- No machines whatsoever. Interrupts natural mobility/stability interplay and fixes force production into a pre-set pattern which detracts from a youngster’s ability to enhance motor skill (critical in pre-adolescence). Machines are only built for isolative sagittal strength production anyway and we live in a multi-planar world of integrative function.
- Bodyweight exercises are fine as are externally loaded strength training exercises. There is no such reality that children need to be able to perform certain numbers of bodyweight only exercises before they can move onto weight loaded work (and 40 of anything is far too many to use as a gage - technique development through skill sets is the key, and at 40 repetitions, technique would be compromised)
- The 'limited sets to high reps' notion of youth strength training is ‘horse pucky’. The indelible factor is teaching technique - someone needs to instruct your son on how to perform lifts well and them have him execute them in a limited fashion so as to develop quality motor awareness, summation of forces (etc). 6 - 8 sets of 3 - 5 reps with a stimulating movement game in between each set is the best way I have ever seen to develop quality technical/motor awareness.
- Don't underestimate the value of game playing when developing strength. The essence of developing quality strength with pre-adolescents come in the following ways:
> Technique development
Have fun creating obstacle courses (for instances) using the list from above.
I encourage youngsters and there parents to strength training (even in the gym) by the learning the technical relevance of various lifts. The key however is technical development, and that should not be taken lightly or left in the hands of an unsure trainer.
If you would like some specific examples of programming ideas, please let me know and I would be happy to post them here.