Teen Athletes and Weight Lifting

by Coach Briody
(Long Island)

Teen Athletes and Weight Lifting

There has been much said about lifting and age. I get asked about this topic often. Everyone has their viewpoint. As youth sports become more competitive in the United States, training will start young, from 8-10 years old in a particular sport such as football, baseball, basketball, boxing, and wrestling. It’s almost always sports specific, yet another debatable topic, as I believe in the multisport athlete.

In the old Soviet countries, emphasis is placed on preparing teens 12 and above for sports but not by playing a certain sport. This training is general mobility, flexibility, dexterity, endurance, hand/eye coordination, balance, and strength. For example, pushups, pull-ups, rope climbing, medicine ball work, kettle bell work, and some running and short sprints are done. They produced the model athlete for their sports system. Children were chosen for the sport that suited their physical, mental, and emotional qualities. Neither the child nor the parents were able to pick the sport.

Here in the United States, there are many sports that are popular, and yes our athletes have a choice. Regardless of the sport all that sprinting, jumping, and agility just doesn’t seem to be enough and the evolution seems to be to start lifting weights.

Before beginning a rigorous weight training regime one should master certain bodyweight exercises. Pull ups, squats, lunges, pushups, burpees etc, should be part of your training schedule. There are certain athletes, such as power lifters and football lineman that require certain very specific
power. But for the well rounded athlete, benching twice your weight and not being able to do 10 pull ups is not a good formula.

Some tricks when it’s time to hit the weights

• Of course proper form is a must to prevent injury and when possible weight train with a partner or spotter for safety.
• Change the bar speed. Most sports require explosive strength and speed. This can be worked on using chains and straps on a bar to decrease the use of momentum. A good trainer will set you up here.
• Try foam box squatting, lowering the regular squat box and placing a 7-inch foam pad on top. This makes box squatting very taxing on the muscles. It feels like there is no bottom in the squat. This causes better balance and feels somewhere between a regular squat and a box squat.
• Switch exercises frequently, the central nervous system is never fatigued. This will cause muscle confusion and increase the rate of strength and growth.
• Work of your weaknesses. Set goals here and figure out where your weaknesses are and build upon them.
• Work with your coach or trainer to make effective use of your time. Simply mashing together a bunch of exercises with no purpose will not build a superior athlete.

Teen weight lifting is a great way to add athletic performance, but only when built upon a great foundation of body weight exercises, strong cardio and healthy nutrition plan.
Coach Briody

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Aug 10, 2011
Body weight execises
by: Ann

I love the part about perfecting bodyweight exercises, couldn't have said it better!

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