T Nation

Small Training

I have a 14 year old little brother that would like to start weight training. I want to develop a good program that will really help him. I remember lifting when I was young but my program was sporadic and terrible set up. I look back and know I could have made a lot better gains had I known what I was doing and set up a good program. Is 14 too young to start lifting. I was thinking about 3 sets of 10 with light weight on large body parts. Anyway your help would be greatly apreciated. Thanks.

I started training when I was 14. I played football and my training was sport specific. I believe is developing a solid base for 4 yrs before attempting bodybuilding routines. 3 sets of 10 is the worst lamest set bracket (read the poliquin principles). At 14 I was 5’8" 150 lbs when I left high school I was 205. I powerlifted concentrating on Squats, cleans, Deadlifts, bench in that order of importance. I trained 4 days a week monday and tuesday were lighter thursday and friday were heavy days it was modeled after the Nebraska Cornhuskers strength and conditioning program. I know all of you are like ohh light days never, I guarantee you my progress never stopped during that time always concentrating on getting stronger and more powerful. I never trained arms (rarely during those years but I had huge arms. Powercleans gave my arms all the size.
buy the nebraska book complet conditioning for football to check out some of the programs. Trust me is powerlifting works.

14 is not too young. If you can get him to follow a sensible program, he should be able to build a nice base at that age. As far as designing a program for him, keep it simple. Basic exercises (squat, bench, deadlift, etc.)done on a three or four day schedule should do nicely. Just make sure he doesn’t fall into a high volume, upper body only routine. Too many kids make that mistake (I know I did). Concentrate on proper form more than weight. As a young beginner, it’s more important that he learns how to workout first. Check out your local library or bookstore. There are numerous books on beginning lifting.

I started training my younger brother at fourteen. He would half ass it for a while. Go sometimes, wait a week or two go again. SO I told him to let me know when he was ready to be serious and I would help. Well a little over a year later he was. I spent six months teaching him various exercises, form, etc. The started training him seriously. Over the past year his squat’s gone from 135 to 325. And he’s a big ass senior in HS. Still not as big as me though, hehe. I can’t give all the info.

Yeah, everyone here has said almost exactly what I can say. Basic pressing pulling and high explosive movements. Keep him away from the pretty shaping exercises and have him work out 3 days a week. I powerlifted in high school and was 230 lbs going into my senior year. Get him powerlifting and have him build a base while his hormones are raging…he’ll thank you for it later.

Just to add another two cents and echo what ekul said. Keep stuff basic: chins, dips, squats (full), DLs, Romanian DLs, some leg curls (but forget extensions and/or leg presses), (Personally I would recommend) some pressing movements with DBs using varied bench angles, some ab and calf training and a little direct arm work because frankly it’s fun!

I am 15 years old and have been lifting for a bout a year and a half. My first year I didn’t train as intense. Instead I built a strong foundation. I used basic movements, flat bench press, flyes, pullups, Ez bar curls, Skullcrushers, and lateral raises. Soon I started adding different exercises to change it up. Then I started training legs, Squats, extensions, leg curls.
My best advice for your lil bro is:
: Don’t do upper body only, if you do, your legs will always be playing catchup.
: Pay attention to more experienced lifters that is where I learned most of my stuff.
: And most important EAT! If you want gains you have to fuel the fire.

Your brother is at an excellent age to start lifting. As everyone else has said start with and stick with the basics bench, squat, deadlift, military press, rows, and if you want try some olympic lifting. Though I personaly don’t find higher reps as effective for my own goals I do think they are good for beginers because you need to learn good form when you are starting out and your body learns the moves better with more reps(or more sets of lower reps). Do everything in good strict form, in the long run it will save you many injuries and make you that much stronger.

Okay I have to throw my 2 cents in about training young people. Keep in mind this e-mail deals with weight training only and is not sport specific. Also keep in mind this is strictly a theory and a lot of factors would have to be right but I think it could happen I truly beleive the two most important things you can teach your brother are proper form and patience. I would also recommend reading Brawn to fully understand this. I would start your brother off with a very light managble weight that he can handle at a moderate to slow tempo and add very little weight each week(1-2lbs bench) and make sure his diet is good. I know this may sound odd but think about it a 1-2 pounds will add up in a few years. Assuming a 1.5 lb average increase and working out 40 weeks a year in 4 years(18)you added 240lbs to his bench. Even if he starts with the bar you are up around 300lbs with strict form not bad for a 18 year old kid. Now you may want to very his workouts a little, but it would be fun to see what would happen.