How old should my child be before lifting weights?

A child can begin weight training at the onset of puberty (traditionally 13 to 14 years of age), says Gabe Clements, C-ATC at Centerpoint Medical Center. When a child begins weight training the key is to focus on technique and not on the amount of weight lifted. Light weights and body weight exercises are the best to begin with. Overall physical health, coordination and flexibility are great focus points with the younger lifters.

This content originally appeared online at HCA Midwest Health.
Working out with moderate weights usually starts to provide the most strength benefits once kids reach puberty (age 13 to 15 for boys, 11 to 13 for girls). This is when they have the hormones to allow their muscles to get significantly bigger and stronger. By this time, many kids will have had ample time to refine their technique, so the strength can be put to effective use. Before puberty, some low-weight strength training may be done -- but only for purposes of injury prevention and always under careful adult supervision. Heavy weights should be avoided until kids have gone through most of their rapid growth.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.