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PEDIATRICS is the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. A monthly publication, it has been published continuously since 1948. PEDIATRICS is owned, published, and trademarked by the American Academy of Pediatrics, 141 Northwest Point Boulevard, Elk Grove Village, Illinois, 60007. Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics. All rights reserved. Print ISSN: 0031-4005. Online ISSN: 1098-4275.
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results are inconsistent regarding the translation of increased strength to enhanced youth athletic performance. 1098-4275). Increases in strength occur with virtually all modes of strength training of at least 8 weeks’ duration and can occur with training as little as once a week. Such gains in strength can be attributed to a neurologic mechanism whereby training increases the number of motor neurons that are “recruited” to ﬁre with each muscle contraction. strength training has been shown to have a beneﬁcial effect on several measurable health indices. blood lipid proﬁles.7–12 Appropriately supervised programs emphasizing strengthening of the core (focusing on the trunk muscles. revised. Online. or retired at or before that time.13 In preadolescents. adolescents. 2009 . muscle size. BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING In addition to the obvious goal of getting stronger.1542/peds. mode (type of resistance). deﬁnes relevant terminology and provides current information on risks and beneﬁts of strength training for children and adolescents.11. Similar to the geriatric population. Key Words children. such as providing rotator cuff and scapular stabilization exercises preventively to reduce overuse injuries of the shoulder in overhead sports.1. Recent research suggested a possible reduction in sports-related anterior cruciate ligament injuries in adolescent girls PEDIATRICS Volume 121. bone mineral density. Unfortunately. such as cardiovascular ﬁtness. or an athlete’s own body weight.2007-3790 All policy statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics automatically expire 5 years after publication unless reafﬁrmed. There is limited evidence to suggest that prehabilitation may help decrease injuries in adolescents. gains in strength.14. which is a revision of a previous American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement.6 Multiple studies have shown that strength training.5. Similar to other physical activity. strength training. intensity.14. although some adolescents may use strength training as a means to enhance muscle size for improving appearance.2 Recent studies have shown some beneﬁt to increased strength.21.22 and there is no evidence that strength training will reduce the incidence of catastrophic sports-related injuries in youth. Strength-training programs may include the use of free weights.19. although training twice a week may be more beneﬁcial. strength training augments the muscle growth that normally occurs with puberty in boys and girls by actual muscle hypertrophy. but it is unclear whether it has the same beneﬁt in preadolescent athletes. can increase strength in preadolescents and adolescents. eg. 0031-4005. Olympic weightlifting PEDIATRICS (ISSN Numbers: Print.1. with proper technique and strict supervision. strength-training programs may be undertaken to try to improve sports performance and prevent injuries. www.1.17.8 Frequency. April 2008 835 Downloaded from www. The amount and form of resistance used and the frequency of resistance exercises are determined by speciﬁc program goals.org/cgi/doi/10. elastic tubing. and duration all contribute to a properly structured program. and mental well-being in children with cerebral palsy. weight machines. proper resistance training can enhance strength without concomitant muscle hypertrophy. overall function. including female individuals and preadolescent boys. Table 1 deﬁnes common terms used in strength training.1. and/or enhance long-term health.2007-3790 doi:10.4 Resistance training is being incorporated into weight-control programs for overweight children as an activity to increase the metabolic rate without high impact. This statement.pediatrics. In contrast.pediatrics. rehabilitate injuries. Unfortunately. and mental health.3.POLICY STATEMENT Strength Training by Children and Adolescents Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness Organizational Principles to Guide and Deﬁne the Child Health Care System and/or Improve the Health of All Children ABSTRACT Pediatricians are often asked to give advice on the safety and efﬁcacy of strengthtraining programs for children and adolescents.12. the abdominal. low back.org by on June 28.18 Strength training is a common practice in sports in which size and strength are desirable. resistance training.7. strength training in youth may stimulate bone mineralization and have a positive effect on bone density.1542/ peds. body composition. Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics S TRENGTH TRAINING (ALSO known as resistance training) is a common component of sports and physical ﬁtness programs for young people. or power are lost 6 weeks after resistance training is discontinued.20 Preventive exercise (prehabilitation) refers to strength-training programs that address areas commonly subjected to overuse injuries. Number 4.14–16 This mechanism accounts for the increase in strength in populations with low androgen concentrations. and gluteal muscles) are also appropriate for children and theoretically beneﬁt sports-speciﬁc skill acquisition and postural control.
