High intensity training in children: yes or no?

Gregorio Bermudo

16 November, 2016

Currently, the "high-intensity interválico" format has been consolidated as one of the efficient training proposals beyond the purely competitive sports field, in these times when the modes weigh so much and make the vision more and more narrow of what surrounds us, the possibility of making this method even more extensive in other areas such as in children is begun in the world of physical activity. But is it suitable?

Execution with guarantees and continuity of a training system such as the one in question undoubtedly entails benefits for our body (increases VO2màx., Improves the capacity for recovery ... all of them generic aspects), but On the other hand we can not deny that the sensations that arouse during the exercise are not at all pleasing. However, in relation to the population that deals with us, is it appropriate to make such an approach? As with everything, success lies not in finding the right answer to a specific question, but the success we find in what questions we ask. With regard to this subject, beyond the appropriateness or not of carrying out such sessions with children, the most appropriate question is: does the training of high intensity make sense for them?
Better sports than HIIT
In no case should it be a main content to develop a high intensity intervention session. In the classes of physical education this option is completely annulled, and the same would have to happen in the sport activities of extracurricular nature, are competitive or no. Everyone agrees that the physical capacities of children must be in constant progression, but of course, evolution must be a consequence of the different training or practice contents. Children have thousands of elements linked to various areas (cognitive, socioconductive, conditional ...) that go ahead in priority. In short, what interests us children is that they adhere to physical practice and, to achieve this, the smartest is to apply a fun component to all the tasks that we consider. Obviously, this fact clashes with unflexible structures such as high intensity training.
Not at all suitable and effective for children
Interventional methods arose to ensure a good response from physical conditions at competitive moments. They are designed, therefore, for a public absolutely opposed to what children represent, also from the physiological point of view. The perception of the effort and its approach is totally different in the body of a child. As a general rule, since your basal metabolism works at more revolutions and the heart rate is higher, they do not have so many problems to overcome the training stimuli almost immediately, which plays against in their ability to give continuity to effort All in all, it shows to us that perhaps the efficiency of these methods is not as remarkable as with the adult population.
So let physical activity in children be a tool to promote your creativity and your responsibility, to work on the individual technique or the relationship with your peers during the game. After all, if you continue to be active in physical practice, you will have the time to experience training of all kinds.

the author

Gregorio Bermudo

Sant Joan Despí sports management director

Bachelor's Degree in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences and Master's Degree in Economic Management of Sports Entities (UB)

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