Likewise, the studies showed body composition improvements in 10-to
14-year-old boys and girls following eight weeks of sensible strength
training. On the average, the young strength exercisers added 3 to 4
pounds of lean weight and lost 1 to 2.5 pounds of fat weight during
the training period.
One of the most important outcomes of these five studies involving
well over 100 boys and girls was the absence of any exercise-related
injuries. It is therefore suggested that well-designed and
well-supervised strength training programs are a safe and productive
means for improving muscle strength and body composition in teen and
pre-teen boys and girls.
Although the long-term benefits of youth strength training have not yet been documented, it is logical to assume that leaner and stronger youth may become leaner and stronger adults. Developing a strong musculoskeletal system during the formative years may also reduce the risk of injuries and degenerative diseases during the adult years.
The medically-based guidelines for youth strength training programs emphasize an uncrowded facility, appropriate equipment, physician clearance, qualified instructors, brief exercise periods, gradual progression, no competition and no maximum lifts. When appropriate training guidelines are observed, strength exercise is a recommended physical activity for teen and pre-teen boys and girls.
Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., is fitness research director at the South
Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA., and author of several fitness books
including the new releases, Building Strength and Stamina and Strength
Training Past 50.
© 2000 Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D. all rights reserved