11. Although research supports the safety and efﬁcacy of resistance training for children. arm curl. medical conditions. and gluteal muscles as well as ﬂexibility of muscular attachments to the pelvis. low-back pain. such as jumping up onto and down from a platform. because they may require medical clearance to reduce the potential for additional elevation of blood pressure with strength training if they exhibit poorly controlled blood pressure. symmetry. and deﬁnition are judged. because they are at risk for acute decompensation with a sudden change in hemodynamics. Youth who are interested in getting bigger and stronger should be discouraged from considering the use of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances and should be provided with information regarding the risks and health consequences of using such substances. Abbreviation for repetitions.24 Injury rates in settings with strict supervision and proper technique are lower than those that occur in other sports or general recess play at school. The data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System neither specify the cause of injury nor separate recreational from 836 AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS Downloaded from www.org/ family/sportsshorts12. low back. the squat. such as the quadriceps and hamstring muscles. machines. Weightlifting (which is sometimes called Olympic lifting) includes the snatch and the clean and jerk. the greater the strength development.1. Youth should be reminded that strength training is only a small part of an overall ﬁtness or sports program.26. who are at risk for worsening ventricular hypertrophy and restrictive cardiomyopathy or hemodynamic decompensation secondary to an acute increase in pulmonary hypertension. lowering a weight). A competitive sport that involves maximum lifting ability. A group of repetitions separated by scheduled rest periods (eg. should be counseled against weight training. the greater the work performed and the greater the endurance development.25 Most injuries occur on home equipment with unsafe behavior and unsupervised settings.10. and expectations from both the child and the parents. it is not necessary or appropriate for every child. The speed of muscle contraction is ﬁxed through the range of motion. low back. Youth who have received chemotherapy with anthracyclines may be at increased risk for cardiac problems because of the cardiotoxic effects of the medications. Overweight children may appear to be strong because of their size but often are unconditioned with poor strength and would require the same strict supervision and guidance as is necessary with any resistance program.pdf. The more weight lifted. leg press). and/or other resistance devices to attain this goal. A competitive sport that also involves maximum lifting ability. or the cardiovascular system.TABLE 1 Deﬁnition of Terms Term Strength training Deﬁnition The use of resistance methods to increase one’s ability to exert or resist force. Focusing a strengthening program to the muscles that stabilize the trunk of the body. growth plates. with the hand. The maximum amount of weight that can be displaced in a single repetition. More patient-friendly information on performance-enhancing substances is available at www. idarubicin. The more repetitions. The training emphasizes strengthening of the abdominal. Repeated eccentric and concentric muscle contractions. 2009 . and possibly mitoxantrone. Young athletes with seizure disorders should be withheld from strength-training programs until clearance is obtained from a physician.29 although caution should be used for young athletes with preexisting hypertension. Core strengthening Set Reps One-rep max (1RM) Concentric contraction Eccentric contraction Isometric contraction Isokinetic contraction Progressive resistive exercises Plyometric exercises Weightlifting Power lifting competitive injuries that result from lifting weights. techniques.24.aap. Youth with other forms of cardiomyopathy (particularly hypertrophic cardiomyopathy). training goals. and resistance training in this population should be approached with caution. The training may include use of free weights.31 Young people with Marfan syndrome with a dilated aortic root also are counseled against participation in strength-training programs. A competition in which muscle size. wall sits: athlete holds the position of feet planted ﬂat on ground with knees at a 90° angle and back against the wall). Muscle strains account for 40% to 70% of all strength-training injuries. motives for wanting to begin such a program. RISKS OF STRENGTH TRAINING Much of the concern over injuries associated with strength training come from data from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. GUIDELINES FOR STRENGTH TRAINING A medical evaluation of the child before beginning a formal strength-training program can identify risk factors for injury and provide an opportunity to discuss previous injuries.24 which has estimated the number of injuries connected to strength-training equipment.27 Appropriate strength-training programs have no apparent adverse effect on linear growth. the individual’s own body weight. The muscle lengthens during contraction (eg. such as jumping up onto and down from a platform. 3 sets of 20 reps). The muscle length is unchanged during contraction (eg. Individuals with moderate to severe pulmonary hypertension also should refrain from strenuous weight training. and the bench press.org by on June 28.28.pediatrics. daunomycin/daunorubicin. An exercise regimen in which the athlete progressively increases the amount of weight lifted and/or the number of repetitions.30 Speciﬁc anthracyclines that have been associated with acute congestive heart failure include doxorubicin. The muscle shortens during contraction (eg. The American Academy of Body building when strength training was combined with speciﬁc plyometric exercises. and upper trunk being commonly injured areas. Power lifting includes the dead lift.23 Plyometric exercises enable a muscle to reach maximum strength in a relatively short time span through a combination of eccentric and concentric muscle contractions.
