I’m only 14 years old and I want to start lifting weights. Some of the other kids in my class have already started weight training and they are getting bigger and stronger. I have noticed a lot of the girls at my school are really interested in them because they probably like the “buff” look. I’m kind of a scrawny kid and would like to add some muscle and bulk up a little. Is it okay for me to use dumbbells at my age? If not, can you recommend the best exercises for me to do so I can get bigger?
It should be completely safe for you to start a resistance training program at your age. However, before starting I recommend seeing a doctor so they can do a full physical on you. You want to get the final approval by a health professional just to make sure you are 100% healthy before starting any type of exercise program.
Once you are checked out and have the clearance from your doctor, you can get started on a weight lifting plan. There should be no issues with using dumbbells at your age or any other forms of training. The only thing you want to be aware of is the amount of weight you will be using. Since you are still growing, you do not want to place a massive amount of stress and tension on your bones, connective tissues, ligaments and joints so just make sure to avoid going extremely heavy on some of the major exercises like the bench press, squats and deadlifts.
The biggest thing you should be focused on when beginning a weight lifting program is your overall form and technique for all of the exercises you will be doing. The way you perform each movement is critical for placing the maximum amount of tension on the specific muscle along with avoiding injuries which can occur when your training technique is flawed.
The best thing you can do is to tell your parents about your interest in lifting weights and ask them if they will help you purchase a few training sessions with a certified personal trainer at your local gym. This will be a great investment in order to make sure you get started on the right path and it will ensure that you train safely and effectively. Your trainer will also be able to provide great advice and helpful tips about proper nutrition, designing a workout routine, rest, recovery and supplementation along with many other factors that will help you succeed with your fitness goals.
Along with using dumbbells for your workouts, you can implement a myriad of different exercises to really challenge your muscles. A great option to mix into your training is using kettlebells which are amazing for adding functional strength movements into your routine. Functional training is basically a classification of exercise which involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life. ShapeFit has an amazing database of kettlebell exercise guides which you can use to learn the different movements. I also recommend incorporating bodyweight exercises into your overall plan as well. Using your own body weight is incredible for increasing overall strength and exercises like pushups and pull-ups are some of the best movements to use for building up muscle mass in your upper body.
I would like to commend you for starting a weight lifting program and for taking the initiative to improve your overall health and fitness at such a young age. I really wish there were more young kids your age that followed your lead and started really thinking about eating a healthier diet and becoming more active in their daily lives. By beginning a fitness plan now, you will be setting up the foundation for healthy habits which you can follow and benefit from for a lifetime. I wish you great success in the future and I’m sure you will reach all of your fitness goals!