Strength Training Program for Young Athletes Now Available

New York, NY—February 13, 2002 

The Sports Medicine Institute for Young Athletes (SMIYA) at Hospital for Special Surgery has started a supervised strength-training program for young athletes. While the belief had long been held that allowing young children and teens to lift weights hinders their development, this is now widely recognized as false. The greatest amount of bone formation occurs during childhood, and strength training, if done correctly with proper supervision, can help create stronger bones and prevent injuries.

Participation in sports has more than doubled since 1970, with more than 25 million children and teens playing on some type of organized team in the United States. Supervised strength training prepares young athletes’ bodies for the rigors of organized sports. By using different combinations of exercise repetitions, ranging from one set of ten repetitions to five sets of fifteen repetitions, young athletes can achieve increases in strength from 30-40% over an eight to twelve week training program.

“Properly supervised strength training actually helps enhance a child’s physical development and contributes to their social and psychological growth,” said Dr. Jordan Metzl, pediatric sports medicine specialist and co-founder of SMIYA. “ It’s important for parents to encourage activity in their children, and strength training is a non-competitive means of conditioning which promotes a healthy lifestyle at a young age.”

Strength training programs can help young athletes prevent injury and improve body development by creating stronger bones and lowering body fat, which is helpful in decreasing childhood obesity. Risks, such as injury or improper techniques, are also greatly reduced if athletes are working under proper supervision ensuring the correct techniques. Children as young as age five can benefit from the program by enhancing their development.

Parents can enroll their children in strength and conditioning programs at the SMIYA by calling 212-606-1891. Drago Novkovic, a board certified sports medicine/athletic trainer, is the strength and conditioning program director. He has worked in several universities and clinical and professional sports settings, which include the University of Connecticut, New York University, and the United States National Soccer Team. Currently, Drago is the sports therapist/athletic trainer and coordinator of the Health and Wellness Program at the Collegiate School in New York City.

The Sports Medicine Institute for Young Athletes is the first integrated center in New York City dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, research and prevention of injuries in athletes under 18-years of age. Combining the expertise of top physicians, physical therapists, exercise physiologists and nutritionists, the goal of the institute is to tend to the specific medical needs of young athletes while offering guidance in nutrition and education.

About Hospital for Special Surgery
Founded in 1863, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is a world leader in orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation. HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics, No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2007), and has received Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. In the 2006 edition of HealthGrades' Hospital Quality in America Study, HSS received five-star ratings for clinical excellence in its specialties. A member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System and an affiliate of Weill Medical College of Cornell University, HSS provides orthopedic and rheumatologic patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center. All Hospital for Special Surgery medical staff are on the faculty of Weill Medical College of Cornell University. The hospital's research division is internationally recognized as a leader in the investigation of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Hospital for Special Surgery is located in New York City and online at

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