Can teenagers safely engage in strength training, including weight lifting, or should they wait until they're adults?
Is Weightlifting Dangerous For Teenagers?
The idea that teenagers, who are still physically developing, should not engage in strength training of any kind is quite pervasive, first and foremost because some people believe that engaging in strength training will stunt a teen's growth.
The good thing is that teens can indeed engage in strength training, including weight lifting, safely. No scientific research indicates that strength training and weight lifting have an adverse effect on a teen's long-term physical development.
However, there are things to watch out for.
Anyone beginning any kind of workout program should be cautious, and gradually build up their activity.
Those who are overweight or obese should focus on cardio exercise before committing to a strength training program, while 2014 those already more physically active may be ready for a more intense program right away, and those who are underweight should ensure that their eating habits are responsible. When you spend more calories, you will need more as well.
With any kind of strength training, there is always the potential of injury. As a teenager, it is of the utmost importance to you that you perform your exercises correctly, and that you don't overdo it. At this age, and as a beginner, you will want to focus on low weights and do more reps rather than seeking to gain bulk by using heavy weights.
Rather than just using weights, also consider resistance bands, water-resistance, or partner-assisted, military style exercises for variety, and remember that you can still do weight lifting by using bottles (for instance) if you don't have the money to go to the gym or buy them for home use.
Find A Mentor Or Trainer
Use this opportunity, when you're young and everyone will be happy to show you, to find a good mentor or trainer to help you out. Whether you join a gym and see a personal trainer, your older brother helps you out, you connect with a local street workout group, or you engage in strength training in the context of a school sports team program, make use of the wisdom of those with more experience. (Yes, most especially when they tell you you've got to pace yourself! They're not saying it to be mean!)
Your mentor or trainer can help you put together a good workout routine, which should, by the way, definitely include a good deal of cardio as well even if your main goal is becoming stronger and bigger, as well as daily stretching exercises.
How Often Should Teens Work Out?
As a teenager, you can and should ideally do stretching exercises every single day. These will keep you flexible and will help you perform better during cardio and strength training.
Working out three days a week is more than enough for beginners, however. You can do around four exercises for each area of your body, and go up to four sets of 10 reps. Again, make sure that you are aware of how each exercise is performed correctly, which can be achieved when you're supervised by a mentor or trainer.
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