You want to play in the pros… Do you even lift? – Resistance Exercise Training
5 Key Takeaways about Resistance Exercise Training
- Youth athletes injury rates are increasing because of early specialization in one sport, overtraining, and increased stresses/expectations
- Resistance exercise training (RET) benefits include improving speed, power, and performance
- World-renowned leading organizations recommend Resistance Exercise Training. It lower rates of sports-related injury, increases bone strength, decreases risk of fractures, and improves self-esteem.
- Literature suggests that you are more likely to get injured playing sports than you are resistance exercise training
- A physical therapist can teach you how to resistance exercise train to optimize your performance and help you reach your goals
The Overtrained Athlete
It’s senior night for your volleyball team, everybody is there to cheer you on – parents, best friends, and even scouts are in the stands. Everything feels right, except for sleepless nights, constant fatigue, nagging injuries. This should be a celebration, but you don’t know if you have the energy to perform at your best. No matter your sport, it can be tough being a youth athlete or even a parent of one in the 21st century. This is the age of scouting, social media, and social pressure to perform. While obesity is one of the leading causes of disability and disease in children; we neglect to discuss the other side of the spectrum – the overtrained athlete.
U.S. youth sports involvement has increased from 35 percent to 42 percent.
The downside of this is, parents are choosing only one organized sport (early-overspecialization), or contrarily too many sports. This contradicts guidelines of spending less total hours than a child’s age per week, (i.e. a 12 year old should train for no more than 12 hours/week in a given organized sport). They are likely to violate another important guideline of no more than 16 hours/week of any organized sport. Many of these athletes play their given sport year round. This decreases opportunity for the youth athlete to develop general athleticism and new skills. Additionally, it increases the likelihood of an athlete having an overuse injury, which has been correlated to >8 months of single sport. Another key point is that specialization will decreased performance, and decreased field time because of injuries (Post et al. 2017; Myer et al. 2015; Blagrove et al. 2017).
Working with an orthopedic or sports physical therapist can help assess where an athlete currently stands. They can help them recover from injury, reduce injury risk, and all while improving performance.
Benefits of Resistance Exercise Training
If you care about anything, then it's probably performance. Unquestionably, evidence shows that developing power and strength in the weight room is linked to better performance! If you don’t believe me, check this out, and this, and this, and this.
The World Health Organization (WHO) updated their physical activity guidelines in 2020 that recommends:
- that all individuals, regardless of age, participate in >75 vigorous intensity minutes
- OR >150 moderate intensity minutes
- OR a combination of both
- AND strengthening (resistance exercise training) 2-3x/week
Additionally, The American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that those who do not participate in resistance exercise training are at a higher risk for negative consequences. These include sports-
related injury, decreased bone strength, and fractures. Resistance training can also help combat obesity by improving weight control and cardiovascular health (Ciolac et al. 2016).
In fact, resistance exercise training is effective in reducing risk of all-cause mortality up to 40%! It also helps counteract the harmful effects of inactivity, all while promoting increased bone, muscle, tendon, and cartilage health. What does this mean? This means a stronger, better, faster, and healthier athlete (Maestroni et al. 2020; Saeidifard et al. 2019).
Is Resistance Exercise Training Safe?
Ok, you get it. You should be resistance exercise training. But maybe you’ve never been taught, and have safety concerns. Maybe you are a parent who has reservations about taking your child to a gym. One barrier to resistance exercise training is the public perception that weight training increases injury. Some have concerns that lifting weights can damage growth plates and stunt a child’s growth. Do not fret! I am here to tell you that these well-intentioned concerns have simply not been found to be true!
Why Agile? Why Physical Therapy?
The American College of Sports Medicine and the World Health Organization recommends resistance exercise training. It is safe, reduces your injury risk, and enhances your performance. In conclusion, a sports physical therapist can help promote injury recovery, and assess gaps in your athletic performance to reach your goals. No matter where you are in your athletic career, meeting with a qualified specialist can identify sport-specific needs to reduce injury and boost performance.
About the Author: Bryan Wong
Bryan is a Bay Area native, Orthopedic Residency trained Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Additionally, he is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Powerlifting Coach.
Bryan has a background in dragonboating, competitively lifting weights, and recreational sports. Through his experiences, he has seen first-hand how the lack of exercise and structured physical activity has been to our population’s detriment.
Through communication, individualized exercise, hands-on care, and joint decision making, Bryan assures that each patient is listened to guide them in achieving their goals.