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Question about weight training and age......

my brother is 12. turning 13 in 3 months. can he start lifting yet? he wants to start, but he hasn't had his growth spurt yet. i dont want him to be short all his life could he start lifting?

he is doing it mainly for hypertrophy so he wont be doing like 2 rep squats and what not. most are like 12+ reps. im sure he will do some lower reps and some higher, but it wont be based on pure low reps.

This is a great question, and one that I get all the time from parents. Is my child to young to lift weights?

I don't feel that any child is to young for exercise. Children are more suceptible to injury on the field (in a game) than in the weightroom (provided there is a competent coach teaching technique). In fact, weightlifting has a very low injury rate compared to other sports (gymnastics being one of if not the highest!).

Whenever you look at other sports, you have to remeber, that kids are going to go out and play as hard as they can (100% intensity). How many times have you heard a pee-wee football coach tell the kids to take it easy and not play to rough? You don't! Unfortunatly, when you get hit in the game, gravity is very unforgiving and injuries are usually right around the corner.

The great thing about the weight room though, is that we can take the movements and slow them down and slow down the intensity to a level that is manageable for the youth to learn and execute. At a young age, children need to be focusing on the basic things. Basic movements, developing into techniqcally proficient lifters and enhancing their work capacity and flexibility. I can't tell you how many 14 year olds I have seen that have a very low work capacity, limited flexibility and can't perform 20 push ups! That is totally unacceptable. I would start your brother out with basic body weight exercise (push ups, pull ups, squats, lunges, etc), a good flexibility program and some sort of program to enhance work capacity (things like shuttle runs or short sprints are fun. Dodge ball is a great game for kids and it teaches them to be very athletic). At times it may be hard for him to keep focused (kids have a short attention span. this is why things like dodge bal work well), so keep him moving. A set of push ups, a set of squat, a set of planks, rest, repeat. You can use modifidied tempo (slower eccentrics or isometric holds) to help coach the movement and work on developing his technique. As he starts to get stronger, you can start to add some weight and just follow the same protocol.....start simple, work on developing technique and ability, progress slowly. If you do that and he can stay consistent, his fitness levels should be pretty high as he gets into high school.

Also, if you can, try and find a professional to really coach him on exercise technique. If you are unsure on how to do something or cue something, I would be very careful with it. You need to have someone that is qualified to help teach him properly.


A comment from my last entry:

Patrick, you should consider writing a book as well!! I know it would contain a lot of solid information for everyone to benefit from!

Thank you. I appreciate you reading my blog and giving such kind words. I would love to write a book. Maybe sometime down the road. There is really so much to talk about. That would be a pretty long book! haha


IF you do decide to write a book, please write one for the normal end user in mind, not one for trainers/coaches. :)

Cheers dude, keep up the good work. ;)

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