Youth Physical Development

By Dustin Lindgren

As the world of physical fitness continues to grow, so does the idea of youth physical development. By putting a child on a program or model that looks at enhancing physical abilities throughout childhood and teenage years, it could help to maximize athletic success well into the adult years. The Youth Physical Development Model takes a new approach in training and periodization of training programs.

 In previous models implemented to improve performance in adolescents, such as LTAD (Long-Term Athletic Development) have been found flawed due to the reason that they are classified in relation to age. Whereas the Youth Development Model suggests that youth training can be according to biologic status, such as highlighting certain movement or skills during puberty versus the LTAD.

 LTAD has a seven-stage framework that serves as a guide that looks to improve different abilities and skills in youth athletes. The seven stages include the following:

1.    Active Start

2.    Fundamentals

3.    Learn to train

4.    Train to train

5.    Train to compete

6.    Train to win

7.    Active for life

 This is where I somewhat agree with LTAD, but I see its flaws. I Believe there is more periodization that can take advantage of biological adaptations, as well as being able to teach fundamental movements at early childhood as young as 2 years old. For example, 12 to 16-year-old males are experiencing puberty and the body is producing more hormones. Their focus is looked towards strength, speed, agility, power, and skills that relate to different sports.

 Another great example of this model is looking at how you would train an inexperienced child that ranges from 6 to 8 years of age, compared to someone who is taking part in college athletics . The child’s program would consist of fundamental development movements, such as squats and being able to jump and land properly, where these movements would be in a dynamic warm-up for the college athlete.

 When we look at when to emphasize sport-specific movements the focus is mainly centered from adolescence to adult, but the interesting part is that it is also present all throughout childhood. This is where I strongly believe that sports at an early age help to increase that athletic development as well.

   In conclusion, The Youth Development Model is something that I like to use when working with athletes. It gives me the tools that I need when working with different ages. There are benefits to training kids at a young age, know-how and when is the important part of it all.

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Alex Kain

Owner / Head Coach / Personal Trainer

Alex has always been a very athletic and active person. Playing just about every sport under the sun, however he spent more time being involved in Hockey, Gymnastics, Diving and Cheerleading (the latter 3 being very similar in nature). Not only did he grow up being very active he had a very nutritiously conscientious mother who wouldn’t allow him many different kinds of foods. So he grew up with a good basis on nutrition and eating healthy. As he grew older he continued to dial in on the nutrition while working out religiously. He would often pair gymnastics type movements with traditional barbell movements when working out. Therefore when he found functional fitness back in 2010 he fell in love with it and never looked back.

Alex went on to grad school where he got a masters degree in Exercise Physiology and won back to back National Championships in cheerleading. Upon graduating he began working at Froedtert hospital in Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and coaching cheerleading locally. He really enjoyed helping people improve their health but wanted to help people before they were requiring surgery and he also knew that a healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition and exercise could prevent many of the issues he was treating people for. In 2008 he was offered a coaching position in New Zealand. He moved there and spent the next 6 years in New Zealand and Australia coaching New Zealand to 2 gold and 1 silver medal in the World Cheerleading Championships and Australia to 1 Silver medal. 

In 2014 he moved back to the states and that’s when he opened A1 Health and Fitness. His biggest joys are helping people reach their goals and lead healthy lives through diet and exercise. Whether it’s coaching someone to a PR lift or helping someone shed unwanted pounds or start eliminating poor food from their diet, Alex loves it all. His real passion is nutrition and helping people get off their medication, but he can work with all ages. He enjoys traveling the world, spending time with his dog Charlie and his amazing girlfriend Jen as well as family and friends. 


  • USAW L2
  • CrossFit L2
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1
  • WAG certified nutrition coach
  • CrossFit Kids
  • M.S. Exercise Physiology