I became interested in weight training at a young age of 11 because of my older brother who was 16. He set up a little workout space in our parents garage. Watching him workout, getting stronger and gaining muscles made me want to achieve the same results! So here is my story.
At 11 years old, which would have been 1988, on an old black benchpress, some hand weights, concrete filled weights, and cinder blocks as a make shift safety I started my journey. Of course over time I educated myself, by obtaining my personal training certification, to become more efficient in helping myself and others reach their goals. This brings me back to my original thought... how young is to young to start in the fitness world? I will be discussing my thoughts from a trainer, a dad, as well as a role model to other youngsters. Researching this area you will walk away scratching your head as some will say do not do it to the other side of its 100% ok. My opinion is the middle ground. I feel exercise in general has been put on the back burner for all children and because of today’s hectic work schedules parents are less available to participate in outdoor events with their kids. So educating the children on what is healthy should be the priority of any exercise program for young youth. Yes, you can specifically tailor a program for that child sport by focusing on those particular muscle groups to assist that person in becoming better in his/her sport. The area that I am against is heavy powerlifting movements on anyone under the age of 16. So 15 and under I feel it’s best for mostly body weight exercises with the focus on functional movements.
At 16, with proper instructions from a certified trainer to ensure the movements are lifted correctly the child should be able to perform without injuries. Again technique is vital at this stage. Educating the youngster on proper movement cannot be stressed enough. I have seen many high school boys performing almost every movement incorrectly. At this age their Ego is bigger than life itself. Educate the right way at a young age so they have the knowledge to perform the lift. I feel by following these simple suggestions will keep the younger generation more physically fit, educated on weight training, and healthier as adults.