the child and that lasts all life.

Another outstanding benefit is the prevention of injuries that is achieved thanks to the strength training adapted to other sports disciplines that practice children during a full season.

By conducting force training, children and adolescents develop fundamental physical capabilities, making their musculoskeletal system better prepared for the requirements of practice sports.

And in relation to health, it is shown that overweight children enjoy much more of the well-planned strength trainings. Long-lasting aerobic exercises end up boring the child and have less long-term positive effects.

Main risks and concerns

Despite all the above, many people are still afraid of the possible injury of the epiphyse (also called growth plate) of long bones such as radio and femur.

Other injuries that concern are repetitive calls or excessive use of the soft parts of the muscles, tendons and ligaments. But there is also no evidence or studies that support the guilt of force training.

For infant youth training planning I consider that we should follow certain principles.

Progressive: The training or activity in question should always go from less to more.

Regular: Training or activity should be present every day minimum 60 min.

Overload: It should assume an effort in such a way that training or activity generates adaptations.

Creative: The coach must be able to generate playful activities for young people.

Fun: The fun is key to generating grip.

Socializer: The socialization component with your peers through game/delivery is essential for your psychosocial development.

Supervised: This is a call for trainers to be aware of being present at all times, as they are a population in complete development.

As always, a physical conditioning plan adapted to the child or adolescent in an individualized way will cause multiple benefits in its development. On the contrary, if poorly planned exercises are performed and without following a correct planning, it can lead to injuries and problems (such as poor training planning in adult people).

I always suggest that before deciding a strength training for a child who only begins to consult his pediatrician.

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alberto serruya

Alberto Serruya

National Professor of Physical Education. Personal trainer. Sports Coordinator.

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