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Youth Development. Myths & Tips

The school holidays is a great time of the year for parents to get their kids improving their health and development with the correct gym routine.

For this reason i am going to go through some quick tips, scientific support and reasons why every child and parent should take full advantage of this time of the year to get a youth development plan started.

1. Resistance training does'nt strictly mean heavy weights. Although weights is one form of resistance most youth programmes would begin with body weight as the resistance and also include flexibility and mobility exercises. This can progress to resistance bands, Medicine balls, unstable surfaces and eventually weughts.

2. Safety. A resistance plan is not only safe for youth but has a number of huge benefits such as:

  • Improved movement & motor skills
  • Mental & social development
  • Facilitates weight control
  • Strengthens bones
  • Increases resistance to Injuries


3. Scientigic support - The World Health Organisation 2010 - recommend for youth aged 5-17 participation in planned exercise activities which include those that strengthen muscle & bone.

Myth 1 - Minimum age? - A study in 2009 by Faigenbaum & westeoff concluded that children can begin resistance training when they have the emotional maturity to accept and follow instructions or directions. In most cases if a child is ready to play sport then he or sheis ready to resistance train.

Myth 2 - Stunts growth? - In all research carried out in the area of youth resistance training there has been no reports of injury to growth cartilage or anything to suggest that it will negatively impact growth and maturation during childhood and adolescents.

It is however vital that children do not recieve 'watered down' adult programmes.

Programmes must be specific to their abilities and stage of development and need to be supervised and designed by a coach who is qualified and experienced so that the child develops adequately and safely.

Part of the training of the child is providing education which helps their decision making when they are away from the coach.




Speed Development for Athletes

Posted by Aspire Ireland (aspireland) on Nov 29 2016
News & Blog >> Blog

Speed Development for Athletes.


With our speed development workshops taking place this weekend at Aspire our blog will focus on this topic this week.

In the sports coaching world there are a lot of myths and misconceptions thrown around as well as a huge misuse of the term speed training. Even though there are more coaches appearing with good knowledge in the area of sports performance it is still surprising how much of this mentality still exists.

One misconception I have witnessed too many times is that lots of shorts sprints at the end of a long endurance based session is ‘speed work’ when actually it is probably having the opposite effect.

Another misconception that we hear too much is ‘weights training will only slow you down’ or ‘forget about gym programmes after the winter’.

Unfortunately these comments do not come from people who have studied the mechanisms by which speed is improved in the body. Rather they are usually repeating what they heard a guy say who heard it off another guy who has zero knowledge as to how types of training work on the body.

First of all speed training involves working on muscle fibres and an energy system which needs to be fresh and unfatigued to begin with. It involves high quality and high intensity efforts with adequate recovery.

Because of the need for freshness, early in any training session is going to yield optimal results rather than at the end of a long training session when muscles are fatigued and energy systems required are well and truly depleted. In fact all that is achieved by attempting speed work at this stage is increasing the chance of injury.

With regard to “weight training slowing you down”, weight training or resistance training involving many types of resistance is an integral part of speed development. Put simply Muscles acting on the skeletal system is what makes us move. For us to move quicker we first have to make sure these muscles are working effectively. This is where resistance exercises are needed to activate involved muscles in order to get the most out of them.

On top of muscle action speed is dependent on the force-velocity curve. Simply put how much force we can generate and how quickly we can do this. As we strengthen these muscles we increase the force which we can generate. When we combine this with high speed and lower weight explosive exercises this enhances our speed development even further.

With regard to the Strength element maximal or near maximal efforts can elicit the best gains however this depends on the individual athletes training history and capabilities in terms of injury and movement. Rep ranges can be varied and also rest intervals between sets and also between strength and power exercises has a vital effect on your speed development. Going into the power exercise without the adequate rest does not allow the phospho- creatine energy system to adequately replenish and optimally benefit from the explosive element.

Both of these elements involve resistance training but should be planned by a coach who understands these training methods sufficiently in order to make it safe and effective.

Our speed development workshop this coming weekend will cover lots of these topics both in theory and practically in the gym and on the pitch. Get in touch for more info or if you have any questions.

Last changed: Nov 29 2016 at 12:00 PM