Why You CAN Train at a Young Age

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Q: Hi Alex, my name is Sebastian and I’m 12 years old. I work out (no lifting) is there anything else I can do (besides bands) to gain more power in my swing?

Sebastian S.

Sebastian, why aren’t you lifting? Do you have an injury? Are you worried you’re too young? My guess is your afraid, or your parents won’t let you based on the belief that lifting weights too young will stunt your growth. I’m not a believer that strength training will stunt your growth, and I’ll tell you why.

You have to realize that every day you experience crazy forces in a very uncontrolled environment. In fact, every time you sprint your putting four to six times your body weight in ground reaction forces on a single leg. If you have a 100 pound kid sprinting, he’s putting 4 to 600 pounds of ground reaction forces with each step! So the idea that a 20-pound goblet squat is going to stunt your growth is just crazy to me. If you want more information, check out Dr. Avery Faigenbaum from The College of New Jersey, he has some GREAT studies regarding training for youth athletes.

You say you want to, “gain more power in your swing”. The first area you should look to improve should be, general strength. Improving your general/foundational strength will develop efficient motor patterns, which are CRUCIAL in your early years of training. I wrote a blog post recently where I cover my TOP 5 exercises you can do at home to improve SPEED & STRENGTH. Check it out HERE:

I would definitely start incorporating these exercises into your daily workouts if you haven’t already, as they will yield tremendous results. If you wanted to add some beginner power drills to the mix I suggest VERY light medicine ball stuff. Overhead throws, chest passes, rotational throws etc.

Overhead Medicine Ball Throw for Distance – Performed by All-League Shortstop (Onondaga High School), Alex Crysler

Jumping is another fantastic way to develop power. The problem with this is most youth athletes do not posses proper landing mechanics and ability to decelerate to perform them. If you absolutely wanted to start box jumping, I would only perform box jumps sub maximally from a low box focusing more on landing in your hip, soft on the box.

Hope this helps, Sebastian!

-Alex

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