by Larry North
LIFT AND LEARNQ: I would like to start my 14-year-old son on an exercise program, but I don’t know if weight or strength-training programs are appropriate. — Julio
I am in favor of 12-, 13-, and 14-year-old children lifting weights, provided they show a strong interest, so first you need to talk with your child. I would stick to a full-body routine focusing on basic multijoint exercises such as bench presses, curls, rowing, pull-ups, and squats. Exercise form and technique should supersede weight. Never perform one-rep maximums; there is no need to go to muscle failure or fatigue. Two to three sets of eight to 12 reps are sufficient. Your son should have some sort of supervision until you are comfortable that he can work out properly on his own.
The key word is “fun.” You and your son can enjoy this time together and even do your cardiovascular and stretching exercises at the same time. Try to emphasize good eating habits as well. By creating a foundation of good workout and eating habits, you are sharing with your son a healthy living lifestyle he can live for life.
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