T Nation

Training Pre-Teen Girl in Weightlifting

My daughter, age 9, is jacked about learning the clean, jerk and snatch. She saw some youtube videos last winter, and was hooked. I only let her train with me 2 days a week, she also in dance team.

For learning the lifts, we started with a broom handle from the 2nd pull (hip crease), using the “Pendlay” method. She now has the power versions down, including a 26kg PwrCn + PwrJ at 35kg bodyweight.

However, she is a former gymnast and very posterior-chain dominant. She struggles to get into position for a deeper catch. She had trouble maintaining position in a full squat with 20kg, so I regressed the movement to body weight box squats, and then goblets from an 11" box. I am focusing on getting right firing sequence for a solid squat, not worried so much about muscle at this stage, given her age.

At this stage, I am concerned about her getting too ingrained with a hamstring-dominant Cn and Sn she’ll have to unlearn later as her squat catch up.

If you had a pre-teen female learning weightlifting, how would you approach it? Does this seem like a sound approach? Would you require her to be able to do the full lifts with a very light load, then increase load until they match her PC/PSn before allowing the power versions in training?

Also, how would you program to address weakness in this type of trainee? Bodyweight Squats? Lunges?

I’m not CT and I am interested to hear his answer as well! I have to ask though, why you are using the box squat? Am I correct in thinking it is a powerlifting style box squat sitting back (regardless of stance width being narrow or wide) or is it just a depth gauge for her? It seems the like the most posterior dominant version of the squat that you could do, kind of odd for a girl who struggles with that.

It is so badass that she is interested in the sport! That’s just plain awesome.