T Nation

Too Young To Lift


My son just turned 13 and has been strength training for about a year now.

He usually works out with a personal trainer 4-5 days per week (Friend of the family so it doesn't cost us anything)

His daily routine usually goes something like this:

10 min - Ladders, hurdles and box hops followed by 20 push ups and 40 crunches.

40 min - circuit training, 3-4 exercises at a time. 2 sets of 20 or more reps. Usually 2-3 circuits

10 min - Ladders and hurdles followed by 20 push ups and 40 crunches.

My question concerns the circuits. A sample circuit might be: 1)Seated row, 2)Walking lunges with dumbells 3)Overhead tricep extension and 4) some form of abdominal work. The exercises are always varied and I believe most involve compound movements.

He loves to work out but I have worried that he is starting to young.

Anyone have any thought on this subject?


do you have any stats on your son ? ie height , weight , his shape.

and second, how have he improved over the last year?

Third, is he haveing pain?
That shoud do it for now


5' Tall and 93lbs (Very lean)

The improvements have been incredible. Although it's tough to gage at this age when they are becoming naturally stronger anyway.

No pain at all.

He wants to start lifting heavier loads. Currently my guess would be that he lifts approx. 60% of his 1RM.


To be honest, as long as your friend doesn't get stupid with his training, 13/14/15 are great ages to start out.


True. He will be miles ahead of everyone else by the time he hits college if he has the genetics. The only thing that held me back was access to weights on a regular basis and my food intake. All I had at the age of 13 was a pair of screw on weights from Target that only went up to about 20lbs.





Yup agreed and even earlier. By this age he could be well into a SPORT. Football, basketball, etc and weight lifting when I was there was part of the routine.

Feed the kid a ton of good food and let him loose.

Sure be safe but injuries happen ANYWHERE. Hell he could get injured falling in the shower, or carpaltunal from playing a ton of x-box. Kids and even adults get hurt its part of life.


When I started lifting (age 14) my younger cousin, who was nine years old wanted to also but his parents wouldn't allow him (lifting weights stunts your growth and destroys your joints were the two big excuses I remember them using). Anyways he became a calisthenic madman and lifted some light aerobic dumbells furiously for like two years before his parents grudgingly permitted him to lift using barbells, plates, etc., all the while giving me the evil glare for because it was obviously all my fault.

He is almost three inches taller than his dad and grandfather, great grandfather and his older brother who started lifting at the same time that I did. He is naturally lean but when he was 17 and weighed 170-175 lbs at 6'3" he was a hell of a lot more developed than I was and looked bigger even though I outweighed him by twenty pounds at the time (at 6'and almost as lean)

The difference between his development and his older brother's is like night and day also, even his bones and joints are bigger. (I've read scientific articles indicating that strenous exercise before puberty has a greater effect on bone density/joint size and strength than exercise at/after puberty) He doesn't lift much anymore but keeps himself fit. No joint pain and is probably the healthiest person I know.
As a side note, I found it deeply ironic how into his lifting his parents got later when he won a state record in Bench at 16, made the local paper, etc.


I started wrestling early- 10yrs. old(actualy a little late around here), and lifting free weights at about 12.
Stuck with it through everything else that life had to offer.
Now I'm in better physical and emotional shape than just about everyone I grew up with. Aside from the physical benefits, the lessons learned under the bar are priceless and have good cary over into all aspects of life.
Probably one of the most beneficial things I've ever done.