I was recently asked: How do I build muscle safely at 13 years old?
My answer goes far beyond just telling the kid to focus on the major exercises & eat a lot (which are highly important) but above that, developing the habit of always moving & being active, is key to keep making progress throughout the years.
At 13 years old your whole world is about to change & you will:
Become more civilized
You will sit down a lot more
You will be smacked with more responsibilities, orders and rules
And all of these can slowly make you comfortable, lazy & overtime make you loose your energy to want to workout.
Am I blowing this out of proportion & making it sound like your wold is gonna end? Maybe a little.
Truth is that if you always find a way to be active at a young age, you won’t have such a hard time dealing with having to manage school, social life & fitness (since it will be embedded in your DNA to want to move)
So if you want to build muscle at 13 years old: Constantly be active, eat a lot, rest a lot & master the basic bodyweight exercises.
It sounds simple & it’s because it is – the only thing you have to do is put in the work & have fun!
My answer is YES!… If the kid knows what he is doing!
Weightlifting at an early age it’s safe & will not stunt growth like make people say so
The main thing is to lift weights with good form, otherwise injuries can occur & that is why I strongly recommend that the kid has a strong bodyweight foundation
Simply because the kid needs a relative strength foundation (to be able to carry his own weight)
He might be too weak for the extra stress of the iron so developing strength trough bodyweight will strengthen his joints, ligaments, and muscles to withstand the extra resistance better
Bodyweight training will tech him and him aware of how his body works, what muscles to fire up doing certain exercises & show him his weaknesses so he can work on them & develop a balanced body
Even if the kid plays sports like soccer or basketball, he needs to work on their bodyweight since he might be lacking back & core stabilization strength (which can be improved with pull ups, handstands & planks)
Usually is not just being weak but also the combination of lifting like a fool without focusing on form and just trying to lift the heaviest weight he can to impress his buddies (this was my experience in my high school gym days)
Here is list of fundamental bodyweight exercises he should be able to do with good form in order to be a lot more prepared before using weights:
Those are the minimums he should be able to perform those res with relative ease (heck everyone should be able to no matter what age in order to have good relative strength)
After having a good foundation he should learn proper technique in the main compound barbell lifts:
Hiring a personal trainer or a coach to teach the kid how to execute these movement with good form is ideal, so knows which muscles to engage during the movements
Like I explained in the video, doing bodyweight exercises will make him aware of his weaknesses and they will be exposed while using weights
That’s why it’s important that he becomes aware of these weaknesses so he can work on them and not let them be an enigma
So bodyweight training will set the foundation he needs to strengthen his ligaments, joints and put on actual muscle to support the extra resistance
And the primary focus hen he does start lifting weight should be on learning proper form and not letting his ego take over!
Why does he even want to lift weights?
Have you ever considered why does he wants to lift weights?
Does he want to get bigger?
Earn the respect of his buddies?
Look good for girls?
Excel at his sport?
Build a stronger character because he is to self conscious?
The truth is you don’t know why he wants to do this, it might not even be because he wants to get bigger
He might get picked around at school for being skinny & weak & lifting weights is an outlet for him to cope with this
For me this was one of the reasons I started lifting weights, not only did I get more confident but also developed mental toughness & started to be more responsible for myself
I was learning how my body responds to stress and metabolic changes + also was taking care of myself since I wanted to get bigger so that meant being healthier & staying out of trouble
And your kid might be in a similar situation
He won’t tell you he has low self confidence, or that he gets pushed around (even if it’s not in a bully type way, if he is weaker than his buddies this will make him wish he was bigger and stronger)
So bottom line, Don’t Tell Him No
Help him out get stronger at bodyweight so he can learn how his body responds to resistance & builds a strong foundation
And then have him Lift Some Damn Weights! So he can build up his confidence and become a Stud!
I personally wish somebody would have told me to focus on a lot more bodyweight first to get strong at the basics and then attack the weights
All of my lifts would be a lot better and I probably wouldn’t have gone trough several annoying injuries
But am grateful for all these “bad” experiences, they put me in a position where I can help somebody like you & prevent you from making the same mistakes I did when starting
Hopefully this makes you aware that weightlifting is safe, if the kid knows what he is doing
It’s like saying that driving a car at an early age is dangerous
It can be if the kid is inexperienced, but if the kid knows how to drive because he has learned the fundamentals and has good awareness of the roads + signals, then is not dangerous, no matter how young the kid is
And even if it’s an older man driving, there is always a chance of crashing…just like when doing any sports or weightlifting, there is always a chance of in jury no matter how experienced the athlete is
But the more experience and awareness he has, the more prepared he is & can lift safer
So have your 15 year old master the basic bodyweight movements & Learn proper technique at the basic compound movements so he can lift & get stronger
If you have any questions about anything, feel free to drop them in the comments below, I’ll get to them ASAP!
Attack Life & get Stronger!
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