Youth basketball and weight training: is it safe?

 

Basketball season is upon us and that means many parents now find themselves at the helm of their child’s basketball team. Most competitive athletes are looking for methods to become more explosive, jump higher, and increase their speed.  Well, look no further than the weight room!  Early teenage years are a great time to introduce them to the advantages of the weight room and the benefits of strength training.

Research has shown that youth as young as 11-13 y.o. can benefit from a 2 x week in season training program to go along with their regular basketball training without taxing their developing musculoskeletal system.  Most youth teams practice 2 x per week and could perform another 2 x per week of basic strength training to improve explosive upper and lower body strength.    The focus should be on multi-joint movements and form over amount of weight should be stressed. Below is a sample weight lifting program based on a 10 week season:

  1. Squats or leg press
  2. Bench press
  3. Assisted Pull ups/lat pull downs
  4. Overhead shoulder press
  5. Medicine ball toss (simulate a chest pass)
  6. Plyometric exercises: jump rope/box jumps.

Work volume:  Weeks 1-3: 2 sets of 10-12 reps         Weeks 4-10: 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Machines vs Free weights

Machines may be a good choice in the beginning as most young adolescents may not have ever lifted weights before and machines would be a great introduction to strength training.  However, after they have become accustomed to the weight room and the machines, slowly phase in dumb bells and barbells as they are more functional and require greater motor control.

Coaches can do a great service to their young athletes by exposing them to resistance training at an early age so it hopefully becomes part of their long term athletic development.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Good luck!

Ed Deboo, PT