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Son's Deadlifting?


#1

My son is 14, gets slowly but surely into weightlifting, loves to workout. Today he was doing dl with 155 pounds for 8x3 with really good form.
I showed a picture to my wife and she is freaking out, saying too much weight, he is too young and he will fuck up his bones / back.
What do you guys say, is she right?


#2

Chris Collucci has written an article and has had some good insight into this, in my opinion. I am sure he will chime in at some point. In the mean time, here is some further reading that might help…

Similar thread: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_beginner/weight_training_for_youth

Collucci Article: https://www.T-Nation.com/training/teaching-a-kid-to-lift


#3

Lifting is a dangerous activity. If you are uncomfortable putting your child in danger, you should not allow them to lift. At the same time though, if you are comfortable letting your child drive at 16 but not comfortable letting them lift at 14, your perspective of danger is most likely skewed.


#4

As long as he and you (OK, mostly you since he’s 14) are careful, she isn’t right. Plenty of champion weightlifters start around that age I think, and they seem physically fine.

Just be aware he’s still growing so that has an effect on his skeletal and muscular structure in terms of how it responds to load compared to an adult.

Maybe taking him along to a good powerlifting or weightlifting gym for some one on one with a coach, preferably one who’s worked with juniors, would be a good idea.


#5

Technique matters if you’re concerned about safety. Some people naturally use their body effectively at a young age (or any age for that matter) and some have to be taught. Just understand the risk and reward. To stay on the safe side, he doesn’t need to go for a true max if you’re both uncertain about technique. Keep in mind that what the lift looks like doesn’t mean he is using all available stabilizers in his body to protect his joints so having a good coach would be useful to offer peace of mind.


#6

[quote]panina wrote:
she is freaking out, saying too much weight, he is too young and he will fuck up his bones / back.
What do you guys say, is she right?[/quote]
Like I wrote in that article Evolv posted, I prefer kids to strengthen their support structures before getting into weight training. But with proper instruction, weight training can absolutely be beneficial for kids. Problems tend to come up when they’re improperly supervised, given bad instructions, and/or pushed too far/too soon.

One of the keypoints when training kids is to never hit muscular failure. Always keeping 2 good reps in the tank will go a very long way in keeping the kiddo healthy, safe, and strong. That means no grinding reps, no finishers of “max reps til you can’t move”, no reason to get loose with form ever never ever never never.

Good kid’s deadlift training:

Bad kid’s deadlift training:

More bad kid’s deadlift training, posted on Youtube by his proud coach. Ugh:


#7

Lots of kids hurt their backs doing gymnastics. I know of several who have needed knee surgery from playing AYSO soccer. I’ve seen similar injuries in young girls taking ballet.

Honestly, I think weight training when done correctly, is less likely to cause injury than some of the sports where kids are changing directions and twisting at the knee, hyperextending the back, etc…

I recently went to a PLing meet where there was a whole team of young kids from the San Diego area lifting. I believe the youngest girl competing was 12 or 13. They came with coaches, and whole families were there. It was such a supportive, wholesome atmosphere for kids athletics, IMO. And they had great form. It might help to see if you can find a club like that in your area. I’d be less concerned about my daughter hurting her back doing that, than in gymnastics.

Families training together is a great way to bond with your kids, and teach them some healthy habits. Really, when your son is a teenager, anything that you can enjoy doing together is a win. The wife too.


#8

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]panina wrote:
she is freaking out, saying too much weight, he is too young and he will fuck up his bones / back.
What do you guys say, is she right?[/quote]

One of the keypoints when training kids is to never hit muscular failure. Always keeping 2 good reps in the tank will go a very long way in keeping the kiddo healthy, safe, and strong. That means no grinding reps, no finishers of “max reps til you can’t move”, no reason to get loose with form ever never ever never never.

[/quote]

I’d think this is really good advice, Chris. Staying in higher rep ranges where form can be really nice, and staying away from heavy singles and triples would probably go a long way toward reducing injury risk.

Also, I was thinking there’s generally less risk of injury when lifting at home with your dad, than when young men are horsing around during football practice trying to best each other.

About the young team of kids I saw competing, they weren’t doing any really ugly lifts. I saw some knee cave on squats in one of the girls, but mostly they weren’t lifting weights so heavy that they sacrificed form.

It would be interesting to know the incidence of back injuries in sedentary people, as compared to athletes or weight lifters specifically. It seems like a lot of people with bad backs are overweight people who mostly move from the couch to the fridge.


#9

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Lifting is a dangerous activity. If you are uncomfortable putting your child in danger, you should not allow them to lift. At the same time though, if you are comfortable letting your child drive at 16 but not comfortable letting them lift at 14, your perspective of danger is most likely skewed.[/quote]

Life is dangerous. To quote a wise man:

On the other hand, people die walking down the street or driving to work everyday. Thousands die from bad life choices that could easily be prevented on a weekly basis.


