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You many think that strength training is just for adults, but it can actually be great for children too. In the past, medical and fitness communities believed that strength training was potentially harmful to children’s growth plates. It was strongly suggested that children avoid strength training at all costs. However, recent studies have shown that supervised strength training is not only safe, but also beneficial for children of all ages. With the proper supervision, strength training can help children build strength safely.

For already active children, strength training is extremely important. Children who play in sports need to build healthy muscles and bones to prevent an injury during a game or practice. By building up strength, junior athletes can stay healthy, fit and active for years to come.

5 Reasons Junior Athletes Need to Strength Train

In order to avoid injury, junior athletes need to strength train. If they are not prepared, it could mean they’ll be sitting on the sideline for weeks or even months if they sustain a moderate to severe injury. Below are 5 reasons why strength training is beneficial for your junior athlete.

1.     Physically Prepares Junior Athletes

Young athletes aren’t physically prepared to jump into high intensity sports right away. Because they are still growing, they still have not fully developed the strength, endurance or motor control of their muscles and joints, putting them at a higher risk for poor form, improper technique, training errors and injury. They need to prepare their body by working with a strength and conditioning specialist to ensure they have the proper strength, endurance, balance, coordination and mobility when it comes time to play. In turn, this will help reduce the risk of potential injuries.

2.     Improves Sports Performance

Strength training improves a junior athlete’s athletic performance, making them stronger and more focused. By working with strength training professionals, children will enhance their mobility, stability, coordination and strength over time. Additionally, strength training will help improve their speed, agility and conditioning. With the right techniques and exercise, this will help junior athletes improve their athletic skills and allow for a greater performance on the field.

3.     Prevents Overuse Injuries

Because junior athletes initially lack strength and endurance, they are more susceptible to overuse injuries. This type of injury can be caused by overcompensation, which leads to improper mobility, dysfunction and pain. Additionally, because junior athletes are performing sport specific movements for the first time, they may not even recognize they have an injury. Instead, they put off their pain, making the issue even worse. If this is left unchecked, it can cause overuse injuries to become more severe, taking them out of their sport and affecting their daily activities.

4. Decreases the Chance of Traumatic Injuries

Traumatic injuries can happen at any time. One wrong move can cause an ACL injury, fractured foot or sprained ankle. Although traumatic injuries are unpredictable, it does not mean they cannot be prevented. If young athletes have the proper strength training, there is less likelihood of them sustaining an injury. For example, if an athlete’s foot and ankle muscles are strong, there will be less of a chance of a strain, sprain or broken bone. Although not all traumatic injuries can be avoided, a strength and conditioning specialist can help junior athletes gain the ability to withstand stress put on their muscles and joints during a sporting activity.

5. Strength Training is Fun

Contrary to popular belief, strength training is actually fun! With the right mix of exercises, junior athletes will still improve their athletic performance but won’t feel like they are always playing the same sport. Keeping the training exciting, fun, and different each time will help prevent junior athletes from experiencing physical and mental burnout, especially as they begin to specialize in their particular sport.

Find a Junior Strength Training Program in Chicago

If you’re looking for your junior athlete to get involved in a strength training program, come visit Impact Physical Therapy and the Recovery Room. At Impact Physical Therapy and the Recovery Room, we offer general strength training programs for junior athletes of all ages. Children have the option to participate in individual, one-on-one sessions or group sessions with up to three people. We also offer sports specific strength training programs for competitive junior athletes involved in sports such as golf, tennis, swimming and soccer. For more information on our junior strength training programs, please contact us today to make an appointment.