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Strength training, or resistance training, is often incorporated in sports and physical fitness programs for children and adolescents. Some adolescents use strength training to improve their appearance by increasing muscle bulk. Depending on specific program goals, strength-training programs may use free weights, weight machines, elastic tubing, or the participant's own body weight.
The risks for strength training include those specific to young people with preexisting medical conditions as well as muscle strains, which account for 40% to 70% of all strength-training injuries. The most frequently injured areas are the hand, low back, and upper trunk. Most injuries occur on home equipment with unsafe behavior and in unsupervised settings.
Appropriate strength-training programs do not appear to adversely affect linear growth, growth plates, or the cardiovascular system.
General recommendations concerning strength-training in preadolescents and adolescents are as follows:
To ensure safety and efficacy, strength-training programs for young people should follow proper resistance techniques and safety precautions. Before the young person embarks on a strength-training program, the clinician should help determine whether it is necessary or appropriate to start such a program and what level of proficiency the young person has already attained in his or her chosen sport activity.
Until they reach physical and skeletal maturity, preadolescents and adolescents should avoid power lifting, body building, and maximal lifts. Overweight children may appear to be strong because of their size, but they are often unconditioned with poor strength, and they require the same strict supervision and guidance as do other young people undertaking a resistance program.
The AAP reiterates that athletes should not use performance-enhancing substances or anabolic steroids. Athletes who take part in strength-training programs should be educated about the risks associated with these substances.
Study taken from : Pediatrics. 2008;121:835-840
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