Are plyometrics safe for younger athletes to do?

While plyometrics are a great tool to use to increase muscular power, they are not safe for adolescent children. Plyometrics can put a lot of stress on the parts of the bone that are still growing in children, and that can make them more prone to injury.

As children get older and growth has reached a plateau, plyometrics can be a great exercise as it increases bone and muscular strength. Plyometrics should also not be performed by anyone who has not been trained to do them.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Washington State University Athletic Training Education Program.)

Plyometrics are safe to do for younger athletes however proper teaching and moderation must be enforced.  Like most exercises you want to make sure they know the proper form so they can avoid injury.  Plyometrics is a very physical and demanding on the body and one wrong move can lead to injury.  Also plyometrics is something that can't be done on a regular basis.  The stress of this exercise of using your body weight is very demanding.  So in the end having a great coach or personal trainer to guide them is essential for proper form, injury prevention and moderation.

Yes, plyometrics are safe for youth athletes to participate in - however - they must be done in moderation. All youth athletes are skipping, jumping, and re-directing as part of their play anyway so the movements, in and of themselves, are fine to perform. Excessive exercise programming that includes numerous consecutive sets and repetitions are what can lead to less than optimal effects and potential injury from overtraining. Especially as young athletes grow and acclimate to their bodies, coordination and timing may be diminished. The safest bet for youth athletes is to perform low-impact and quickness-building forms of plyometrics. Although not as glamorous as some of the more dynamic jumping exercises, these quick and sudden movements teach young athletes how to absorb force and re-deliver it back into the ground quickly. As the athlete matures and grows accustomed to their "new body" (post-puberty) more demanding plyometric exercises can be added.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.