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Finish First Insider, Issue #53
April 20, 2009
Welcome Back

Please enjoy another issue packed with evidence-based information about sports performance training and news about current events at Finish First Sports Performance. If you find value in this e-newsletter, please forward this message to your teammates, coaches, or other parents of hard working athletes.

Strength Training and Exercise for Children

By Coach J. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Now that the youth winter sports seasons are over, I have been receiving phone calls from parents asking questions about the safety of and possible benefits of strength training and exercise for children. I recently came across an interview with Oded Bar-Or, M.D., professor in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Bar-Or is an internationally known pediatric physician and scientist in the field of pediatric exercise physiology. I would like to share his interview with you to better provide some answers to your questions. (Interview taken from p. 471, Exercise Physiology: Theory and Application to Fitness and Performance, Powers, S, Howley, E. 6th Ed. 2007)

Question 1: Based on the current medical evidence, what is your advice about the wisdom of children and adolescents participating in strength-training programs?

Answer: The short answer to this question is that strength training is both effective and safe for adolescents. For example, there is strong evidence that even before puberty, resistance training results in strength gains in children. In fact, relative to their strength prior to beginning a training program, prepubescents have a similar, or often greater, percentage improvement in strength, compared with adolescents or young adults.

Regarding safety, recent studies suggest that strength training in children causes no damage to bones, joints, or tendons. While not backed by scientific evidence, it is commonly recommended that children should not use weights (or other resistance devices) that are extremely heavy. Practically speaking, this translates to a weight that can be lifted at least 7 to 10 repetitions in each set of exercises.

Question 2: Do sweat rates and body temperatures differ between adults and children during prolonged exercise?

Answer: Compared with adults, children’s heat dissipation during prolonged exercise relies more on convection and radiation (through increased blood flow to the skin) and less on evaporation of sweat. While children often have more sweat glands per square centimeter of body surface area, the amount of sweat produced by each gland is only 40% that of adults. In spite of their low evaporative capacity, children are effective temperature regulators when exercise is performed in cool, neutral, or even warm environments. It is only when air temperature exceeds skin temperature by 7 to 10 degrees Celsius (eg. Air temperature more than 40 degrees Celsius), that children have a lower tolerance to prolonged exercise, compared with adults.

Question 3: Given that children lose fluid via sweating and/or urine formation during exercise, what are your recommendations about providing fluids and/or sports drinks to children during active sports participation?

Answer: Like adults, children who perform prolonged exercise, particularly on hot or humid days, can lose large amounts of body water resulting in “involuntary dehydration.” Consuming adequate amounts of fluid following exercise can counteract this type of dehydration. Enhanced drinking in children following exercise can be achieved through three means: (1) an increase in a drink’s palatability (which depends on temperature, color, and flavor), (2) stimulation of osmoreceptors in the hypothalamus and gastrointestinal tract, and (3) education about the importance of drinking fluids.

During exercise, people prefer cool beverages (e.g. 15 degrees Celsius or lower). Preferred flavors vary among children. Flavor is important, as adding flavor to tap water can increase voluntary drinking by 40% to 50%. Addition of salt (NaCl) will stimulate osmoreceptors and further enhance drinking. In one study, addition of flavor, sodium chloride (18 mmol/L NaCl), and carbohydrate (e.g., similar to a sport drink) increased the voluntary drinking by 90% in boys who exercised intermittently in the heat for three hours.”

I have been blessed with the opportunity to train youth athletes in the Pittsburgh area for almost 10 years now, many of who have gone on to have successful major collegiate athletic careers. As a general rule, similar to training ALL athletes, they must first master exercise techniques and bodyweight exercises before using any external resistance. Once external resistance is added to exercises, rep ranges of 6+ are typically used. Research has shown that this a safe range and still challenges the musculoskeletal system for progressive adaptations.

For more information on performance training for young athletes, including supportive research articles, please contact Jeremy at 412-787-5070.

Scheduling for ALL Workouts

Effective April 1, 2009, all athletes will need to be scheduled for ALL workouts.

By scheduling all workouts, we will be able to better plan to prevent overcrowding and allow for optimal training conditions.

If you have any questions, please call Jeremy (412-787-5070).

Additional information will be available with details of how to schedule online!--Coming Soon!!!

Motivational Quotes

"Nobody remembers who came in second."
-- Charles Schulz

"I am not one of those who think that coming in second or third is winning."
-- Robert Francis Kennedy

"There are only two places in this league: first place and no place."
-- Tom Seaver

"Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength."
-- Henry Ward Beecher

ATTENTION: April Member Referral Bonus

Attention All Members:

During the month of April, all new member referral fees are doubled--yes--that is not a typo. Instead of the normal $50 credit towards your next membership, for every new member you introduce to Finish First Sports Performance, you will receive a whopping $100 credit towards your next membership (renewal).

Remember, in order to qualify, you must be a current/active member (with no outstanding balance) and the new member must commit to a minimum of 8 sessions or 1 month.

Spread the word and get $100!

(for more details, contact Jeremy 412-787-5070)

Thank You for Your Support

Thanks again for subscribing to this free e-newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I look forward to your feedback as I continue to research to bring you the most current scientific training information available.

Should you have any specific article requests or questions, email me at Please visit for detailed sports performance training information and programs offered exclusively by Finish First Sports Performance.

Yours In Training,

Coach Jeremy S. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Finish First Sports Performance

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