At Fast Twitch Training we have dedicated ourselves to training young athletes. This is how our gym originally began. The industry for school-age athletes has changed, however, and the information on how they need to train has evolved too. The biggest change I’ve noticed is the decline in strength and ability for the general athletic population. The other big change is the busy schedule young athletes have today. We have kids who want to stay in the rotation here at Fast Twitch but can only come one day per week.
As a result, parents and young athletes do have a lot of tough choices to make. As one of our most popular packages, we offer the option to sign up for 3 months and for those 3 months they can choose to do either speed work or strength training; but not both.
Dennis Angelina, owner of Fast Twitch Training explains why strength training is so important in the FTT Athletic Training programs.
It’s a difficult decision. What seems like 10 times out of 10 to me, the parents always want to do to speed and agility. To them, this makes the most sense since most people want their kids to run and move faster. They identify poor movement patterns in their running mechanics, slow to start, or balance issues. Although this makes sense and does work, I have come to believe that if you are to put one to two hours per week with the goal of being stronger and faster, I always suggest they choose the strength training first. Here’s my reasons:
- Strength training is something most young athletes have not done, at least not on this level. They may not have ever done speed work either, but they are running , cutting, and jumping every day in their sports. The strength training tends to be a different gearshift from what they are used to, it takes a different mind set and mentality and uses the muscles in a different way than they are used to using them. I am all for athletes using their bodies as many different ways as possible.
- The second, and arguably the more important of the two is that strength training helps to develop and enhance the speed work naturally. Sure, there are still many things speed work alone can benefit, however the strength work has a nice crossover effect where the speed work only works one way. Think about it: If your muscles are stronger, you will produce more ground force per step when sprinting, you will be able to decelerate and hold your ground and change direction with more strength, and you’ll be more explosive off the mark. Strength training also works on balance under tension, which can simulate outside forces while playing sport.
I have come to love the strength training element for young athletes more than anything. Because they are all beginners and at a young age where their bodies adapt so quickly to outside stimulus, their strength levels increase daily with minimal work. I do feel as though if given the choice of doing either one or the other, strength training is the clear-cut winner. Adding the speed work in a day or two gives them even more of an edge.
Our KEY Takeaways for YOU! – Speed or Lifting
- If given the choice, we recommend lifting over the speed work.
- Our athletes start at age 14 with advanced lifting techniques, anything before that is body weight stuff
Young athletes do not have to do all the cool crazy stuff to be successful. They just need consistency, intensity and effort. These are the biggest factors for their early strength training success