#10

I really appreciate every response. The weightlifting coach is a good idea, so is probably staying away from triples.
I always tell him to check his ego at the door, but you know how it is when you start putting your first 45’s on the bar :slight_smile:

Also the reference to injuries in other sports is very valid, have not thought about that yet.

Thanks again for your time.


#11

[quote]Powerpuff wrote:
Lots of kids hurt their backs doing gymnastics. I know of several who have needed knee surgery from playing AYSO soccer. I’ve seen similar injuries in young girls taking ballet.[/quote]
Yep. Reminds me of what Mark Rippetoe said:
"I have a bar in my gym that weighs 11 pounds. I can make that bar weigh 12 pounds next time. And then I can make it weigh 13 pounds, and 80 pounds, and finally 245 pounds. I can make my barbell directly scalable to the ability of an eight year old kid.

Conversely, you put that same eight year old, 75-pound kid on a soccer field and have him run head-on into another 75-pound kid, is that event scalable? Uh… no. “Hey, undeveloped epiphyses. Still open epiphyses!” And then put cleats on him, have him spin and kick and get hit in the knees.

Yet, how many orthopedic surgeons and pediatricians will recommend against kids playing soccer, versus recommending against kids participating in barbell training programs? Doesn’t make any sense, does it?"

Also, a quick note about not hitting failure. That doesn’t necessarily mean to only train with moderate to higher reps. Like we saw in the video of Wendler training his son, it’s fine to have kids (eventually) lift in the 2-5 rep range. They should just be using a weight that’s closer to their 4-8 rep max for it.


#12

Agree with what’s been said here already. If you have concerns about form, and aren’t sure if you’re qualified (or his future coach is qualified) to assess his lifting properly, you can always post a video on here for feedback. We may see something you’re missing that could lead to problems. Or we can be here for reassurance.


#13

Flip, thanks for the offer. I take a video tomorrow.


#14

Any critique is welcome!


#15

And this one.


#16

I have a tough time doing Internet form checks, even with video, but my two cents:

Deadlift: Get the hips lower at the start. Flat back flat back flat back flat back! Ditch the belt.

Squat: Set up the bar one peg lower to get into a tighter start position, as it is now, he couldn’t squat with a low bar position even if he wanted to. Remember hips move first, not knees. Second rep looked better than the first. Again, ditch the belt.

Nothing wrong with using a belt under some circumstances, but it’s not necessary and could potentially be “confusing” for a beginner. Focus on keeping/building a tight and strong core. At this point, he doesn’t need the “distraction” of learning how to push out against the belt for extra support and certainly doesn’t/shouldn’t need it for safety. A while down the road, think about re-introducing the belt.


#17

In the deadlift video, notice how the lower half of his back is bent one way at the start of the lift, and bent another way at the top of the lift.

While I won’t speak for the safety side of it, I would suggest keeping the torso rigid through the whole lift. Brace the abs (like if you were going to take a punch), and tighten the lats, and keep them that way through the whole lift. That will make it easier to transfer force to the bar.


#18

I don’t often disagree with Chris, and I’m only partially disagreeing with him here…

I like belts as a training aid for proper bracing, BECAUSE you have something to brace against. I think it can be used to minimize confusion, actually. If you’re trying to explain to someone how to properly breathe into their belly, it makes sense that they’ll understand it more if they have something to push against. They can feel it. I honestly don’t know any better way to teach it.

So what you can do to teach proper bracing/breathing, would be to practice with a belt just standing, not lifting weights or anything. You teach him to expand his midsection to fill the belt. Then when he goes to lift the weight, he doesn’t need to actually wear the belt, he can just employ the same technique.

As a side note, I can’t see the videos. Obviously a problem on my end since others have seen them.

Other side note: I might just make a video to explain what I just typed. I’m not sure how clear I was, but I can demonstrate it pretty easily.


#19

The video shows up in both Chrome and IE on my Windows laptop. It doesn’t show up in Firefox or on my iPhone.


#20

Is he only wearing socks? If so, it’ll be a good idea to get shoes with good grip. A large amount of lateral stability can be generated in the hips and this is reacted by friction with the floor.

For the deadlift, a slightly more neutral head position might be better - that means he has to learn to pack his neck, almost like crushing a ball between his chin and neck. Make sure he’s firing his lats hard if he isn’t already. His core area looks fine in both lifts. Post more videos as the weight increases or if his form deviates from the above.

Edit: The shoes looks more like all black chucks or vans after watching a few more times so disregard the first comment.