Resistance training not only delivers physiological effects but also has a strong psychological factor!
Its been a great journey for us here at DRIVE360 guiding our juniors to stronger, faster more mobile bodies since the youth program started. we have had success in many aspects from big junior wins to a crazy amount of CHS (club head speed) gained!
While chatting to one of the parents the other day they brought up a great question, which has been hanging around for a long time.
Is it dangerous for adolescents to lift weights?
The idea of adolescent weight training over the years has brought with it much scrutiny with the thought that it would stunt growth or cause growth plate damage. If you asked a well informed professional or strength and conditioning coach you will be guided to studies that say they can start as early as 7 years old, and be educated on all of the benefits of resistance training, increases in muscle cross-sectional areas, increase in bone density, increase performance and most importantly a decrease in injuries!
On the flip side of you will also find people have their own conventional ideology that resistance training will “stunt growth” and affect the growth plates of adolescents. One thing you cannot do is get rid of all the “old” stuff on the internet.
Now damage to growth plates can happen and you can read about it in this study. The main cause is as the tendons during certain developmental stages are stronger than the plate itself and they are taken through a high energy ballistic action (like the golf swing) it can cause a tear to the plate.
Damage to a growth plate is more likely to happen during sport, lack of attention, poor supervision/coaching or not appreciating muscular balance throughout an asymmetrical system.
When we take a deeper look at the sport of golf it has always been overlooked throughout the years as a sport that doesn’t need strength and conditioning, but it is one of, if not the most, complex actions we could ask of a human system. The mobility required join by joint is very demanding and if one joint is blocked in any way the body will find a way to hit the position you want to achieve via compensation which might or might not lead to injuries down the track. There is an optimal movement philosophy we have created here at DRIVE360 and we use this to guide us on the safest position to coach your child through exercises.
The danger with compensatory adaptations in golf is that when you are swinging the club you create upwards of 10 times your body weight in newtons in the lumbar spine, and given that most kids are using clubs that are too long and too heavy which exacerbates the issue, it is imperative that they create the right kinematic sequences of mobile joints over stable joints to not only hit positions but to correctly brace for impact and limit the chances of injury.
You just have to step foot behind the scenes on the pro tours to see how many painkillers and NSAIDs some of these players have to take to get through a game, if only they had started a properly prescribed resistance training regime early in their careers it could of helped to starve of their injuries and prolong their careers.
Lets delve a little deeper into one of the biggest issues that we see, not only in golf but all sports!
Thoracic rotation limitation
When this is limited and we push a system through a rotary sport like golf the body, being the amazing machine it is, will do what you or your coach is asking of it and figure out a way of completing the task. The body’s natural response is to do this through a compensatory pattern. This generally involves the lumbar spine giving up some ligament laxity, which “can” lead to a plethora of lower back, mid back, hip and neck issues which can ultimately lead to a shortened sporting career.
We here at DRIVE360 have studied this issue religiously and continually educate our team to push our processes further.
When you start to look at how the asymmetrical, repetitive, sympathetically driven nature of humans drives us into an extended pattern (think chest up, bum out, shoulder blades down) which limits our thoracic rotation, you start to see the importance of building resiliency within the system, so we can extended both longevity and performance with our kids and athletes
We applaud all of the parents of our junior development team for educating themselves to give their children the highest of support. There is a lot of old and new information out there in the world and it is hard to know what is right or wrong at a given point, but rest assured we will always be here to help you along the way 🙂
Head Coach / Kid