What is strength training?
Strength training (also called neuromuscular training) involves training one’s body and its parts to resist or produce force through the use of free weights (barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells), machines, resistance bands, and/or bodyweight. Research has demonstrated that strength training with load is safe and beneficial for children as long as movements are done with proper mechanics, ideally under the supervision of a strength training professional. At Athletes’ Choice, our number one priority is teaching youth athletes to move properly, and in strength training classes the execution of movements with proper technique always takes priority over adding load.
Due to a variety of factors including hormone levels/fluctuations, anatomic variances, and movement pattern tendencies, female athletes are at a high risk for many injuries, and they often have a higher risk for these injuries compared with male athletes who play the same sport.
Hypermobility (also sometimes referred to as being “double jointed”) is more common in females than males. This allows for more flexibility at hypermobile joints but also greater instability and injury risk. For example, hypermobile individuals are at higher risk of ACL injuries. Strength training is one of the best ways to stabilize hypermobile joints and prevent associated injuries.
ACL injuries are among the most common and detrimental to the female athlete. The female athlete’s movement patterns (called neuromuscular strategies) during the execution of sports movements are a large part of her increased risk of ACL injury compared to a male athlete in a similar sport (Myer, Sugimoto, Thomas, & Hewett, 2013). Without adequate neuromuscular training (strength training), female athletes tend to land or execute planting/cutting movements with their knees in valgus positions (caved inward), and they have less overall control of the lower extremity.
Research by Myer and colleagues (2013) concluded that strength training implemented for females under the age of 18 reduced their risk of ACL injuries by 72%. Their research indicated that the most effective time to begin this type of training is during pre- or early adolescence (as early as 7-years-old) as opposed to the later teen or early adult years.
Strength training also can be effective for preventing common injuries such as (but not limited to):
-Knee ligament sprains or tendonitis in the patellar tendon
-Growth-related pain such as Osgood-Schlatter’s and Sever’s diseases
-Low back spasms or other low back injuries
-Rotator Cuff Injuries
Athletes Choice now offers a GIRLS ONLY strength training class Mondays at 4pm! Join us!
Myer, G. D., Sugimoto, D., Thomas, S., & Hewett, T. E. (2013). The influence of age on the effectiveness of neuromuscular training to reduce anterior cruciate ligament injury in female athletes: A meta-analysis. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 41(1) 203-215.