T Nation

Weightlifting for Kids

(I guess this goes in this forum??)

OK, now both my kids (ages 13 and 17) want to start lifting. I’ve trained a fair number of athletes in their late teens and early 20’s so the older son does not present much of an issue.

I have never trained anyone as young as my youngest. Are there any good programs, caveats, bits of advice etc. to give? He’s a pretty strong kid already and adult sized ( 5’ 8" now and will probably top 6’ 4" if his brother is any indication).

My concerns are amount of loading on growing bones and joints, as well as programs that will keep up his interest. If he sticks with training regularly – and he might just end up as a training partner like my oldest is getting to be – then this would be really great. But he is 13.

Thanks in Advance!

– jj

Go ahead- it is most likely the jumping, loading, change of direction, etc they do in their sport is more “traumatic” to their growth plates than the weightlifting. Don’t lift max weights and make sure their form is right on.

There is no correlation to weight lifting stunting his growth on bones and joints. May on this site can agree on this.

I would get your youngest to focus on the big three lifts of deads, bench, and squats. These three are pretty much carry over exercises that he is going to use the rest his weight lifting life. Teach good form more than going heavy.

He is pretty tall for a 13 year old and if he reaches 6’4" I’ve read that back squatting for tall people can be hard for them. If indeed he might get to become 6’4" I would teach him how to from squat as well. Get him used to the bar being on his shoulders and the discomfort of it. If you teach him how to overcome pain (not going to be a lot) now, he will know how to over come it and even become a better weight lifter/athlete/person in the future.

As well for young people they are still really trying to figure out what their bodies are capable of and how it moves. That is why they should play as much sports as they can in their childhood then introduce them into weight lifting. But hey they aren’t my kids, just saying what I would do if I had kids.

Again just my thinking and advice.

i started lifting when i was 12
im 6foot two or 6foot 3
genetics will determine how tall he is not lifting

I started lifting a year and a half ago and have probably grown about 4-5 inches since then (6’ now). Even this summer when I started seriously lifting (not just upper body like when I started), eventhough I started doing fairly heavy squats/deads for my bodyweight I have grown about an inch and a half since then. I think it’s the opposite way and weight training actually encourages growth, at least for me.

This is going from memory, so don’t ask me to quote sources, but the bulgarians and russians used this age (12-14) to transfer kids in the athletic sector of the economy from doing a bunch of GPP to actually using a barbell and weights. So 13 is a good time to start lifting weights. Not really too much before. Just right.

IIRC again, they’d use higher reps and put emphasis on proper form. They’d save lifting max poundages until they were 15-16. Also, instructors would kind of have to force light progress. Have the youth do sets of ten, then instruct them to gradually do more, and then point out the progress to them (so like, 3x20 this week, 3x22 next week, 3x25 the next week, and then point out how much their legs have developed- like a 20% increase). This provides a lasting source of motivation after the ‘fun’ of being in a weightroom wears off.

(I just realized I was thinking ‘squats’ in the above example, and totally didn’t even recognize it. You probably were too. LOL)

Oh, and get him benching. Squats and milk too, but benching is probably going to be his life for the next two years, and if it gets him in the weightroom, that’s probably okay.