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Winning Ways:
Pre-Teen Weight Training

Wednesday, February 16, 2000

By Gregory "Graig" White
SJSports Physical Fitness Advisor

When it comes to weight training, a question that is often asked is, "How young is too young?" Over time, it's been proven that people of all ages can benefit from a weight training program that is properly structured.


As a father of a twelve-year-old daughter who has been lifting for about two years, the factor that let me know that Alyssa was ready was her maturity. Since the age of eight, Alyssa would spend many hours in the training facility watching and helping. She was not allowed to even touch any of the weights. After some time, I could sense that all of those hours of watching were paying off. Alyssa now can recognize and correct techniques that could cause injuries.

The reason I bring this up is, many people tried to tell me that Alyssa was too young to weight train. Contrary to popular belief, I knew better. Youth weight training doesn't stunt growth, actually, a good program combined with a good cardiovascular protocol has been shown to help decrease body fat.

Girls who weight train reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life. It also helps with the strengthening of the connective tissues. Other benefits include increased socialization skills, enhanced fitness awareness, and last but not least, improved self-image.

Girls aren't supposed to have muscles, right? As sad as it is, there are still people who in this day and age believe that. I am here to tell you, those days are close to being over. Today's females are challenging the way society perceives them and what the "ideal" female looks like. I encourage Alyssa and all my pre-teen girls to focus on their appearance as long as the energy is channeled into wanting to be healthy and fit.

Getting girls to weight train can be somewhat tricky. I work to let them know that muscular fitness is a worthwhile goal, and that strength training can be a positive activity when approached with the right energy.

Photos by Art Redd

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For previous Winning Ways, visit Graig's Archives.

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