Weight training, a sport for teenagers?
Weight training is a sport that is drawing an increasing number of teenagers looking to learn about their bodies and its limits. They want to develop their muscle mass to shape their youthful figures.
However, it is often said that weight training at a young age can be damaging to the health. It is seen as dangerous as it may prevent growth, reduce flexibility, reduce cardio-respiratory capacities and damage tendons and joints in teenagers. So, what are the facts about this?
It is true that intensive weight training as a teenager may have a number of consequences on growth and health. It should be remembered that it is a sport that is relatively traumatic for the muscles and joints and if no precautions are taken it can be dangerous. Making excessive demands upon the bones and joints can also lead to back problems.
Consequently, caution is required when starting weight training at a young age. Firstly, do not carry loads that are too heavy or train too intensively. Some exercises should not be done by teenagers whose backbones, ligaments and cartilages are still weak: squats, the seated press with bar and the deadlift are prohibited!
Furthermore, weight training is not advisable for those under the age of 15, particularly young girls. Before this age, preferably channel your energy into fitness activities and cardio training. If you are a beginner, go to a specialised gym so that you can get the advice of an experienced coach who will show you how to do the exercises properly. Nothing is worse than doing the exercises incorrectly as this can lead to injuries!
In short, if you absolutely want to do weight training, be very careful regarding the training regime you follow.
Advice on healthy training practices
Pay particular attention to your joints as they are delicate when you are growing rapidly!
Do not try bodybuilding, diets or drying out periods. These are practices reserved for adults.
Eat healthily, eat enough not to feel hungry, do not take food supplements that are not made for your body that is still growing.
Incorporate stretching exercises into your training sessions to stay flexible.
Carry out weight training alongside another sport such as a team sport or an endurance sport to develop your cardio-respiratory capacities.
For moderate practice, start by training once a week, in addition to another sport. Increase the number of sessions year after year.
Why not do this sport with one of your parents to give you added motivation and make your training sessions more enjoyable?
Don't hesitate to consult a doctor to find out if you are suited to this type of activity…
Lastly, it is worth noting that the Lafay training method is particularly recommended for teenagers because it helps you increase your strength, endurance, resistance and power as well as your flexibility with a programme that builds up gradually so that you do not get demotivated. The exercises in the programme are not dangerous or traumatic as they are adjusted to suit your body weight.
The benefits of body-building
Contrary to what you might have heard, weight training when you are a teenager is not damaging for the body. When practised within reasonable limits, it helps to build up the bone structure and helps the body to shape itself not shape the body. This is the difference between good and bad weight training.
What's more, weight training is a sport that can easily be associated with another discipline. As a complement to a combat sport, or some other sport, it can be used to develop the precision and speed of the force you apply.
Psychologically, weight training helps to boost self-esteem, self-confidence and perseverance. It also acts as a powerful stimulant, for teenagers in particular.
Ultimately, starting weight training when you are a teenager does not prevent you from growing if it is done with caution. The effects of this type of activity on the body will vary from person to person, but at a time when an increasing number of young people are affected by obesity, it can be an effective solution if it is associated with a cardio activity.