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Is 12 years old too young to start training?

You say you started weight training at 12 years old. Some personal trainers feel that may be too young for developmental reasons. What are your feelings on this?

Pushups, chins and dips, leg raises and crunches, running and jumping are great conditioners for kids as soon as you can get their attention. Encouragement from generous adults to properly engage the rascals helps them understand the purpose of the activities, instills priceless disciplines and directs the safe and effective execution of the exercises without diminishing the playfulness. Oh, boy, do we need some of this. Take the smart phones and video games to the dumpster, and don’t forget the soda and chips on the way out.

When weight training comes into the picture, wouldn’t it be nice if they were already prepared for the activity with the above healthy fortification? A little thoughtful coaching goes a long way for a 12-year-old who stands before a barbell for the first time. Teaching the basic exercises to a healthy youngster with an earnest heart is okay in my experience.

The kids will listen as you caution them against poor form, over-straining, injury and goofiness. You can direct them toward moderation in effort, focus on exercise performance and the action of the muscle. They won’t be growth-halted, bent-boned or joint-separated if they’re instructed favorably and encouraged to eat well.

What an opportunity to mold a fine young person. Why, he or she may grow up to be the governor.

The trouble begins when the movements are done with too much weight, really poor form and very little focus on the purpose of each exercise. We usually see this in adults who should know better, but it seems they never learned. Nobody took the time to teach them.