T Nation

14 Year Old Lifting For Football?


My cousin is 14, he plays QB on his school team. i dont know much about football training at all. he is being watched by a lot of highschool coaches already, and is by far the best qb in his league.

he always wants to lift weights, which is great, but what is really necessary for him to be doing? most likely he'll go pretty far with this whole football deal, but by playing qb he wouldnt want to pack on to much upper body things like a big bench right?

of course being 14 thats all he cares about. he is sort of small for his age, but he can throw a football better than me, im 21.
this is more along the lines of what i had in mind for him.

-lots of core work
-sprints/speed work

any advice is much appreciated.
also, should someone at such a young age be staying away from low rep heavy weight? more volume maybe??


Do you have some numbers? It sounds like he never really touched a weight before. If he no experience whatsoever, just put him on Starting Strength. If he already has experience and has some form of "established" 1RM, go with something like 5/3/1.

For both approaches you can easily do speed work before you head into the weight room.


Well I'm no expert but for the physical standpoint I'd recommend

-plenty of agility/speed work, like you mentioned.
-leg work (squats/deads)
-enough back/shoulder work too. of course everyone wants a big bad chest, but I'd say for him pull ups/rows/rotator cuff work/etc is far more important than benching

Qb's aren't there to put up huge #'s. They're there to direct their team (i.e. be SMART--which of course isn't a physical aspect) but he'll need to be mobile in the pocket, and of course being able to run won't hurt. A strong overall body helps so I wouldn't say he should refrain from ANY lift. However, focusing on the mental aspect in addition to the physical would greatly benefit him starting at this age.

As far as heavy weights or not...I'd say let him go as heavy as he can within reason. I'd say he probably shouldn't be doing max singles or doubles all the time, but if he can continue to progress and lift heavier let him do it. Though every so often he could throw in a max effort attempt, just keep him focused on the big picture.

Hard work and dedication helps too...good luck youngin'.


he has never deadlifted. his max bench is 125, and max squat is 135. ill have to figure out his weight, but im pretty sure its around 120 i believe


thanks for the good advice guys. i agree with maybe like 3's for max effort, probably no singles.


Numbers matter...but then again, right now, they don't. HIs height/weight/times/lift #'s will matter near the end of hs. They shouldn't be the focus at 14 years old.

Keep him focused on progressing. Getting smarter, faster, more agile, stronger in all aspects. There's tons of information here on how to train to get bigger and stronger. Take appropriate pieces from where you can and apply it to the QB position...


right. even tho hes a qb, he himself needs to put on some size. i just want to make sure he keeps agility at the top, as his size and strength increase. hes pretty tough for his size, he takes hard hits that could be less effective if he had a little more meat on him.

even lean muscle would help. it will be interesting to see how this goes. ill update in a couple weeks to see what i come up with for him. but damn i wish i started squat/DL when i was 14, not 18. that pisses me off


When he can do 5 sets of 20 push-ups with a minute's rest between sets, 5 set's of 20 rep BW squats with solid consistent form, minutes rest between sets, and 5 set's of 8 pullups, minutes rest between sets, he is probably ready to do barbell stuff.

My 9 yo deadlifts every week 'cause let's face it, kids pick stuff up. Obviously, from a development standpoint he is far behind your cousin but the point I am making is at his age a volume based approach with a focus on basic exercises in which solid, consistent form is developed, is what you are after.

I wouldn't have him do anything more agggressive than 3x8 for quite a while on barbell movements and again, get him to a place where he has good, consistent form.

The BW stuff I mentioned are just kind of rough guidelines I developed when kids that age wanted to start to PL. It varies by kid because some advance quickly and show great muscle control pretty quickly and some take a while until they develop consistent patterns of movement, which is what you are after.

Too many young kids rush into barbell exercises long before they have a decent base level of strength and muscular control on BW exercises, IMO.

Throw in some handstand push-ups, as well. When he can do 3x10 with upright body posture, he's in pretty good shape.

Food for thought.


Ha, don't we all?

But hey 18 is better than 19, 20, 30, never...


okay update.
we've been training hard. yesterday was his 14th birthday, and he gave himself a PR of 205x1 deadlift to celebrate. hes fastest sprinter on the team as of now. i've had most his training revolve around speed drills and core work. plus we hit a 135x2 bench last week. hes looking pretty solid for 115 pounds haha. heres a link to his 205 deadlift last night


imo..posterior chain is key...for sports...

also when i played ball we also did a day of explosion lifts.. like hang cleans, clean jerk..etc..

i would recommend Westside for Skinny bastards by joe defranco... great program for athletes trying to gain strength..


Does he want a strong shoulder? Be able to throw the football 100 yards? ARMBANDS ARMBANDS ARMBANDS!!! Armbands are the secret to throwing in any sport, it gets the elbow and shoulder super strong. Most kids dont get introduced to armbands until they go to college where BOOM they become really good.

If he starts now, by his senior year he will have the strongest arm in the state. I have a friend who played baseball and his dad made him do armbands when he was in sixth grade, everyone thought it was unneccary, until his senior year when he was throwing 94 to 97 and went first round and made well over a million dollars. ARMBANDS!


i agree about the posterior chain for athletes. im trying to introduce him to cleans but hes still a little sloppy. its almost easier to teach a BB snatch than a clean. he's just not understanding how to power it up with his legs let


I've never weight trained for any specific sport but the first thing that came to mind was power cleans, hang cleans, and jerks. Jumping and strong explosive movement has gotta help on some level no matter what sport you're in (ok...besides olympic curling...which I personally don't count as a sport)