What Is The Best Age To Start Weight Training?
Before talking about the best age to start weight training – I think that it's very important to acknowledge the fact that this discipline has been subjected to many harsh criticisms and rumors over the years; with no reasonable explanation to back them up. Young adults are constantly scared and discouraged from picking up the sport through a series of lies. Let's be honest – we've all heard the myths about how lifting weights can stunt your growth.
This rumor just like many others is false and it shouldn't discourage you from lifting weights. An article published on Livestrong recently, actually talks about the benefits of training for younger children. They briefly explain how this type of training can have a positive impact on their health and the sports they practice. Should young kids be lifting weights? Definitely not, but scientifically the benefits outweigh the risks; at least according to the article. So, what's the best age to start weight training?
Does Lifting Weights Stunt Your Growth?
In another article by Livestrong, this subject was dissected an discussed through a series of studies. One of these studies -from the University of Kansas- claims that weight training raises the body's testosterone levels and therefore closes the bone growth plates. Other research dismisses this and suggests that Testosterone may actually increase the length and improve the density of the bones.
I personally think that there are a lot more factors out there that contribute to height than training. The person's genetics, diet, and lifestyle will definitely play a huge role in their development. Some of the biggest, greatest, and tallest athletes in the world have been exercising with weights since a young age.
I personally started training with weights around the age of sixteen. Even though I was constantly receiving criticism from other people telling me how it was dangerous and it would stunt my growth; it's still one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Not only did I grow taller but I also got a lot bigger and stronger. The funny thing is that not long after; all these people that called out my efforts decided to pick up weight training themselves.
I completely understand why a lot of people fear the sport but hear me out when I say that it's unwarranted. Weight training -if done properly- can be extremely beneficial and have a positive mental and physical impact. With that being said, I do think that there is such a thing as being too young. Weight lifting should be enjoyed, the only way that this can happen is by personal choice and not by being forced to do it.
The Benefits Of Weight Training
There are many benefits involved with the sport that will make you fall in love with it. A lot of people talk about the bad, but what about the good? It's actually quite interesting to think how an activity that consists of lifting things up and putting back down can have such a positive impact. Here are a few benefits that you can expect:
- Muscle and Strength Building
- Improved Cardiovascular Performance
- Enhanced Muscular Definition and Vascularity
- Enhanced Mental Alertness and Stamina
- Improved Bone Density
- Higher Hormone Levels
It's worth mentioning that it will take time and a lot of hard work before these results begin to appear. The key is to be patient and to always train as hard as you can. It's also crucial to be aware of just how important diet and rest can be. At first, it may seem confusing but trust me when I say that it gets easier; you just need to do a lot of research and get educated on the subject.
Can It Be Dangerous?
Everything has its risks and this sport is no different; that's why young children should probably stay away from it. A big part of society thinks that lifting weights is very easy and it's not. Sure, you can go to the gym and do a bunch of random stuff here and there, but that doesn't mean that you will get anything out of it.
Weight training is a science that even elite athletes are still trying to perfect. I'm a bodybuilder, which means that I use weights to build and sculpt my body. It's taken years of practice and consistency to finally get it right.
A lot of people have gotten injured by taking the wrong approach; one small mistake and you could be injured for life. This is why -in my opinion- weight training should only be practiced by those who are mentally and physically ready, and under the supervision of an expert. I think that the best age to start weight training is somewhere around the mid-teenage years.
Ego lifting and not doing proper form can lead to serious injuries that sometimes won't go away. Injuries can be as simple as sore joints and as dangerous as ruptured tendons, torn muscle fibers, and herniated disks. Obviously, it takes a lot of work and doing a lot of wrong stuff to get to this point. If you lift safely, with proper form, and under the correct guidance; you should be alright.
Types Of Weight Training
Right now you are probably either very excited or really scared to try this out, but that's okay; it's normal. If you are considering joining a gym but don't know how to start; I'll give you the basics. Technically, there are many types of training – some are better than others but they all come from the same concept; picking things up and putting them down. These are a couple of options:
- Bodybuilding Training
- Powerlifting Training
- Olympic Lifting
- Strongman Training
Out of these five options, I would personally start looking at a basic bodybuilding program. It will help understand how the body works and create something we bodybuilders call the mind-muscle connection. A basic powerlifting program would also be a great place to start, as it teaches you the most important movements in weight training; the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift.
Olympic lifting is a lot more difficult but can definitely help you perfect your chosen training style. Strongman training is a little unconventional and dangerous but it works; there's a reason the strongest man in the world is literally a giant. I would stay away from cross-fit, but if you like that sort of thing – I guess there's nothing wrong with it.
There is no such thing as the best age to start weight training. If you are hungry and motivated to train with weights – there's no reason why you shouldn't at least try it; regardless of your age and experience. Weight training can be highly beneficial if done properly but dangerous under certain circumstances.
Lifting weights will not stunt your growth, just take a look at the world's strongest men. The same applies in bodybuilding – even though most competitors are short; there are plenty of taller athletes. You've probably heard of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, right?