Teenagers and Weight Lifting – Getting Started

by Jodee on January 14, 2011

Teens who want to use strength training as a way to stay active and improve fitness should start slowly. Plan for a maximum of three strength training sessions each week, with at least one day off in between to allow your muscles to rest and rebuild.

You can plan to focus on one muscle group during each session if you wish. If you are working out three times per week, devote one day to working on your upper body (chest and shoulders), another one to your lower body (glutes, hamstrings and calves) and the third day you can focus on your back and arms.

How long should you work out? You can start with a 20 or 30 minute session and gradually increase your exercise time to 60 minutes. This includes your warm-up and cool down after lifting the weights.

Warming Up

The first part of your session should be spent on warming up your muscles. You can spend five or 10 minutes on a stationary bike or do some brisk walking on a treadmill to get ready for the next part of the session.

Strength Training Session

If you are new to lifting weights, starting with body weight exercises, such as push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups, is a good idea. You may find that your muscles feel tired or a bit sore after you have finished your session, and this is normal.

You want to challenge yourself but if you feel pain while performing an exercise, stop immediately. Feeling dizzy or faint while exercising is not normal, and you should stop the activity and seek medical attention if you experience these symptoms.

Teens who are starting strength training should work with a coach or a personal trainer to make sure they are using the right weight and that they are performing the movements correctly.

Start your strength training with sets of 8-10 reps for each exercise. When you find that completing a set is becoming easier, increase the weight to make it more challenging for you.

Some types of exercises, such as performing a bench press, require a second person acting as a spotter to be completed safely. It would be both unwise and dangerous to attempt to perform them on your own. The person acting as a spotter for you must be someone who you can trust to keep their attention focused on you as you are lifting the weight. It’s a good idea to have a code word so that your spotter will know that you need help, and don’t be afraid to use it if you need to.

Cooling Down after Strength Training

When you have finished the weight lifting part of your workout session, take a few minutes to stretch your muscles. Doing so will help you stay flexible and reduce the risk of injury.

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