What Is The Best Age To Start Weightlifting?
Weightlifting is a very rewarding activity with many long-term benefits for anyone that does it regularly. With so many advantages, getting your child interested in weightlifting can be a great asset to their long-term health and wellness. Because weightlifting is a physically taxing sport, it’s important to know what level of activity is possible and safe for every age group so your child is not injured while participating in the sport.
Weightlifting is a great sport in order to foster muscle growth and strength and help manage weight. Weightlifting can also boost metabolism, improve your ability to do everyday activities, and protect your joints. Weightlifting though is not considered a social sport, so it’s not great for helping your child make friends in a team setting.
There is a push to grow weightlifting programs at a collegiate level and foster more college weightlifting teams through the NAIA, the governing body for smaller colleges and universities throughout the USA. There are even scholarships for powerlifting, so training in order to compete in college is a worthy long-term goal.
Of course, the highest goal is probably to weightlift professionally, which will require the most effort and discipline to achieve. It’s important to know how far your child wants to go with weightlifting, as it will determine how much time and effort they will have to put into it.
It is not recommended to start getting your child into weightlifting before the age of six. While weightlifting has many benefits, it also has many possible side effects, such as herniated disks in the back, muscle strains and tears, bone fractures, growth plate injuries, and cartilage damage. These are especially risky if performed by someone around toddler age. You could begin strength training instead, if you plan on putting your child into weightlifting later on in life, but even then, it is still better to put off any serious training until a child’s body is more developed.
Ages seven to eight are the perfect time to start lifting weights, according to many experts. The only major hurdle during this time is a mental one, as doing this kind of training requires discipline and the ability to follow instructions clearly in order to prevent injury. When putting your child into weightlifting at this age, it’s important to make sure they master techniques for various weightlifting positions like squatting or benching, as having proper form is the best way to maximize the results you get out of weightlifting and prevent injuries.
Ages 12 and Up
If your child has the goal of weightlifting professionally, ages 12 to 14 are the ideal time to get into it. Although weightlifting is a skill that can be cultivated and perfected at any age, many agree that the early teenage years are the ideal age to start training to reap the most benefits out of your career, as it is when your muscles will begin to develop during puberty. Additionally, the hormonal surge that occurs during puberty can increase the response to training, making puberty age the ideal time to start.
At this age, your child should avoid starting with heavy weights and instead work their way up after starting out with lighter weights. They shouldn’t strain their body too much, as pain can be an indicator of bad form or overexertion.
For Future College Athletes
Collegiate-level weightlifting programs have been on the rise for many years, so it is certainly possible for your child to land a scholarship for weightlifting and participate in it throughout their college career. Many American universities have opened up weightlifting teams, with the majority of them located in the eastern half of the country.
Weightlifting scholarships are very limited, so they are pretty competitive. It’s good to have your child practice and train for a few years if they plan on earning a position on a college team.
For Future Professional Athletes
Unlike many sports, weightlifting is a skill that can be cultivated at any age, so it’s never too late to start if you want to become a professional. However, professional weightlifters begin to train at a young age, with many participating in their mid to late teens. Thus, in order to keep up with fellow competitors, your child may have to start as early as possible. Additionally, muscles wear down over time without use, so it’s recommended to start earlier in order to get as much time as possible out of your child’s weightlifting career.
Weightlifting has many benefits to one’s overall health, but it is still a very taxing activity on your muscles and joints. Common weightlifting injuries include herniated disks in the back, muscle strains and tears, bone fractures, growth plate injuries, and cartilage damage. It’s important to stay hydrated and stretch well before and after a weightlifting session and avoid overexerting your muscles. It is also recommended to let go of the “no pain, no gain” mindset, as muscle pain can be a sign that you're using too much weight, and soreness is an indicator that your muscles need more rest.
How do I get my kid started with weightlifting?
Getting your child started with weightlifting is as easy as just getting them weights and setting them up. It’s important to make sure they have proper form and start off with light weights before moving on to heavier weights in order to prevent injury.
How old should my child be to lift weights?
Generally, it’s safe to start weightlifting from ages seven to eight. Starting at any younger age can be dangerous to a child’s joints and general growth. Most professional weightlifters start in their early to mid-teens.
Can I teach my child weightlifting?
You can definitely teach your child weightlifting. Since it’s not a traditional team sport, it can be practiced at home under parental supervision. However, if planning to go professional, it is probably best to get a trainer and coach.
How do I pick a weightlifting coach for my child?
A weightlifting coach should be chosen based on your child’s schedule, personality, and goals. You should also look into the coach’s career, whether it involves weightlifting or not, location, etc. You should choose one that meshes with your child’s needs and how well they mesh together.