Updated: May 10
There is still a lot of debate around the topic of what age someone should begin training with weights.
It is very common to hear that parents are worried that their child has started weight training at 15, when they believe he or she should at least be waiting until they are 16.
The honest answer to these concerns is: stop worrying. Children have been training their whole lives, and strength training has been a major part of that. When a baby learns to crawl, or pull themselves up into a standing position – that’s strength training. When you kid goes to the park and climbs a tree – that’s strength training.
However, there are certain times in a person’s life when it is the ideal time to start training in order to optimise training and never forget the things that you have learned.
The Five S’s
There are 5 main points that growing athletes need to pay attention to in order to benefit their development. The person needs to focus on what are known as the 5 S’s: skill, strength, speed, stamina, and suppleness. Depending on the sport that you do, the emphasis might be placed on one or two of these S’s more than others, but this too can help optimise your training.
Leading experts say that the window of train ability for strength occurs differently between males and females:
For males within 12 to 18 months after reaching peak height velocity, or their big growth spurt.
For females, as soon as they have their first menstrual period, or when they reach peak weight velocity (weight gain during puberty).
This doesn’t mean that you can’t begin strength training at other times though. In fact, if you begin your strength training at a younger age but focus more on movement, balance, spatial awareness and bodily control then you are preparing your body for further strength training in the future. As you get older, you can increase the challenge and learn to build on those foundations.