Youth Strength Training?

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When Is It Safe for Children to Start Strength Training?

“We are urban dwellers stuck in hunter-gatherer bodies…that’s true for children as well as adults. There was a time when children ‘weight trained’ by carrying milk pails and helping around the farm. Now few children, even young athletes, get sufficient activity…If a kid sits in class or in front of a screen for hours and then you throw them out onto the soccer field or basketball court, they don’t have the tissue strength to withstand the forces involved in their sports. That can contribute to injury”

—Dr. Lyle Micheli, MD—New York Times—2010—

A few days ago, The Wall Street Journal published the article; When Is It Safe for Children to Start Strength Training? The author quotes Dr. Benjamin, a professor of orthopedic surgery and pediatrics and the director of primary-care sports medicine at the University of Chicago, for her professional opinion on what strength training is, its risks and benefits for children and adolescents, as well as when it’s safe to add weights.

Dr. B encourages children to learn the basics and good form before adding weight, at the same time however, she discourages children from participating in power lifting, body building or single-repetition lifts of very heavy weights. For the sole purpose of preventing injury, she suggests strengthening the core only with sit-ups or Pilates—no weightlifting necessary until around the age of 12 or after puberty.


 HPC can agree that “any age is a good age. But there does seem to be something special about the time from about age 7 to 12. The nervous system is very plastic. The kids are very eager. It seems to be an ideal time to hard-wire strength gains and movement patterns…A well-structured program can be so much fun that it never occurs to the kids that they’re getting quote-unquote ‘strength training’ at all”

—Dr. Faigenbaum—New York Times—2010—

A recent article, Overcoming Resistance: The Case for Strength Training in Children and Adolescents, offers evidence indicating that children as young as 5-6 years old can also benefit from strength training. Notably, an increase in muscle mass following puberty plays a significant role in developing and improving strength, whereas strength gains among children are driven primarily by neural adaptations (e.g., enhanced motor unit recruitment and synchronization) (Smith, 2017).


SMITH, J. (2017). Overcoming Resistance: The Case for Strength Training in Children and Adolescents. Sport Health, 35(1), 15–18. Retrieved from

Reference retrieved online from

Reference retrieved online from


Connection Session

Shoulder MASH to Internal Rotation Stretch

—Shoulder MASH—

A myofascial release technique used to loosen the tissues in the neck and shoulders by driving blood flow, warmth and awareness into the tissues, helps you build on top of your posture, and is highly effective in treating and preventing injuries


Internal Rotation Stretch

Over time, the shoulders can inadvertently be trained to roll forward—the muscles will interpret this slumped position as the body’s natural state, which can be very harmful if left untreated, as this can increase stress and pain around the neck, shoulders and upper back.  

We know that optimally functioning muscles allow us to perform normal activities with ease, but with pain, stiffness and tension, comes physical limitations and/or loss of normal function.

With these two techniques being apart of your routine, the synergy of benefits will have you on your way to developing optimal shoulder mobility, range of motion and true internal rotation.

Start with a closed or open (whatever is most comfortable for you) fist behind the back, hooking the back part of the elbow on a wall, door, tree, etc. While the elbow is pinned forward, you are able to pull your shoulder backwards. You should feel this stretch in the back part of the shoulder. This enables the muscles to stretch beyond their initial maximum, resulting in increased flexibility and true internal rotation—as opposed to what happens overtime when we are constantly rounding our shoulders—

At HPC, we want you to be dominating your body, but we know that getting on top of the pains and problems you have, isn’t always easy.
But if we can create hacks—like the Shoulder MASH & Internal Rotation Stretch—if we can create convenience when you’re trying to understand your body, then getting yourself out of pain and/or closer to optimal function will be easy.

As always, KEEP MOVIN’

00:00 – HEALTH IN A HEARTBEAT – Connection Session – Shoulder MASH to Internal Rotation Stretch / 00:05 – HPC family, get out & enjoy this weather / 00:16 – Previously on H.I.A.H / 00:31 – Dr. J introduces TRUE Internal Rotation / 00:38 – Dr. J demonstrates & explains the Internal Rotation Stretch / 01:33 – HPC makes it easy to get out of pain & function OPTIMALLY / 01:58 – KEEP MOVIN’


Shoulder MASH

We are so pleased to see all the feedback that the H.I.A.H. (Health in a Heartbeat) segments have been generating. Here at HPC, we know that going the extra mile makes all the difference, not only as a practice, but with the relationships we form with each patient. By enabling human communication and interaction to take place in ways that go beyond traditional face-to-face interactions, we hope to inspire and instill positive energy through these videos because inevitably, when bad things happen, HPC can help you stay on top of them and keep you moving.2 The last segment focused on low back, hip and knee type scenarios, where this segment is a bit more specific to the neck and shoulders.

“They are a large percentage of our total body weight and have a corresponding impact on our health. When all is in working order, muscles allow us to perform normal activities with ease. When our muscles harbor trigger points, we experience pain, stiffness and tension, physical limitation and loss of normal function. Factors commonly cited as predisposing to trigger point formation include, but are not limited to de-conditioning, poor posture, repetitive mechanical stress, mechanical imbalance (e.g. leg length inequality), joint disorders, non-restorative sleep and vitamin deficiencies” 1


Dr. Jared uses a lacrosse ball as an orb for a more “self-controlled” myofascial release (Technical Term = Self-Myofascial Release (SMR)) or “mashing.” When using light to moderate pressure, mashing helps to loosen the tissues in your neck and shoulders, driving blood flow and warmth into tissues that consistently get beat up, regardless of who you are.


If you’re training in the gym, you probably have experienced just how much those tight muscles can affect your movements, causing you to be more susceptible to injury—pay attention to and manage these tissues with the mashing technique, as it is highly effective in treating and preventing injuries.


Even with the everyday actions like sitting or driving in a car for long periods of time, our shoulders tend to roll forward, creating technological-posture. Use mashing to treat those tissues, drive blood flow and awareness, and to build on top of your posture.


In the next HEALTH IN A HEARTBEAT, we will link this segment with a new Connection Session where we will go over stretching and exercise techniques that you can incorporate into your routine.

In the meantime, KEEP ON MASHIN’, KEEP ON MOVIN’

00:00 – HEALTH IN A HEARTBEAT—”Shoulder MASH” / 00:06 – Develop & Maintain Physician-Patient Relationship to Keep You Moving / 00:45 – Dr. J Demonstrates Shoulder MASH w/ Lacrosse Ball / 01:40 – EVERYONE Can Benefit from Mashing / 02:17 – Next on H.I.A.H—Connection Session—Posture Building Stretch & Exercise Techniques / 02:26 – KEEP ON MASHIN’, KEEP ON MOVIN’


Myofascial Therapy. (2018). In National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists. Retrieved from

Nikiphorou, E., & Bernenbaum, F. (2018, January 9). Patient–Physician Interaction on Social Media: The Physician’s Point of View. European Medical Journal, 2(1), 40-42. Retrieved from