It is very common for a young boy to want to start lifting weights. In most cases it actually has very little to do with getting shape or feeling better. It has much to do with mimicking dad or, as a boy gets older, looking better, looking more masculine, and looking more attractive to the opposite sex.
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However, the question that comes up often is what age should a boy start lifting weights and what are the reasons for and against when it comes to young boy’s weight lifting. As a child's body is still developing, safety needs to be a primary concern. Also, talk to your child's doctor about any exercise program they participate in.
When is it too young for a boy to start lifting weights?
While this question of how young is too young to begin weight lifting or strength training was not something that was being asked just a few short years ago, today, it is a very viable question. A boy wanting to look muscular is nothing new, but with fitness being so popular these days, it is little wonder why there is this growing debate over when is the right age for a boy to start lifting weights. However, a short and to the point answer is that a boy should not start lifting weights before he hits puberty, usually around 12 to 13 years of age.
The main reason for this is simply due to a developmental difference in boys who have hit puberty and those boys that have not. Pre-pubescent boys simply do not have the amount of natural steroid production that boys who have arrived at puberty have. This steroid production accounts for many things, but one thing it does is it allows boys to have the ability to build muscle.
Some studies have hinted at the fact that pre-adolescent boys can benefit from weight lifting to gain strength. However, because of the lack of naturally produced steroids, it is impossible for those boys to gain any mass or muscular definition outside of what they are genetically predisposed to develop.
Why would a boy want to start weight lifting?
Of course, every boy’s dream of being muscle bound happens for a different reasons. Some boys don’t have a well-developed physical frame and they might feel that lifting weights will help to counteract that. Other boys feel that having more muscles will make them more appealing to the opposite sex. Some may feel it makes them look older.
Of course, many just want to copy a male role model. In the case of a very young boy wanting to workout with dad, you can safely allow them to use very light 2-3 pound dumbbells to mimic the adult motions. Just be certain to go over all safety precautions, as even light dumbbells can break a toe! Make sure they wear shoes at all times.
Whatever the case may be, a boy wanting a muscular body is normally a response to the developing masculine characteristics that they have begun to notice.
In some cases, a boy might be overweight or they may lack a certain level of conditioning. Lifting weights has plenty of benefits and one of them is it being a great tool for losing weight and getting in shape.
How should a boy start weight lifting?
Follow these guidelines to maintain a safe and successful weight training program for a boy:
- Supervision: The first thing that must be observed when a boy wants to start weight training is to allow them to do so under strict supervision. Boys feel invincible, and they typically think that right up until the time they get hurt. Weight lifting can do good things for the body, it can also hurt quite a bit. It is best to have an experienced hand guiding a boy through a weight lifting workout to avoid them getting hurt.
- Form and Posture: A good rule of thumb when it comes to monitoring a boy while weight lifting is to always under estimate their lifting abilities. Have them focus on proper form and proper posture when lifting. After they have got that down, then move on to more resistance training. Learning proper form and technique could help them to avoid painful and reoccurring injuries down the road.
- Frequency: There is also the issue of frequency. An adult can set a rigorous schedule of lifting 5 to 6 times per week. However, a boy should not keep that kind of schedule. It is often recommended that a boy workout 2 to perhaps 3 times a week at maximum. This will ensure that there are no issues with overworking muscle, which can result in serious injuries.
- Recovery: Lastly, there is the matter of making sure that the boy gets the proper amount of recovery time. Recovery time is important for everyone who lifts weights, but it is even more important for a boy. However, once the boy stops growing, less recovery time is needed.
Most adults, after a good workout, may not be able to lift the next day, at least not the same muscle groups they worked out the day before. However, a boy, lacking common sense may want to push himself to lift too soon. Making sure his muscles have adequately recovered means that his workouts will be maximized but it will also avoid any weight lifting related injuries as well.
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