Training During Childhood and Adolescences

I have heard the comments and questions many times; is it safe for my athlete(s) to start lifting weights? Johnny is so young I don’t want him to stunt his growth! How do you know when they are ready to start lifting? My common answer tends to be “as long as we progress slowly make sure they learn functional movement patterns and keep the weight low, and reps high with ample volume Johnny will be fine.”  This article was sparked by an interesting article I read from Lloyd et al titled Considerations for the Development of Agility During Childhood and Adolescences (http://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Fulltext/2013/06000/Article.2.aspx) if you have not read it yet you should! It is the first article I have seen that ties the use of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) to training prepubertal, circumpubertal, and postpubertal athletes.

The problem with using the FMS on prepubertal and circumpubertal athletes is they typically receive rather poor scores because of their limited exposure to the movement patterns used in the FMS. While Lloyd does not state whether or not he advocates for the use of the FMS on any of these groups, the article does advocate for the using the FMS movement patterns for development during these years. What I am now considering is should we hold off on using the FMS to screen athletes that fall into the prepubertal group? My rational is they have limited exposure to these movement patterns so if we spend the time teaching and developing deep squat, hurdle step, inline lunge, and core stability in the prepubertal group.  When they are tested at the circumpubertal level we can be assured that any issues that are found are true deficiencies and not just a lack of knowledge on the movement pattern. Let me know your thoughts!