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Sports Med. 1993 Jun;15(6):389-407.

Resistance training during preadolescence. Issues and controversies.

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Department of Physical Education, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


High intensity resistance training appears to be effective in increasing strength in preadolescents. Children make similar relative (percentage improvement), but smaller absolute, strength gains compared with adolescents and young adults in response to similar resistance training programmes. Resistance training appears to have little if any effect on muscle size, and strength gains during training have been associated with increases in levels of neuromuscular activation and changes in intrinsic contractile characteristics of muscle. Although unsubstantiated, improved motor coordination probably also contributes to the increase in strength, especially for more complex strength manoeuvres. On the basis of limited information, training-induced strength gains are lost during detraining, and the decay in strength has been associated with a reduction in neuromuscular activation. Short term resistance training appears to have no effect on somatic growth (height or weight) and body composition, and no proven positive influence on sports performance, injury rate or recovery from injury during preadolescence. Weightlifting has proved injurious to some children, especially when unsupervised and without instruction in proper weightlifting technique and load selection. In contrast, the risk of injury from prudently prescribed and closely supervised resistance training appears to be low during preadolescence. Lastly, short term resistance training appears to have no detrimental effect during preadolescence on either cardiorespiratory fitness or resting blood pressure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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