Resistance Training in Preadolescents

October 12, 2023
Resistance Training in Preadolescents

Let’s clear up some myths around sports training with children under 13 years old. Years ago, the myth was that resistance training would have negative effects on children. Weight training was believed to stunt a child's natural growth pattern by affecting the child's musculoskeletal system. This led to parents having concerns for their children…and who could blame them?? Because of the concerns and the competitive nature of humans, people wanted to understand if training did have a negative impact on children. 

Numerous studies have shown that these misconceptions about weight training are incorrect. There is no evidence showing that a well-programmed and supervised training program would have any negative effect on a child's natural growth potential. The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) found that weight training for this age group has similar effects as adolescents and adults. Another benefit of training from an earlier age is an increase in strength, hypertrophy and bone mineral density in the first 8-12 weeks in preadolescents participating in a strength training program. Other positive benefits include improvement in the cardiovascular system, weight control, and improved motor skills.


Specific guidelines are to be followed when creating a resistance training program for children. Resistance training programs for preadolescents should include a variety of different resistance mechanisms such as medicine balls, free weights, resistance bands. The goal of the training programs should be individualized depending on age, but should always focus on technique and form. The reps, sets and load should be well supervised by the strength and conditioning coach.

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