because it involves speciﬁc types of rapid lifts. Before beginning a formal strength-training program. Increasing the repetitions of lighter resistance may be performed to improve endurance strength of the muscles in preparation for repetitive-motion sports. take place 2 to 3 times per week. Proper 10. athletes should not use performance-enhancing substances or anabolic steroids. 2. body building. Strength gains can be acquired through various types of strength-training methods and equipment. Youth with uncontrolled hypertension. Preadolescents and adolescents should avoid power lifting. April 2008 837 Downloaded from www. For achievement of gains in strength. Proper resistance techniques and safety precautions should be followed so that strength-training programs for preadolescents and adolescents are safe and effective.to 15-minute warm-up and cool-down periods with appropriate stretching techniques also are recommended.34 it seems logical that strength programs need not start before achievement of those skills. Number 4. such as the “snatch” and the “clean and jerk. Guidelines have been proposed by the AAP (as follows). and continue to add weight or repetitions as strength improves. and should be performed through the full range of motion at each joint. because safe technique may be difﬁcult to maintain and body tissues may be stressed too abruptly. it is reasonable to add weight in 10% increments. the AAP remains hesitant to support participation by children who are skeletally immature and is opposed to childhood involvement in power lifting. For the purposes of this policy statement. most strength-training machines and gymnasium equipment are designed for adult sizes and have weight increments that are too large for young children. although strength training should be part of a multifaceted approach to exercise and ﬁtness. including the muscles of the core. Children with complex congenital cardiac disease (cardiomyopathy.35–37 and some programs have low rates of injury because they require stringent learning of techniques before adding any weight. seizure disorders. provide small weight increments. body building. Athletes who participate in strength-training programs should be educated about the risks associated with the use of such substances. When children or adolescents undertake a strengthtraining program. a referral may be made to a pediatric or family physician sports medicine specialist who is familiar with various strength-training methods as well as risks and beneﬁts for preadolescents and adolescents. or use of the 1-repetition maximum lift as a way to determine gains in strength.38 and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. When pediatricians are asked to recommend or evaluate strength-training programs for children and adolescents. RECOMMENDATIONS 1.33 Because balance and postural control skills mature to adult levels by 7 to 8 years of age. as discussed in Table 2. or a history of childhood cancer and chemotherapy should be withheld from participation until additional treatment or evaluation. The sport of weightlifting is distinct from common strength training. Proper supervision is deﬁned as an instructor-to-student ratio no more than 1:10 and an approved strength-training certiﬁcation. Strength training 4 times per week seems to have no additional beneﬁt and may increase the risk for an overuse injury. Free weights require better balance control and technique but are small and portable.org by on June 28.39.40 Young people who want to improve sports performance generally will beneﬁt more from practicing and perfecting the skills of their sport than from strength training alone. as opposed to the competitive sport of weightlifting. This restrictive concept is applied to strength training. strict supervision and adherence to proper technique are mandatory for reducing the risk for injury. however. then strength training should be combined with an aerobic training program. 4. Children also should have advanced to a certain level of skill proﬁciency in their sport before embarking on a disciplined strength-training program for the strength to have some potential value. but philosophies often vary between Western nations and Eastern European nations. As the AAP has stated previously. a medical evaluation should be performed by a pediatrician or family physician.pediatrics. 2009 . the following issues should be considered: a. they should begin with low-resistance exercises until proper technique is perfected. Whether it is necessary or appropriate to start such a program and which level of proﬁciency the youngster already has attained in his or her sport activity should be determined before a strength-training program is started. Exercises should include all muscle groups. Proper technique and strict supervision are mandatory for safety reasons and to reduce the risk for injury. workouts need to be at least 20 to 30 minutes long. the research regarding strength gains and the recommendations regarding youth involved in lifting weights apply speciﬁcally to the activity of strength training as an adjunct to exercise and sports participation. If long-term health beneﬁts are the goal.35 Limited research on weightlifting as a sport has revealed that children have participated with few injuries. Because of the limited research regarding prepubertal injury rates in competitive weightlifting. Clearly. this is an area in which more research is necessary to substantiate low injury rates as more youngsters continue to be involved with competitive weightlifting. the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Explosive and rapid lifting of weights during routine strength training is not recommended. When 8 to 15 repetitions can be performed. and can be used for strengthening sports-speciﬁc movements. When indicated. As with general strength training.32.Pediatrics (AAP) strongly condemns the use of performance-enhancing substances and vigorously endorses efforts to eliminate their use among children and adolescents. b. 3. pulmonary artery hypertenPEDIATRICS Volume 121. and maximal lifts until they reach physical and skeletal maturity.” Prepubertal youngsters are involved in competitive weightlifting. which is sometimes referred to as Olympic lifting.
