The purpose of this narrative review is to discuss the role of eccentric resistance training in youth and how this training modality can be utilized within long-term physical development. Current literature on responses to eccentric exercise in youth has demonstrated that potential concerns, such as fatigue and muscle damage, compared to adults are not supported. Considering the importance of resistance training for youth athletes and the benefits of eccentric training in enhancing strength, power, speed, and resistance to injury, its inclusion throughout youth may be warranted. In this review we provide a brief overview of the physiological responses to exercise in youth with specific reference to the different responses to eccentric resistance training between children, adolescents, and adults. Thereafter, we discuss the importance of ensuring that force absorption qualities are trained throughout youth and how these may be influenced by growth and maturation. In particular, we propose practical methods on how eccentric resistance training methods can be implemented in youth via the inclusion of efficient landing mechanics, eccentric hamstrings strengthening and flywheel inertia training. This article proposes that the use of eccentric resistance training in youth should be considered a necessity to help develop both physical qualities that underpin sporting performance, as well as reducing injury risk. However, as with any other training modality implemented within youth, careful consideration should be given in accordance with an individual’s maturity status, training history and technical competency as well as being underpinned by current long-term physical development guidelines.
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