EPISODE 6: Heart work pays off with PT, PhD student, and elite tennis coach, Dean Perkins

Welcome to the most in-depth science lesson you’ll ever have, on something that we all share in common – the heart. It’s well documented that training in a variety of sports at youth level improves coordination and dexterity, but is there a danger to the cardiovascular health of young athletes from training them a particular way?

Dean Perkins is a Personal Trainer, elite youth tennis coach, and currently completing a PhD which looks at heart adaptations in children and adolescents. In this episode of The Perfect Athlete, we learn from Dean’s in depth research and experience the effects of endurance and interval training, suitable training methods for young athletes, and debunk some myths about how the heart responds to certain types of training as a child.



  • Dean’s fitness journey
  • The effect of endurance training on the heart
  • Capabilities of cardiac screening
  • Long term effects of training at youth level
  • Pushy parents of sports kids
  • Adjusting training to suit young athletes
  • Common training myths and mistakes


“Essentially if you’ve got a bigger heart, that feeds into a higher stroke volume, meaning that with every beat or pump of the heart, there’s more blood being ejected.” – Dean Perkins

“If you look at any kid, their typical activity profile, how they train or even just how they’re playing, it’s always interval based. So you’ll see they’ll sprint all out, and then they’ll be stopping for a little bit.” – Dean Perkins

“Kids can get away with running and sprinting super fast and not really experience much muscle fatigue, because they don’t have that buildup of the waste products that cause muscle fatigue.” – Dean Perkins

“When training youngsters, it’s good to be a well rounded athlete, so get them involved in as many as many different sports as possible from a young age. But the important point is being physically active from a young age. ” – Dean Perkins

“Most importantly, find what they enjoy the most and what they might be most suited to. So after maturation, after that growth spurt, they might find they wanted to be a basketball player, but it turns out they’re only going to be five foot tall.” – Dean Perkins

“It’s all about making it mentally stimulating and making it as fun as possible, not just getting into the gym and being really serious. Make sure you have a laugh with the kids and make sure that they’re there and enjoying it for them to buy into it.” – Dean Perkins

“You get to a point and your legs are just telling you to stop. But that’s when you’ve got to start using your mind to overcome it and just keep digging in and keep pushing, because the mind will give up before the physiology does.” – Dean Perkins