Paul Inga is a native San Diegan who grew up being a stand out athlete in baseball and water polo. After graduating from West Hills High School, he continued his education earning a degree in Nutritional Sciences at Butte College. He is a Certified Functional Strength Coach(CFSC) and Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) accredited by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He also holds the distinction of a master level powerlifter in USA Powerlifting.
Paul has 10+ years combined experience while professionally working as a strength coach and personal trainer for the last 6 years. He has worked with a wide array of clients, both men and women, of all age groups and abilities while earning the distinction as one of the top trainers in La Jolla, CA. He has had the privilege of being the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach of the San Diego Seals for the past 2 seasons.
Whether he is working with professional athletes, youth athletes, or members of the general population, his primary goal is to elevate the clients’ overall fitness and well-being in the safest way possible. His workout programs revolve around the simple principles of ‘quality over and quantity’ and ‘do no harm’. Paul’s passion for health and fitness along with a constant thirst for knowledge has pushed him to develop comprehensive workout programs that are result driven. The relationships he builds with his clients and athletes are what drives him to become a better coach and role model in the fitness community.
Why Youth Strength Training is Important
By: Paul Inga, CFSC, CES
Regular exercise benefits all people regardless of age and ability. For athletes trying to improve in their respective sport, strength training has been linked to increased power production, agility, endurance, and decreased risk of injury. Though there is still a negative stigma associated with kids and strength training. “Is it safe?” “Will it stunt my child’s growth?”
These are common questions asked by parents because these myths, which have been debunked many times, are still common. The truth is that a proper strength and conditioning program monitored and overseen by a qualified coach is safe and in some instances safer than the sports and activities your children are already participating in.
So, should your child be strength training? Absolutely.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommend 1 hour of activity daily along with 3 days of the week including muscle and bone strengthening exercises. It is often debated at what age children should start training, but if your child is mature enough to take place in an organized sport, then they are able to start resistance training. For most kids this is around 6-8 years old but maturity does play an important role in when deciding when the time is right.
Strength Training vs Weight Lifting
Many still confuse the two. Strength training is exactly at it sounds, using resistance training to illicit the adaptation of stronger muscles, ligaments, and bones. Powerlifting, bodybuilding, and weightlifting are different entirely where the focus is more on bulk or amount of weight lifted. These modalities would not be safe for your child and are not recommended until your child has reached proper maturity and training age. The focus of a youth strength training program is general movement competency, using bodyweight exercises to lay down a good foundation to build on. Once movement competency is established, then light resistance bands can be used , free weights, or medicine balls.
The #1 goal of a youth strength training program, and any program, is SAFETY. The focus is on quality movement, not the quantity amount of weight lifted. The exercise selection and the amount of resistance are both factors a strong coach take into consideration when designing a program. The maturity, ability, and individual goals of each athlete also factor into those decisions. If you are looking to have your child enrolled in a strength program, it is very important to find a qualified coach who you trust to give your child the foundation for long term athletic development and healthy habits that will follow them into adulthood.
So while the myths have been proven to be untrue, it is important to understand where they come from. Kids have been injured from lifting weights. Those injuries were then met with a blanket statement of “training for kids is bad!” What you have to understand is that while those injuries happened, they were often a result of poor programming, exercise selection, lifting heavy with improper form, or lack of supervision. As previously stated, while under the supervision and close monitoring of a qualified professional, a lot of those risks are mitigated.
There are many benefits to strength training along with regular exercise. Research has indicated significant improvement in these areas:
- Increased muscle strength and power
- Increased balance and stability
- Increased speed in change of direction and agility
- Decreased risk and severity of sport related injuries
- Increased overall fitness
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Positive changes in body composition
- Increased self esteem and confidence
- Learning healthy habits that will last a lifetime