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01/30/2013

Ask the Experts: When Can I Start Working Out?

by Andy Haley

 

kids working out STACK Ask the Experts: When Can I Start Working Out?

Q: At what age can I start working out?

A: Coaches give different answers to this question. Some pick an age based on their personal opinion, claiming that weight training before that age will stunt growth. It’s true that young athletes with no training experience who try to perform advanced exercises like the Back Squat or Bench Press with heavy loads run a higher risk of injury. However, the same rule applies to mature adults—or anyone else using improper training methods.

Athletes ages 9 to 11 won’t make massive strength gains during workouts, since they haven’t gone through puberty yet and lack the hormones needed to stimulate growth and recovery. However, these young athletes can start building a foundation of strength, coordination and balance to prepare for more advanced exercises later. Athletes who build a foundation early get more out of training during their teenage years.

Athletes training before puberty should focus on bodyweight exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once, including Lunges, Squats, Push-Ups and Pull-Ups. It’s also important to increase core strength with Planks, Supermans and Russian Twists. When you start training, it might be difficult to perform even one rep of certain exercises. But, don’t be concerned. With continued dedication to your training, you can progress to three sets of 10 to 15 reps each exercise.


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