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I get plenty of questions in various comments throughout the website, but I also get comments and questions via the Project Swole Contact Form.
Generally I address those questions through e-mail, but often I do not have the time to reply to each and every question personally.
From now on I want to take a more proactive approach to answering Your Health Questions by posting them separately in the blog. This way we can be sure that everyone benefits from the Q & A.
“Is there an age limit to starting to do body building or can you start at any age?”
Well you certainly can start at any age, but you should put limits on the amount of strain you put on the body, and you certainly wouldn’t want kids and young teens competing in ‘bodybuilding’.
There isn’t any need for a kid to have to focus on symmetry, isolated hypertrophy, or dieting to get lean for a show. In fact that might even be child abuse.
As far as weightlifting, I wouldn’t want my kids doing much squatting, deadlifting, or Olympic lifting before the age of 13. I think a solid foundation should be built around bodyweight exercises, focusing on form and discipline, for younger children.
Real weightlifting probably shouldn’t start for most boys until age 13, but kids can do things like bodyweight squats, push ups, pull ups if they can manage it, and abdominal exercises as soon as they gain proper control over their motor skills.
Injuries Are Bad, mmkay?
I wouldn’t want a kid or young teen to mess up his back, neck, knees, shoulders, hips, elbow, or any other vital joint or muscle, just because he doesn’t have the motor skill, knowledge, or experience to train properly.
I mean, there’s really no limit to when you can start a kid in martial arts or gymnastics. I would rather see kids under 13 working on that type of training while practicing bodyweight exercises.
It Depends on the Person
I know a 3 year old that does flips, handstands, break dances, and can do a full split.
I know another kid who is almost 8 but can’t ride a bike without training wheels. It all depends on the person.
With my kid, he’s always trying to pick up my dumbbells, but they are just too heavy and he can’t grasp the concept of “lift with your legs” and “don’t round your back” quite yet. When he’s 12 or 13 I will begin to teach him the fine art of weight training. For now he just doesn’t get it and I don’t want him to get hurt.
Get Kids Involved with Other Sports
Some kids play hockey and football, which are both pretty rigorous and dynamic sports at times. Some other options are soccer and baseball, martial arts and gymnastics. These are all fun activities to be involved in and they don’t involve lifting 100 lbs over your head.
By all means, involve your child in whatever he or she wants to try, but if you plan to get a younger person into weightlifting or bodybuilding, I highly suggest you consult that child’s physician before attempting anything. That’s just my opinion.