Lifting weights is a great way to enhance your overall fitness, gain strength, and perform better athletically. But when it comes to weight lifting, can you be too young to start? People of all ages can lift weights, even younger children.
So am I too young to start lifting weights? The short answer to this question is no, probably not. If you are old enough to look up the answer to this question, then you probably have the necessary maturity to start lifting weights. This is a crucial point: lifting weights safely requires that you are aware of the dangers, know how to pace yourself, and are willing to learn proper technique.
As mentioned there are a few dangers to lifting weights at an early age, as younger people may not possess the necessary knowledge to do it right, so keep reading. In this article, we’ll examine how a young person can start lifting weights, what age you can get started, and what the pitfalls to avoid are.
Now, a person of just about any age who is willing to take this into consideration is a good candidate to start lifting weights. Later in this article, I will give you the information that you need to start lifting weights safely, and make your weight training work for you, no matter your age.
Should a 12-Year-Old Lift Weights?
This is a tricky question. 12 is a transitional age, where different young people’s bodies will look and work very differently. You may have already gone through puberty; you may have experienced your first adult growth spurt…or you may still be waiting for all of this.
As a 12 years-old who has reached puberty, you can start training weights safely, provided that you are careful and learn proper form. After puberty, your muscles will start developing a lot more, and weight training can take them in the right direction. You still need to be careful, but it is generally safe to start a weight training program at that age.
Now, if you haven’t reached puberty yet, the story looks a little different. You will still be growing, and your muscles, bones, and cartilage will be too weak to handle heavyweights. Putting too much pressure on them could cause long-term damage, which you don’t want. This doesn’t mean you can’t train weights, however.
But you should be careful only to lift light weights, even if you feel capable of lifting more. Remember: even if your muscles can handle lifting heavier weights, your joints, tendons, and bones may not be. So always ask your trainer or coach what your limits are, and lift lighter than you think you should.
Does Lifting Weights Stunt Growth?
Although weight lifting used to be considered dangerous for children, by doctors who thought it would stunt their growth, recent studies have shown that this is not the case. When performed correctly, weight lifting doesn’t impact the development of a child, except in giving him or her stronger muscles! So what’s the danger?
It’s easy to lift weights incorrectly, which can result in injury, torn muscles, or a heavy impact on the bones. And that can stunt the growth of a child. So be very careful: weight lifting won’t stunt your growth if you do it right but try to go too far, and you could be creating lasting problems for yourself.
At What Age Can I Start Weight Training?
You can start lifting weights from the age of 7, though you will be able to train properly only after you have reached puberty. Children below the age of puberty can lift weights but only under close supervision, and being careful not to lift too much.
That being said, weight lifting can prove very beneficial to your fitness from the age of 7 onward, so as long as you are careful, there is no reason to wait until you are an adult to lift weights.
How Should a Young Person Lift Weights?
As a younger person, you should learn to lift weights with proper form. To that end, it is imperative that you practice strength exercises with your bodyweight before adding in the weights. Do bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, and planks until you get your fitness to the right level.
Then, you can start practicing weight lifting exercises like squats or deadlifts without the weights, or using only the weight of the bar. This will help you practice proper form and focus on activating the correct muscles. Only after you have thoroughly mastered that step should you move on to the next, which is lifting light weights.
As a general rule, you’ll want to lift lighter weights with a greater number of repetitions. Don’t just try to lift the heaviest weight that you can. Instead, choose a weight you are very comfortable with, and try to increase your number of repetitions. This will ensure that you increase your strength without risking lifting something too heavy for you.
And weight lifting is only half of the story. You should be very focused on your warm-ups and cool-downs, as performing these correctly is one of the best ways to avoid injuries. Warm-up effectively with some cardio exercises, dynamic stretches, or by playing other sports.
Cool down with long stretching sessions, making sure to spend time in relaxing your muscles. This is important because it will ensure that you don’t get tight muscles or tendons, which in turn can lead to injuries.
Finally, it is important that you have a training program that takes your age into consideration. Don’t try to move too fast, or to lift heavier weights right away. It’s good to be starting weightlifting young, but remember—slow and steady wins the race!
How Can I Learn to Lift Weights as a Young Person?
When first starting to lift weights as a young person, it is imperative to have a trainer or coach who can guide and instruct you. You may feel that looking up tutorials on YouTube or reading blogs on weight lifting gives you all the information you need, but the stakes are much higher when you are younger. Lifting weights wrong at your age could result in lasting damage, not to mention you are much more likely to injure yourself.
If you are part of a sports team, then your coach will be the perfect person to ask about lifting weights. Ask them for guidance on how to start, and they may even be able to show you the moves you need to learn. If they are skeptical about your desire to start lifting weights, remind them that you feel mature enough and that you will always put your safety first.
If you don’t have a coach whom you can ask, a trainer at a local gym may be able to teach you. Keep in mind that many people will be hesitant to teach weight lifting to a child, but if you show them your maturity, and find the right person, you’ll be able to learn from a true professional, which is essential.
Under no circumstances, start lifting weights by yourself, or under the supervision of someone like an older sibling. You should have someone with a deep understanding of anatomy and sports science to show you the way. Remember: lifting weights is all about proper form, and you can’t expect to learn that from a YouTube video.
Should I Start Training Competitively at a Young Age?
Lifting weights for a competition is not recommended for younger people, especially those who haven’t reach puberty. Before puberty, you should only be lifting weights to improve your strength within reason, and to get better at other sports. Lifting the heaviest weights that you can shouldn’t be a priority. It shouldn’t even be attempted.
Practicing weight lifting for a competition can encourage you to push yourself to the limits. While this works great for many low-risk sports like swimming or gymnastics, weight lifting is a different story. As a younger person, you will want to keep the weights low and lift less than you can. Training for a competition encourages you to do just the opposite, which is why it isn’t recommended for younger people.
If you are old enough to read this article, you are old enough to lift weights. But weight training may look a little different to you than it does to your older friends or siblings.
You will have to wait until you completely master proper form before you can perform the weight lifting moves with actual weights, and you’ll want to be under constant adult supervision. This is because lifting weights without the proper technique or the proper form can have dramatic results at your age.
You could become injured easily, prevent your bones and joints from developing properly, and even stunt your growth. So always put your safety first, and don’t try to make weightlifting into a competition. Below the age of puberty, it should only be used to improve your strength and fitness—not to break any records!
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