Kids and Weightlifting

My BFF’s stepson has expressed an interest in going to the gym and lifting weights with his stepdad. The lad will be 12 in December.

Is there any kind of prohibition against kids lifting weights before puberty? I am neither a pediatrician nor a sports trainer, so I have no basis on which to judge, but it seems to me that he should at least begin adolescence before he begins weight training.

Any thoughts?

There is no prohibition. The main thing is to have his focus be on perfect form and to begin with lighter weight more reps.

Some useful links:

http://www.exrx.net/WeightTraining/Weightlifting/YouthMisconceptions.html
http://www.exrx.net/WeightTraining/Weightlifting/Youth.html
http://www.exrx.net/Questions/KidsFatLoss.html
http://www.exrx.net/Psychology/CooperKidsMotivationReview.htm

Keep it fun, keep it light (both literally and figuratively) and keep the form excellent and there should be no problems. It’s a fun thing to do, can promote bonding with his (step)dad, and may instill a love of exercise in him. Best not to get too serious or all-consuming with it, as with anything at this age, and make sure it’s his idea, not a desperate plea for attention. As long as the weight is appropriate and the form good and he’s otherwise in good health, there shouldn’t be a health problem.

My son started weightlifting before puberty. Like DSeid says, the first thing is to focus on developing form and technique. And by focus, I mean serious concentration before adding that next weight.

This is pretty good advice for adult beginners as well. I came in to post the ExRx links that Meatros beat me to; definitely take a look around the site as it’s a real treasure trove of information.

Lifting heavy things (using proper form and taking care not to overdue things) is highly beneficial for humans age 1 to 100.

You won’t run into problems with the weight-lifting, but you may run into problems with the “go to the gym” part. My gym, for instance, has an age limit of 15 (or is it 14?). Anyway, 12 is right out. YMMV.

My BFF’s gym allows kids. They have a kids’ area, and AFAIK kids are allowed in the adult areas with adult supervision.

Oh. If you are interested in the official American Academy of Pediatrics guideline:

Sorry for the multipost, but some points that I think may need emphasis.

Kids, perhaps even more than beginner male adults (some of whom may be no more mature), may be tempted to focus on the vanity muscles; they may, left to their own choosing, try to emphasize the biceps, for example. Part of that supervision is not just teaching technique but making sure that they are doing complete work-outs that emphasize the core and ideally that teach proper technique on the major compound lifts. And they need to understand that at least until they hit puberty no amount of lifting is likely to give them the huge muscles they may be fantasizing about, increased strength, yes, huge muscles, no.