Youth Athletes And Weightlifting
In a recent podcast episode of ‘Sideline Data’, League Apps interviews John P. DiFiori, MD, FACSM, chief of Primary Care Sports Medicine Service at HSS, to discuss skill development as it relates to weightlifting in adolescents.
“I think the focus should be less on the chronologic age, but the overall physical development maturation, and also what we call ‘sport readiness’, or the ability to understand the role, the requirements of the sport, and to be able to understand instructions for sport safety. I think it’s a combination of those things that are most important," explained Dr. DiFiori. "Typically, children will begin to physically mature and develop as they go through that adolescent growth spurt, which is usually the age of 12 ½ for girls and 13 ½ -14 for boys."
“The main concern is injury that is a result of improper supervision or unfamiliarity with the techniques and the equipment,” said Dr. DiFiori. He added, “More commonly the concern is about open growth plates and the effect of chronic stress on an open growth plate which can be a problem. That’s much less of a concern in a well-designed, well supervised well-structured program.”
Dr. DiFiori emphasized the importance of understanding what the goals of the athlete are. “If the goals are to improve general fitness and conditioning then we would suggest a number of different alternatives. Bodyweight exercises are a great alternative. They can be very helpful to building general strength and conditioning. There are also more dynamic techniques, movement oriented techniques, and pulley systems that are more functional. If they are well supervised, they can achieve the goals most people are interested in – large muscle group strengthening and general dynamic conditioning and synchrony of movement. Those are important for injury prevention and we think that a properly implemented overall strength and conditioning program can help to reduce injury. That’s an important goal – to prevent injury. The second goal is being fit for your sport, and that can be more sport specific depending on the sport.”
Listen to the full interview at LeagueApps.com.