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May the Force Be with Youth: Foundational Strength for Lifelong Development.

Today's youth are weaker than previous generations, and measurable reductions in physical fitness are beginning to emerge. Without targeted initiatives that recognize the foundational importance of resistance training, weaker children and adolescents may be more likely to experience the inevitable consequences of neuromuscular dysfunction and less likely to experience the pleiotropic benefits of exercise and sport. Early exposure to strength-building activities is needed to prepare today's youth for ongoing participation in varied physical activities throughout this developmental phase of life. The novel iceberg of physical development is a metaphoric image that illustrates the sequential and cumulative influence of muscular strength on motor skills and physical abilities. Efforts to enhance the physical capacity of youth should include resistive skills that improve basic movement patterns and enhance motoric competence. A shift in our conceptual thinking about youth resistance training is needed to alter the current trajectory toward physical inactivity and related comorbidities.

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