T Nation

14 Y/O T-Nation Program


So my girlfriend's here with me, and she just told me her youngest brother wants to start lifting. He's 14. He's a sprinter and ran in middle school. The coaches didn't have them doing weights yet. Come indoor track next winter, I know the coaches will have their own lifting planned for the kids. He's going to the same high school I went to. I would start him off with lighter loads in the 8-15 rep range like Eric Cressey and other coaches recommend. After some weeks of this, are T-Nation programs appropriate? I lifted at that age, but I was a distance runner/endurance athlete at the time. And it was circuit training and not that rigorous. I know my sprinter friends had pretty tough and comprehensive in the later years, but I'm not sure what they were doing that young. Any T-Nation program recommendations.


i think after starting him off light, just let him go heavy on any of the programs from the site. i know i started training at about 12....and i also know that just about everyone wishes they could have their first year of training back to put the knowledge they now have into use. do him a favor and dont let him be one of those people. maybe heavy lifting might not be good for younger kids, but thats just my humble opinion


I definitely like the idea of starting him of in the over-8 rep range. From there, the thing to remember is no muscle failure ever, never, ever, ever, never. That's one of the leading factors which can contribute to the "weights stunt your growth" semi-myth. No failure means no problems.

With that in mind, my instinct is to go either with Dan John One lift a day, for it's insane simplicity, or a bastardized version of Waterbury's next Big 3 (bastardized in the sense that, instead of 3-5x3-5, I'd start at 3x8 on the moves, and drop a rep or 2 each week, until you get to 3-5).

No matter what you go with, the rules are:
- No muscular failure.
- Compound exercises are like water, more is always better.
- Recovery is key; you may need to reel in his enthusiasm.
- Technique above all else. If he wants to cheat a movement, he doesn't get to play with the iron.
- Full range of motion, at all times. Squats are deeeeeep. Pull-ups are dead-hang. And push-ups are nose to the floor (yes, he should do push-ups).

Let us know how he progresses.


Thanks guys. We appreciate it. Minotaur, I'm glad you posted that about failure. I didn't realize that. I probabably would've started him with failure the first few weeks to teach him intensity and to learn what near failure was for the rest of future training. I've been training my sister for her wedding, and this is how I initially trained her. But she's grown, so it's obviously a non-issue. Glad I posted this. My instincts would have been wrong. Now it's all good. Thanks for the program suggestions too.


I'd also go for a lot of bodyweight exercises. The ability to handle your own bodyweight is essential in sports.

I've alway been fond of the pyramid programs (pushups for example, starting at one rep and going up to ten and then back down for a total of 100 or however much you want.).


I like the idea of using Cressey's methods and throwing in some Dan John.
Good luck to him.


Thanks, Mike and Naiy.