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The role of strength training in youth sports has long been a point of contention among parents, coaches and even doctors. Much of that has to do with a lack of understanding and myths about the subject.

You might be surprised to learn that whether your child is ready for strength training has more to do with the maturity of their mind than their body. If your child is mentally ready to listen to coaches and understand the rules of sports, they are most likely ready to comprehend the direction needed to safely start a resistance training program to build strength and help avoid injury.

Exercises for ages 6 – 9:

Squat Holds
– Instruct the children to get in a squat stance and add in small ball toss.

Leap Frog
– Instruct the larger child jump over smaller child.

Plank
– Have the child hold the plank position three times for ten seconds each.

Hop Scotch
– Play hopscotch and practice jumping on each block.

Line Jumps
– Instruct the child to jump over crack in sidewalk, or small flat object.

Exercises for ages 10 – 11

Push-ups
– Instruct the child to keep arms about shoulder width apart and perform pushups keeping the back nice and flat, hips should not dip.

Single leg jump
– Have the child stand on one side and perform a single leg jump on the same leg to the other side of an object or line.

Split Squat
– Instruct the child to have one leg elevated, or stand in lunge position- one foot out in front and lower down to touch knee that is slightly elevated towards the ground, keeping the front knee behind the toe.

Jump Squats
– Instruct the child to squat down and touch hands to the ground, jump up as high as high as possible. Once landing from the jump perform another squat with hands touching the ground.

Double Leg Pelvic Bridge
– Instruct the child to lay down on his or her back, put feet about 90 degrees out from behind and then to lift their behind up so that their weight is on their shoulders and back on their heels. Hold this position for ten seconds.

Hold Push-up Position
– Instruct the children to play patty cake while holding a pushup position.

Exercises For 12 and Up

Squat To A Box
– Put the child’s feet at the corner of the box with his or her hands across their chest. Squat down to the box and then stand back up.

Hip Mobility
– Instruct the child to lift their leg to side, straight back, forward circle and backward circle. (4 motions)

Tuck Jump
– Have the child perform a small jump in place initially, then progress to full tuck jump pulling knees towards chest and landing with knees bent in deep hold or squat position.