Functional Training for Youth
Functional strength training benefits adolescents.
New data support the use of functional training for youth and show that it is more effective in improving fitness than traditional physical education. Functional strength training for youth in their early teens led to significant improvements in flexibility, stability, functional movement patterns and health-related functional strength, according to a study published in Perceptual and Motor Skills (2021; doi:10.1177/00315125211056865).
An international group of researchers enrolled 266 middle- and high-school students into a 12-week functional strength training program or a control group of regular physical education classes. At the end of the study period, the functional strength training participants experienced significant improvements in the functional movement screen, situps, pullups and flexibility when compared with those in traditional PE classes. The study authors recommend that the functional strength training program be included in the PE curriculum for teens.