Is Bodybuilding OK for Teenagers?

When my son was 15, he told me he wanted to try bodybuilding. I was unsure of what to tell him that night but I figured if it’s what he wants to do, then I will definitely support him. He was, after all, a skinny kid and being around friends who were athletes sort of pressured him to start focusing on his body. Fast forward to two years later and he has now grown into a confident young man with a strong and lean physique.

If you’re a parent to a teenager who wants to start bodybuilding, or you’re the teenager who is wondering if it’s ok for you to do weightlifting workouts, this article should be able to guide you and provide you with the information you need to start working out safely.

In a nutshell, bodybuilding is OK for teens but take some precautions. Getting started in bodybuilding early in life is probably one of the best things you can do for your own health and fitness. Whether your end goal is to lose weight, build muscle, improve your performance in sports or simply get in shape, working out is your door to getting there. But you need to do it properly.

Start with Lightweight Exercises for a Month

If you are new to bodybuilding, you should spend at least a month or so doing only bodyweight workouts. Doing this will help your body become accustomed to resistance-training without the very high load, thereby avoiding injury.

Rushing into lifting heavier weights early on could compromise your good form and cause you to develop poor habits.

Limit Your Training Volume

This refers to the number of sets, repetitions and workouts you do. Teenagers can often get too enthusiastic and as a result perform far too much training volume. You might think this is a good thing but it’s not. You’ll be making it very difficult for your muscles to recover.

Additionally, since weightlifting is considered a new stressor to your body, it will need some time to adapt to it, which is why you will do better with a lower overall training volume, at least at the start.

Watch Your Training Intensity

Intensity pertains to the weight you’re lifting. If you start with a program that is too intense for your body, it’s not going to be a good thing. There’s a rumor that weight training at a young age can hinder your growth, and it’s partially true. The weight training itself won’t stunt your growth, but when you train too intensely this will result in your body having no more energy needed for natural growth process.

Proper Nutrition is a Must

You should not underestimate the importance of nutrition in any bodybuilding program, and especially in a teen bodybuilding program. What you consume has a key role in how much muscle you build.

Calories are needed for normal growth processes so if your daily calorie expenditure is higher than your calorie intake, it can hamper growth. You will also need a sufficient amount of protein and other nutrients.

Make Sure to Stretch

A lot of people, particularly teenagers, don’t understand the importance of stretching before and after a weight workout.  But now is actually the best time to improve flexibility which you can achieve by doing stretching exercises.

Moreover, stretching ensures you that you’re fully capable of moving through a wide range of motion, which is crucial in order for you to get full muscle-building benefits.

Set Realistic Goals

I’ve seen a lot of teenagers become frustrated with their progress that they quit after 1-2 months. The problem is they don’t set realistic goals so if in 2 months they look nothing like those MMA fighters on the ring, they stop working out. Set shorter-term, achievable benchmarks that will motivate you to set another goal for the next few weeks and continue your progress. Focus on the process and don’t get too caught up with how you look, at least not at the start.

You can engage the services of a personal trainer which you can usually find in gyms like Club Fitness or Bodyplex.

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