org www. multiple choice. continuing education credits. 2005 Yes Yes No No www.Afpaﬁtness. and the National Federation of Professional Trainers. 2 y of experience High school diploma or equivalent. adult CPR certiﬁcation No requirements 18 y of age.com www. American College of Sports Medicine. CEC 45 h 3 y. 3-h proctored examination Yes. adult CPR certiﬁcation Associate’s or bachelor’s degree in healthrelated ﬁeld. 2 different categories (conference.838 Requirements Every 2 y.5-hour proctored examination.pediatrics. practical 110 MC 2. 5 practicals 2 y. 2-h proctored examination 140 questions.aceﬁtness.com TABLE 2 Certiﬁcation Organizations Certiﬁcation 18 y of age.ifpa-ﬁtness. high school diploma or equivalent. MC. 16 CEC 2 y. . 3-h proctored examination 120 MC questions. 1996 Examination Content Recertiﬁcation NCCA Web Address www.0 NASM CEUs 3 y. proctored examination Written examination. CEU. proctored examination 105 questions at certiﬁcation site Home examination.org www. 2003 Yes.nasm. American Council on Exercise. etc) 3 y.nfpt.org www. CPR certiﬁcation BA/BS degree or chiropractor degree. adult CPR certiﬁcation No requirements National Council on Strength and Fitness Certiﬁed Personal Trainer (NCSF-CPT) National Academy of Sports Medicine Certiﬁed Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT) National Strength and Conditioning Association Certiﬁed Personal Trainer (NSCS-CPT) National Strength and Conditioning Association Certiﬁed Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCS-CSCS) American Council on Exercise (ACE) Personal Trainer American Council on Exercise (ACE) Clinical Exercise Specialist National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certiﬁed Personal Trainer American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Health Fitness Instructor International Fitness Professional Association (IFPA) American Fitness Professional Association (AFPA) Personal Trainer International Sports Science Association (ISSA) National Strength Professional Association (NSPA) Personal Trainer 18 y of age.nsca-lift. 2.issaonline. high school diploma or equivalent. 6 CEUs. 12 CEC 2 y.org 150 MC questions. CEC 60 h 2 y. 140 MC questions.0-hour ACE approved Yes. National Academy of Sports Medicine. adult CPR certiﬁcation Downloaded from www.com www.ncsf.acsm. 90 d to complete Home examination Two 10-h lectures.com www. current ACE-PT 18 y of age. 1996 www.nspainc. adult CPR certiﬁcation As of 2006. instructor certiﬁcations received by the following groups are certiﬁed by the National Committee for Certifying Agencies (NCCA): National Strength and Conditioning Association. 2-h proctored examination 150 MC questions.0-hour ACE approved 2 y.org www. proctored examination. 2. research publications. 2003 Yes.nsca-lift. 50 MC questions. continuing education unit. 2 written simulations 150 MC questions. 1. high school diploma or equivalent. National Council on Sports & Fitness. proctored examination 120 MC questions. 2009 18 y of age. written/practical examination. adult CPR certiﬁcation. 10 CEUs 2. CPR certiﬁcation 18 y of age.org www. 300 h of work experience.aceﬁtness.acsm.com www. CPR indicates cardiopulmonary resuscitation.org by on June 28. 24 NSPA CEC No 2 CEC per year 3 y.5-hour proctored examination 150 MC questions. 6 CEUs as above Yes Yes. 2003 Yes.org Scientiﬁc 80-question. CEC. CPR certiﬁcation 18 y of age.org www. high school diploma or equivalent AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS 18 y age.
