Beginning Training for Young Adolescents

Many times young people just starting out focus on their “look” and their ego.
They want to lift more than their friends, impress the opposite sex,  and tend to only focus on their chest, biceps, and abs.  I am not suggesting that is your boys’ focus at all, but  a trap and mindset that can easily prevail in a weight room.

The key to your boys’ success is that they should focus on proper form and not on the amount of weight. I could make a person sore with a 5lb dumbbell workout – the amount of weight does not indicate the quality of the workout. Your boys should also learn and use a variety of exercises for each muscle group so as to maximize their development.

With your boys being involved in sports that gives them an added bonus as they are already beginning to build a base with their bodies in terms of  muscular development but also in knowing and understanding how their bodies work, move, and feel in various situations.  This mind-body link takes years to develop but is crucial to successful development.

I would imagine that your sons’ coaches probably put them through some type of sport specific training or conditioning program during the season, and at some point possibly during the off-season as well.  Those exercise and conditioning regimens should be taken into account as part of their overall training.  There is a tendency to start out in the weight room with all the enthusiasm in the world and we start tearing through there like a freight train.  In time we will end up seriously overtrained which will not only hault and hinder progress but also increase the risk of injuries and overuse.   They don’t need the shoulder size or strength of an olympic powerlifter in order to be a good pitcher.

Moderation is important when planning a training program.  If your boys are already doing certain offseason workouts then it may be more beneficial to build those in to their program rather than as an addition to a weight training program.

In summary, weight and strength training can be an excellent tool for young adolescents. I would definitely support and encourage your two sons to begin training with weights.  It needs to be done right and continuously monitored.  Their goal is to develop a stronger, quicker, more flexible, more conditioned, well rounded body that will result in them becoming better athletes in various sports.  Weight training can help provide all those things.  Proper form and all around development are key, as is education.  There is so much information out there and unfortunately not all of it is accurate or beneficial.  But overall, with the right guidance and focus it will be the beginning of a healthy lifestyle that carries well beyond their sports careers!

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