Posts Tagged ‘youth fitness’

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Actual Question: Is it OK for 8 – 10 year old kids to participate in Triathlons?

Reply from Brian Grasso (Founder and CEO of International Youth Conditioning Assoc.)

While I am 100% heartened by virtually any activity a young person chooses to engage in, it is important to be careful how we direct their efforts in terms of “developmentally-sound” parameters.

The essence and need of childhood play (or fitness – they are interchangeable terms) is self-exploration of movement. This movement must be in the style of “free play”. Meaning simply, kids must be encouraged to move in a variety of fashions (run, climb, crawl, jump, hop etc) without the over-prescription or repetitiveness of specific movements.

This is an imperative part of neural growth and development, setting the seeds for both a future full of movement and athletic ability as well as injury avoidance. Much like the academic world, the early years of school is based on learning a variety of subjects in order to create a well-rounded brain. Specification occurs later in life once this broad base has been built.

While triathlons involve three separate movement functions, they are still rather myopic in nature and will become repetitive during training phases. One only needs to look at the tremendous number of injuries that adult tri athletes endure (mostly in the realm of chronic injuries resulting from REPETATIVE action) to see what this type of training and over-indulgence of competition has the potential to do to younger people.

In short…

Repetitive motion of any kind is developmentally limiting for kids and could easily lead to overuse injury.

Free play and freedom of motion are the core necessities of fitness for kids.

Enough is enough.

It’s time for our industry to get educated and start creating youth fitness
and sport training programs that both WORK and are DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE.

In my humble opinion….its a stupid idea! Short and simple.  If you want more explanation as to why check out the IYCA

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and for goodness sakes be smart with our children!!!!!)

Chris

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Ladders arent just for climbing.  Great for fitness, sport, youth training and just plain fun for anyone.  Variety is the spice of everything.  Keep your workouts fresh.  These could be done as workout by itself or maybe do 1 pattern between sets of lower body exercise and do the leg patterns between your upper body exercise.  By filling in the rest time of your workout you can increase caloric expenditure.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

One of the many problems with youth sports today is early specialization.  This basically means that kids are pigeon holed into one sport at too early of an age.  The consequences of this are the development of compensatory and faulty movement patterns, missing critical stages of development, increased likely hood of injury, inconsistant performance and an early drop out rate from sports/activity.  While much (needed) emphasis is placed on the underactive/obese children it is important to realize that both groups, the “overactive/specialized” and the obese kids are all headed in the same direction…unactive adulthood.  They are just arriving there from different points.  We already have a problem with a large part of society being sedentary and this problem continues to grow.  The impact on the healthcaresystem, productivity and national security will be significant.  The way we approach training of kids in this country has gotten way out of hand with the desire to win, the allure of scholarships and “big money” fueling the craze.  The focus on youth sports should be to promote and maintain good health for a happy, healthy and terrific life.

Here is a good study to demonstrate the benefits of kids being involved in many activities and developing many different skills.  A study done by Harre in 1982 in the former East German, as cited in Tudor Bompa’s book, “Total Training For Young Champions.” studies a group of young athletes ranging from nine to twelve years old who specialized in one sport and a group who followed a multilateral program (many different activities/sports).  The results are summarized below:

EARLY SPECIALIZATION GROUP

         Quick performance improvement, inconsistency of performance in competition, by age eighteen many          athletes were burned out and quit the sport and they were prone to injury because of forced adaption.

MULTILATERAL TRAINING GROUP

         Slower performance improvements, consistency of performance in competitions, longer athletic life              and fewer injuries.

As a parent take an active roll in your childs activities be a positive role model and your kids biggest supporter (regardless of how they do).  Encourage them to do multiple sports, avoid the pressure or advice of other parents, take responsibility and do what is right your kids.  Dont be afraid to ask questions, its your child (make sure you do this in a constructive and productive mannner) If everyone can do this we can make the needed changes in the way our kids are developing and return the physical culture we have lost and so need to get back to!  Check out the IYCA for more great information and their efforts to revolutionize youth fitness.   http://www.IYCA.org

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris