T Nation

Can Teens Use Low Reps?

Hi.

I’m 15, and have been lifting weights for a few months now.

I’ve discussed this subject with my local gym’s trainers, and they think that I should not use low reps with heavy weights, or real strength programs, because as a kid, my muscles are not grown enough, nor my hormones, so I’m better not to do under 8 or 6 reps per set. I suppose it’s better for my health, but still, I’d like to get big strength improvements.

What do you think about it? Could I, as a 15 years old guy, get into a good strength and hypertrophy program using really low reps, something like Chad Waterbury’s 10x3?

Thanks for your answers.

yes

Ok, so it doesn’t matter if I am not very grown up?

NO!!! It will stunt your growth =) heheheheh

I know it will not stunt my growth, but because that my muscles are not developped it should be bad to do big trainings with really heavy loads.

Yes. What your trainers are smoking when they say you don’t have the hormones, I have no idea. When I was fifteen I was so raging with testosterone I wish I had utilized it more.

Your muscles growing, for the most part, are not related to your bone growth. If you want them to get bigger, hold onto your hat, you have to work them! Same for strength.

Ask those trainers why Olympic lifters, who often start much younger than you, can do work in the triple and single range and not have problems.

A rep range just means how much of an effort it is.
So a 1 rep means it’s basically an all out max effort. Last i checked, you can do this regardless of age.
I’m sure when you were 5 or so you were wrestling with your dad and pushing as much as you could and he wouldn’t budge.
That’s the same damn thing as doing your 1 rep max.
You’re fine.

What should I do? When I finish my program, should I just talk about it to the trainer so he designs me a really big program or just pick one up on this site, or even design my own, backed up by many articles on this site?

starting strength by rippetoe

ditto

It depends if you have started puberty yet, if so which is most likely, then there shouldn’t be any issues with lifting heavy as long as you get your technique down.

Have at it, and keep at it.

OK, so, when my program is done, I will forget the coaches’ advice and just grab a program on T-Nation?

do starting strength by mark Rippetoe, there’s a thread on the beginners forum called Starting Strength: The Guide, do the program from the front page there and you’ll be set

i was 16 when i started doing mostly singles and triples, and hell i got strong as hell for my age and highschool, lol ppl on the football team all the time tell me they wish they could max what ido (its not even that much, sad)

SO DO IT AND GET BIG

i would incorperate some hypertrophy things as well so u grow and get stronger, mixing is nice

[quote]bignate wrote:
i was 16 when i started doing mostly singles and triples, and hell i got strong as hell for my age and highschool, lol ppl on the football team all the time tell me they wish they could max what ido (its not even that much, sad)

SO DO IT AND GET BIG

i would incorperate some hypertrophy things as well so u grow and get stronger, mixing is nice[/quote]

2x same deal.

One of the coaches kept hassling me about joining when I was lifting.

Team sports aren’t really for me though.

My concern with some of the advice that people are giving you here is that it is coming from their POV and is based on their experience.

Safety - do you lift correctly (appropriate form and breathing)? We can’t tell from your words.

Structure - can your body handle what you throw at it? Are your bones strong? Are you tendons strong enough to support the movements? Are you ligaments strong enough to hold your joints together? At 15, this would be my concern having never seen you lift and given that you say you’ve been at if for a few months.

Recruitment potential - can you fire the primary muscles? Many people can pull heavy but still fail to recruit their qlutes effectively. This may shift the load onto muscles that really shouldn’t be working during the movement or during a particular range of motion.

Structurally balance - can you engage the structural support muscles throughout the entire set? E.g. if your rotator cuff muscles are not up to task, there’s a good chance that the load vector will move into a biomechanically poor position increasing the likelihood of injury.

I’m going to say that the trainer at your local gym may be in a better position to answer your question than us because they actually see what you are doing - they may have picked up on the errors you are making and be giving you the best advice. We can’t see you so our “yes” or “no” really isn’t worth all that much.

Lifting is a life long thing so take the time when you are new at it to make sure you are able to do things correctly. Worst case you are ready now and spend a few month improving things that don’t really need it; best case you save yourself a serious injury and start at it hard when you’re 16.

Ok, so when my program is done, I’m gonna start lifting heavy, doing squats, etc.

Thanks for your answers, and if you’d like to add anything go ahead.

I’m fifteen, and I use lower reps; no problems here, unless I am a dumbass and cause them myself.

And remember, technique over weight.

[quote]skw wrote:
starting strength by rippetoe[/quote]

seconded.
look into this program

I think lower reps for younger people is actually better. you get the training in but you can also keep the attention on the task at hand.

I know when I was 15 I got bored with weights if I was just pumping out rep after rep
5-8 reps and I was sore still but wasnt a long boring day.

[quote]905Patrick wrote:
My concern with some of the advice that people are giving you here is that it is coming from their POV and is based on their experience.

Safety - do you lift correctly (appropriate form and breathing)? We can’t tell from your words.

Structure - can your body handle what you throw at it? Are your bones strong? Are you tendons strong enough to support the movements? Are you ligaments strong enough to hold your joints together? At 15, this would be my concern having never seen you lift and given that you say you’ve been at if for a few months.

Recruitment potential - can you fire the primary muscles? Many people can pull heavy but still fail to recruit their qlutes effectively. This may shift the load onto muscles that really shouldn’t be working during the movement or during a particular range of motion.

Structurally balance - can you engage the structural support muscles throughout the entire set? E.g. if your rotator cuff muscles are not up to task, there’s a good chance that the load vector will move into a biomechanically poor position increasing the likelihood of injury.

I’m going to say that the trainer at your local gym may be in a better position to answer your question than us because they actually see what you are doing - they may have picked up on the errors you are making and be giving you the best advice. We can’t see you so our “yes” or “no” really isn’t worth all that much.

Lifting is a life long thing so take the time when you are new at it to make sure you are able to do things correctly. Worst case you are ready now and spend a few month improving things that don’t really need it; best case you save yourself a serious injury and start at it hard when you’re 16. [/quote]

True, but those topics are true to any lifter. Physiologically there isn’t a reason that he shouldn’t be able to lift heavy right now givin good technique. I am not disagreeing with you, just elaborating; you are exactly right.