Resistance Training for Children and Youth:
A Position Stand from the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA) 2007
The paper discusses about the use of resistance training by children (6-12 years old) and youth (13-18 years old) and gives its position stands.
Recommendation of training loading intensities and exercise selection strategies
Level 1: 6-9 years of age
- Modified bodyweight exercises and light resistance (brooms and bands etc.)
- Perform in the range of >15 reps
Level 2: 9-12 years of age
- Simple joint exercises with dumbbells and appropriate machine exercises for children
- Perform in the range of 10-15 reps
Level 3: 12-15 years of age
- Include more free weight exercises. Complex lifts such as cleans, snatches, deadlifts and squats should be done only if properly taught by a competent strength coach
- Perform in the range of 8-15 reps
Level 4: 15-18 years of age
- Moving towards an advanced adult programme involving split routines with appropriate and complex multi-joint movements, provided sound technique has been developed by a competent strength coach
- Perform in the range of 6-16 reps
This paper provides sound arguments and useful information & advice on this hotly debated topic. I strongly encourage readers to download and read through it.
One advice that the paper mentions is the use of Repetition Method (RM) instead of 1 RM testing to determine appropriate training loads or to monitor training progresses. Personally, I use the RM method in my trainings as well. 1 RM method may be confusing and not as effective for young beginners as they may be unable to find their true 1 RM in the test. Causes may be lack of experience and unable to push to their limits (stopping before they reach temporary muscular fatigue) etc.
If you are performing a straight set, for example, 3 sets of 10 reps, find a load that you can perform for only 10 reps and perform 3 sets of the same load. Progressively increase the load in subsequent sessions
For pyramid set training, for example, 3 sets of 15, 10 and 8 reps, adjust the load accordingly for the given number of reps. Lower reps = higher loads
All these can be done through trial and error till you become proficient and experienced enough to accurately estimate the load required for a particular rep range.
Website of the Australia Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA)
Website of Australian Sports Conditioning
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