When can a child start strength and conditioning training?  Does it matter of a young person cannot get to a gym?  These are common questions posed by both coaches and parents.  At NK Fitness we do a lot of work with talented young athletes from a variety of sports.  Working with young athletes doesn’t always mean traditional forms of strength training in the weight room.  Here we explore other age appropriate forms of youth resistance training to try with youth athletes.

Those wanting an in depth position statement on youth strength training should check out the UK Strength and Conditioning Association or the NSCA.


Climbing is an excellent form of strength training for young people.  It’s also a sport in its own right.  Whether it’s climbing trees or using a wall climbing requires a lot of upper body pulling and lower body pushing.  Anyone that gives rock climbing a go for the first time soon learns to use their legs more than their arms!  You also learn to apply force only when its needed.  Climbing in all of its various forms requires strength through full ranges of motion and often at awkward angles.  It goes without saying that all climbing activities are best practiced under controlled conditions and qualified supervision.



Wrestling based activities such as Judo and wrestling formats are brilliant forms of youth resistance training.  This is not a license to encourage fighting.  All grappling disciplines come with whole set of skills that can be transferred to sports.  In fact, England Rugby have used wrestling as a staple part of their strength and conditioning for years.  One of the unique aspects of wrestling and grappling is that the resistance is constantly changing its force and angles as an opponent fights back!


Carrying odd and heavy objects

Carry odd and appropriately heavy objects is a valuable form of youth resistance training.  Anyone who has ever known a youngster who works their parents farm can testify to the strength of young farmers.  Whether its helping out with manual labour or more formal training in the form of the Strongman type training, the pushing, pulling and carrying involved can be a fantastic strength stimulus for young athletes.  Please note that care must be taken to ensure that young people use proper form when lifting and carrying.  They they often require guidance when selecting loads to use – always emphasise form over load.


Gymnastics, Dance and Athletics

Gymnastics, dance and athletics are all sports in their own right.  However, they’re inclusion here is because they offer fantastic youth resistance training alternatives to athletes engaged in sports.  Many of the preparation techniques from these activities have found their way into mainstream sports conditioning.  Each of these disciplines uses the body as it’s own resistance.  They also highlight that resistance training isn’t just about squats and presses.  The body can be moved in all manner of ways to positively impact a young persons sports performance.


For further information about how NK Fitness can help young athletes achieve their potential through S+C please contact us here.