We want to reduce injuries, strengthen tendons and increase bone density. From here, we can progress safely and correctly. It is not necessary to go below 5 reps for young athletes. Unless on a bodyweight exercise like a pull up or dip and you can only do 2 or
3, that is fine. But, doing flat benches for 1 or 2 max reps is ridiculous and a waste of time and does nothing to improve your athletic ability. Always train with safety in mind. If you are unsure, seek the help of a professional and learn to do things correctly.
Why is reducing injuries the main goal? Simple. You can not perform or participate when injured. Reducing injuries is addressed by bringing up the lagging muscles and building a balanced physique. The use of free weights & BW exercises strengthen the bones, tendons & ligaments because they force the athlete to balance the weights or their own body while simultaneously pushing against a resisting load.
As I have mentioned previously, the young athlete who is new to resistance training can make improvements by following the simplest exercise programs. Make sure each workout is short & intense enough to reap the benefits, but not so grueling where you do not want to come back for more. I like to leave my athletes wanting to train a little bit more. This keeps them coming back with great energy each workout. A strength training program is not going to make you feel like you just finished a wrestling practice. We are training for strength & power, so the workout will obviously be different! Do not approach strength training like a marathon.
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