2004 18. Shepherd RB. MacDougall JD. Van Heest JL. The effects of strength training and detraining on children. incremental loads can be added using either body weight or other forms of resistance. Stricker PR. 2003.10(2):109 –114 14. McCambridge. MD. MD Douglas B. Ozmun JC. See Table 2 for the various avenues of certiﬁcation and certifying organizations. MPH Charles T. Milliken LA. 1990. Webber CE. Reed. McBurney H. MPH PAST COMMITTEE MEMBERS Jorge E. A qualitative analysis of the beneﬁts of strength training for young people with cerebral palsy. 3rd ed. MD David T. Taylor NF. Faigenbaum AD. Faigenbaum AD. Carlson JS. Champaign. PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Strength training should involve 2 to 3 sets of higher repetitions (8 to 15) 2 to 3 times per week and be at least 8 weeks in duration. Sports training issues for the pediatric athlete. Athletes should have adequate intake of ﬂuids and proper nutrition. Instructors or personal trainers should have certiﬁcation reﬂecting speciﬁc qualiﬁcations in pediatric strength training. Ramsay JA. 1996. Conroy B. 2000. 2003. Gomez. Strength training for children and adolescents. Strength-training programs should include a 10to 15-minute warm-up and cool-down. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. Morrow JR Jr. 1989.1(4): 336 –350 15. Naughton GA. Fry AC. Frykman PN. 1993. Fleck SJ. Dodd KJ. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Strength training effects in prepubescent boys. PhD STAFF Anjie Emanuel. PhD. Webb DR. COUNCIL ON SPORTS MEDICINE AND FITNESS. ¨ sprint. including the core. d. Dev Med Child Neurol. MD. J Strength Cond Res. Pediatr Clin North Am. Can J Physiol Pharmacol.17(1):48 –57 4. Micheli LJ. Blimkie CJ.22(5):605– 614 12. 2002:83–94 11. 2009 PEDIATRICS Volume 121. e. i. Surburg PR. Blundell SW. Effects of two different strength training modes on motor performance in children. 1997.org by on June 28. c. Clin Sports Med. 1997. eds. MD Andrew John Maxwell Gregory. MD LIAISONS Claire Marie Anne Le Blanc. Kraemer WJ. 2001. Micheli LJ. Prospective ten month exercise intervention in premenarchal girls: positive effects on bone and lean mass. Aerobic conditioning should be coupled with resistance training if general health beneﬁts are the goal. 1996. MD Bernard A. Benjamin. MD Joel S.29(1):27–35 Eric W. Dean CM. Wark JD. Payne VG. The effectiveness of resistance training in children: a meta-analysis. Bergeron. Hoffman J. Burak BT. recovery.19(4):593– 619 2. 1994. Effects of resistance training on bone mass and density in adolescent females. Loud RL. Griesemer BA. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Congeni. Sale DG. Stricker PR. Neuromuscular adaptations following prepubescent strength training.37(5):1187–1210 19. In: Birrer RB. Sports Med. j. Designing Resistance Training Programs. 2002. et al. Resistance training during preadolescence: issues and controversies. MD Joseph A. Pediatr Clin North Am. Griesemer. Morris FL. Graham HK. Faigenbaum AD. 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Comparison of 1 and 2 days per week of strength training in children. April 2008 839 . Bernhardt. and performance. Guy JA. MD. Philadelphia. Adams RD. or Marfan syndrome) should have a consultation with a pediatric cardiologist before beginning a strength-training program. Speciﬁc strength-training exercises should be learned initially with no load (no resistance). g. J Bone Miner Res. Res Q Exerc Sport. Rice S. MS. Chairperson-elect Holly J. A general strengthening program should address all major muscle groups. Tenenbaum G. 1989. Res Q Exerc Sport. 2006 –2007 CONSULTANT Michael F. Brenner. Functional strength training in cerebral palsy: a pilot study of a group circuit training class for children aged 4 – 8 years. Resistance training and youth.74(9):1025–1033 7. because both are vital in maintenance of muscle energy stores.26(4):510 –514 16. Smith K. Kraemer WJ.sion. MD Frederick E. Dalton SL. f. Speciﬁcity of endurance. Once the exercise technique has been mastered. Blimkie CJ. 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org/cgi/content/full/121/4/835 This article cites 34 articles.pediatrics.shtml Citations Subspecialty Collections Permissions & Licensing Reprints Downloaded from www.org/cgi/collection/office_practice Information about reproducing this article in parts (figures.pediatrics.121. appears in the following collection(s): Office Practice http://www.org/cgi/content/full/121/4/835#otherarticle s This article.1542/peds.org/misc/reprints.2007-3790 Updated Information & Services References including high-resolution figures.835-840 DOI: 10. tables) or in its entirety can be found online at: http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/121/4/835#BIBL This article has been cited by 3 HighWire-hosted articles: http://www. can be found at: http://www.pediatrics.Strength Training by Children and Adolescents Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness Pediatrics 2008.pediatrics. 2009 .pediatrics.org/misc/Permissions.org by on June 28. along with others on similar topics.pediatrics. 9 of which you can access for free at: http://www.shtml Information about ordering reprints can be found online: http://www.
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