Different Workouts for Different Kids, Sports & Goals

Some things in life are truly one-size-fits-all: adjustable caps, rain ponchos, bath towels. But–workouts for athletes do not fit into this category!

There are some things that all athletes are looking for including:

  • Strength
  • Quickness
  • Endurance
  • Stamina
  • Vertical leap
  • Amount of fast twitch muscle fiber
  • Flexibility and range of motion.

What they are trying to avoid are:

  • Tightness
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Injury
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Increased amount of slow twitch muscle fibern

The problem with most fitness programs is that instead of tracking progress with both of these lists in mind, what is generally tracked is simply:

  1. The amount of weight Johnny or Jessica can lift before
  2. The amount of weight Johnny or Jessica can lift after

Different kids

It’s been said millions of times that all kids are different. Some kids can start a weight training routine and get bigger, stronger and faster and seem to have no ill effects whatsoever. Different kid, same routine and he will get sore, stiff, get slower and get hurt.

Some kids have long lean muscle and others have short, thick muscle. Some have more natural fast twitch muscle and others more slow twitch. Some kids are going through puberty with huge growth spurts where their bones are growing faster than the muscles can keep up which causes what is commonly known as ‘growing pains.’ Some are physically mature and look more like men and women than boys and girls.

Why then do we have the same workout routine for all of them?

Different sports

Should the workout/weight training routines be the same for a football player and someone in track and field? Wait, should they be the same for a quarterback and a defensive lineman? Should they be the same for a shot putter and someone who runs the 100 meter dash? Should they be the same for a pitcher and an outfielder?

If not then why do athletes in middle schools, high schools,  at the college and professional levels involved in Track, Football, Baseball, Soccer, Tennis, Golf, Volleyball, Wrestling, all use the same basic weight training routine?

Different goals

When I have a kid in middle or high school come to my office with an injury that they’ve gotten while lifting weights or stemming from decreased flexibility from their weight training program in conjunction with an activity like pitching in a baseball game we have a conversation that goes something like this:

What are your goals as they pertain to sports?

(Usual answer, “Huh?”)

Do you want to play baseball in high school, college or the professional levels? (Usual answer…”Yes.”)

Are you more interested in other sports like football or power lifting? (Usual answer, “No, I want to play baseball.”)

Are you getting faster or slower? (Usual answer, “Slower.”)

Are you throwing harder/faster or slower? (Usual answer, “Slower.”)

Do you have more or less pain or tightness before or after you began your weightlifting program? (Usual answer, “More pain. I never was hurt before I started lifting weights.”)

What kind of weight routine are you doing? (Usual answer, “3 sets of 8 repetitions with 70-75-80% of our max. Bench press, military press, power cleans, dead lifts, and squats.”)

Straight bar or dumbbells? (Usual answer, “Straight bar.”)

So you want to be a football player or a power lifter? (Usual answer,  “Huh?”)

-Well, that is a routine developed for bodybuilders and power lifters in the 70’s designed for getting bigger and stronger and has been used by football coaches for years for that purpose. Would you rather have a routine that will make you faster, throw harder, put less stress on your joints like your shoulders, elbows and back so you won’t get hurt like this in the future? n(Answer EVERY TIME…“Yes, but what do I tell my coach?”)

Coach, every kid has different  goals. Every kid has a different body type. Every kid can’t use the same workout routine and achieve their goals. Their goals and your goals for them may be different! You may want that athlete to be a tight end or tackle on your football team. The kid just wants to pitch for the Longhorns one day. I ask every kid and parent that comes here with an injury to sit down with you and discuss their goals and ask you to help them achieve them. They are universally scared to death to do this. They’re afraid you’ll be angry. They’re afraid you’ll sit them on the bench. What to do?!

Different workouts

Yes, different workouts! The cool part for you is that you don’t have to come up with them all by yourself. We’ll show you some that you can use along with progress tracking charts but first some do’s and don’ts.nn(Remember Coach, EVERY athlete I work with IS INJURED.)

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