Bone Growth and Youth Development



Adam Boily MS, MATJS, USAW

Here might be the most commonly asked question a strength & conditioning professional must answer to youth athlete parents.


“Will my 13 year old child (or younger or teenager) have a stunted growth from lifting weights?”


It depends. It depends if the athlete is exercising biomechanically correct or not. Stunted bone growth may occur when the open growth plates located at the ends of bones become damaged. Damaged open growth plates can happen for various reasons, which include an injury from sport or poor exercising technique. For example, if a 12 yo athlete playing soccer sustains a trauma to the knee in a soccer game, he/she could incur growth plate damage around the knee. Another way an athlete can sustain growth plate damage in the knee would be biomechanically incorrect weight-bearing exercises. Say a 10 yo athlete is front squatting and during every repetition their right knee caves in with a valgus moment. If an expert S&C coach is not there coaching the athlete out of these poor mechanics, overtime knee growth plate damage might occur before the plate close. However, most youth athletes will not experience growth plate damage from training or in sport as long as qualified professionals are monitoring exercises.

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Professional Tennis Conjugate Strength


This conjugate strength week is designed for the professional tennis athlete who is injury free and 4-8 weeks into their offseason periodization.  Remember, a tennis “pro” isn’t necessarily 18 years of age or older.  Some “pro” tennis players can be as old as 14 years and have enough training experience to appropriately progress to this phase of strength training.

As referenced in some of our variable resistance article, it’s necessary to utilize bands or chains with lower body pressing motions to increase power output.  This increase will translate to linear speed, lateral quickness and leaping abilities.  For a video reference of each exercise refer to our database.

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The Single-Armed Sled March Series

The SA sled March Series. The absolute staple to our famous "Trunk and Spine" preparation systems. It's crucial to develop isometric trunk rotation simultaneous to concentric hip extension (acceleration); and isometric trunk rotation simultaneous to concentric knee extension in deep bending positions (deceleration).

Back Builder

Back flex
Some athletes lack a developed upper back region. This includes but not limited to rear deltoids, trapezius and latissimus dorsi. The bench press is very popular and a lot of times it is incorporated into and exercise program more than pulling exercises.

Team Training Organization


Over the years, we have had successful team training relationships because we pride ourselves on being able to train many athletes at one time, while still having an individualized session. There are three main rules needed when structuring this kind of session and executing it.  Rule number one is organization, which includes understanding the equipment available, number of athletes, and sport.  Rule number two, programing, should follow the principle of intention before progression.  Rule number three, control.

Organization includes building a comprehensive script for movement/strength for each sport, arriving early to the turf/weight room to prepare equipment and group athletes appropriately (e.g. movement lines or weight room cages).  Once the athletes understand the organization of how the session will be executed, give them weeks to adapt to each script before progressing (intention before progression).  Without modifying the exercise, increase the volume and intensity until the athletes can progress to the next group of exercises.  When controlling a large group of athletes (50-100), control is a must.  The best ways to control large groups is to have a lead strength coach that is intense, loud, and focused on managing the session.  This includes, having similar athletes paired together based on body type, position or health status.  Following these three rules of team training will lead to effective and efficient sessions for any sport and at all levels.

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3 Principles For Improving Locomotion


For most people, locomotion is necessary for day-to-day life.  Whether it’s walking to get groceries and running away from a neighbor’s dog to playing recreation tennis or jumping to snag the game-ending rebound in the NBA championship game.  The one common body part and possibly the most important involved with movement is the ankle and its’ the health and performance.  Without a strong support system, i.e. ankles, much of human locomotion would be less efficient, more susceptible to injury and experience decreases in performance.  The following are principles and exercises that increase ankle strength, mobility, health and performance of the ankle and human movement.  These exercises are performed first before almost every movement session we coach at BPS and as a whole is called our CAMPS – SSP (Support System Prep).

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Metabolic Conditioning – Low Impact (Slideboard)



A typical metabolic conditioning method is running or sprinting for given times. This is a very effective method and one we use frequently. However, there are ways to challenge this system with low impact training.  Therefore, we utilize the slideboard equipment. After a fast pace SST muscle prep with the ankling/buttkick plyos, use no rest time between exercises, transition 2 minutes later into the slideboard work. Make sure the slideboard is sprayed with the proper anti-stick formul and proper shoe booties. Have enough slideboards to allow athletes to abide by the rest time (1 person on 1 person off). Encourage the athlete to keep a fast pace while pushing side to side. Below is an example script we use for our professional athletes.

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Safe and Effective Over-speed

Over-speed training is accomplished when an athlete performs a linear sprint for a given distance while being pulled (assisted) in the same direction as the sprint.  In essence, the athlete will then be sprinting at 105-107% of their natural 100% ability.  This can be a controversial topic in our industry since this type of training can increase the risk for injury.

Programs That Are Designed to Strengthen Any Athlete With Easy to Transport Materials and Scientifically Based Progressions

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Sometimes coaches need to do strength training on a turf or grass field since weight room access may be limited. In this type of scenario, we have programs that are designed to strengthen any athlete with easy to transport materials and scientifically based progressions. In this case, we have a program that soccer youth athletes can utilize on a soccer field to increase strength.

Equipment needed: Sorinex Bands, a few light dumbbells and a light kettle bell.

For the first 1 to 2 weeks, the athlete will be in a general preparatory phase, which is designed to align the joints and start a base foundation of strength and motor pattern development. In the provided image you’ll see and example of an upper body day. The tempos are long and the reps/holds are medium to high.

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General Fitness: Body Weight & Bands

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From a general fitness perspective, the best trainers are not just the ones that can directly train a client adequately.  It’s the education of what to do in a “worst case” scenario if your client needs to travel, has an emergency, or has a logistical issue like family issues that inhibits the ability to attend sessions.