Fall Sports Spotlight: Strength Training for Young Athletes

School is back in session and that means tryouts and after-school practices begin again for a variety of sports including football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. Whether your child participates in a private league or does sports through school, it’s important for parents to know how to keep kids healthy, strong, and safe so they can keep playing all season long.

More than 3.5 million sports injuries happen each year in the United States, and that’s just in children under age 15! Strength training is a great way to help prevent sports-related injuries from happening to children, teens, and adults. It’s important to note that strength training is very different from weight lifting and bodybuilding, as those types of exercises are not recommended for children. Our AllKids East Valley pediatric urgent care providers are here to give you their professional advice on how to keep your kids safe from harm.

What is Strength Training?

Strength training is the process of using free weights, resistance, and your own body weight to strengthen your muscles, build endurance, and even improve bone density. It’s important to teach kids the proper techniques and methods of strength training and what is appropriate for their age. The most important thing to remember is that the goal is not to lift extremely heavy weights and have your biceps grow as large as Popeye’s. Doing several repetitions with smaller weights is the perfect way to tone the muscles and improve the health of the ligaments and joints that support them as well. For children, exercises just using body weight can go a long way in helping prevent sports injuries.

What Age Should Kids Start Strength Training?

If your child is old enough to participate in a sports league or on a school team, they can most likely begin training their bodies with efficient and safe exercise routines. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that strength training is great for all children age 8 and up. AAP has studied the effects of strength training on children and found that, despite what many parents fear, it does not stunt their growth or lead to fatigue and over-exertion unless they are exercising improperly.

In Case of Injury…

In the event your child gets injured playing a sport this season, or from using improper strength training techniques, AllKids Mesa and Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Cares are here to help! Both office locations are open daily from 12pm-10pm. For more information about the AllKids Urgent Care centers or our providers, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and www.mysickkid.com to read reviews from satisfied parents!

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