Strength training in youth


Strength training in adolescence is an often discussed topic with many concerns. Known concerns are that strength training is dangerous and damaging to the child’s development. Young people are not yet able to do many exercises, and many children do not want to do strength training at all.

From the scientific side, there were additional concerns due to incorrect studies. For example, there is not yet enough testosterone in the body of a teenager to build up muscles. In addition, strength training endangers the length growth of the under 18 year olds. Above all there were concerns that strength training could stop the growth. However, it is now known that there have been misinterpretations of the studies in this area and that some of them were not carried out adequately.

Scientific view

For many, the question arises additionally why strength training should already be carried out in adolescence, since this training is actually only associated with adults. Since strength is a central ability of the body to implement movements, there is nothing to be said against training this already in adolescence and putting it on a solid basis. If you start strength training in adolescence, it can have a positive effect on the entire musculoskeletal system and provide a good foundation for adulthood.

Adaptation symptoms of strength training occur in muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons and the central nervous system. The ability to concentrate is also trained by strength training. The adolescent athlete gets to know 3-dimensional movements and learns how to best concentrate on them.

In the meantime, many studies have been conducted on this topic and new findings have been made. Concerns about growth damage were quickly eliminated. Young people usually move a lot, jump, run and climb.

In doing so, much higher loads on the joints and bones can be measured than would be possible during strength training. Studies have been able to prove that strength training tailored to age can lead to enormous increases in strength. In addition, strength training in adolescence, if used correctly, can be an effective measure to increase bone density and contribute to injury prevention.

It should be noted that training for an adult cannot be transferred one-to-one to an adolescent. Training must be tailored to the age and development of the adolescent. Taking into account the important points, training in adolescence can enable strength gains of up to 30 percent without damaging the body.

In addition, the coordination between and within the muscles improves significantly. However, strength training in adolescence only makes sense if the motivation for it comes of one’s own free will and the adolescent is fully engaged in it. Furthermore, an adult should always be present at the beginning to prevent injuries and incorrect execution.

In general, a high injury rate is often attributed to strength training. This is not true according to current studies. With the strength sport only 0.0003 injuries come on 100 training hours. In team sports such as soccer (6.2 per 100 hours) this value is significantly higher. Strength training is therefore a relatively safe sport if you follow a few rules.