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Exercise Training in Youth: What do we know?

Dr Melitta McNarry ©2018
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Webinar overview

The trainability of children and adolescents remains an important, but contentious, issue in pediatric exercise science. In particular, it has been suggested that the periods of naturally occurring accelerated adaptation during puberty reflect ‘golden periods’ or ‘windows of opportunity’ where the effects of training are especially pronounced. The ‘trigger hypothesis’ or maturational threshold are prominent examples of this theory and dictate that training-induced gains during childhood and adolescence will be either minimal or not apparent until the trigger provided by the onset of puberty is reached.

This debate regarding the trainability of children has had a significant impact on the design of training programs for children and adolescents by coaches and researchers. Windows of optimal trainability represent a cornerstone of many long-term athlete development models that have been widely adopted by UK National Governing Bodies. An understanding of the development of fitness during childhood and adolescence is not just applicable to a sporting context however, such an understanding also has important implications for the promotion of health and well-being throughout childhood and adolescence. This webinar will: 1) Provide an overview of the current evidence regarding the trainability of aerobic fitness, strength and speed in children and adolescents; 2) Evaluate the strength of this evidence base and 3) Provide recommendations for researchers and practitioners.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this webinar, attendees should be able to:

  • Explain the main effects of training on aerobic fitness, strength and speed
  • Understand the relative merits of traditional continuous exercise relative to high-intensity interval training
  • Explain the limitations of research to date

Presenter Profile

Dr Melitta McNarry is a Senior Lecturer of Exercise Physiology at Swansea University, where her research focuses on paediatric exercise physiology in health and disease. Melitta’s work concentrates on the interaction between maturity and training dose in determining the physiological response to exercise in children and adolescents.