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A Weight Training Workout for Children

Getting Children Involved With Weights


Updated April 30, 2014

In years past, the atmosphere and activities of the old-style "iron" gyms was never seen as very suitable for children and adolescents. Heavy equipment clanking about, the spectre of steroid use, and large and often noisy men seemed a long way from the junior baseball diamond or basketball court. How things have changed -- and they have changed because weight training as a physical activity has undergone a revolution with new, well-equipped and comfortable gyms populated by the full spectrum of the adult training community and, for the most part, well-qualified training staff.

Second, pediatricians and fitness and exercise trainers specializing in children and adolescents now see how safe and effective it is to introduce young people to supervised, progressive weight training. In fact, in a recent review of injuries in physical education classes, nearly 70 percent of the injuries occurred during six activities: running, basketball, football, volleyball, soccer and gymnastics.

The following articles provide background to the current professional view of weight training for children and adolescents. Then follows a sample workout for 12 to 15 years adolescents.

A Workout Program for Adolescents

Below is a typical gym weight training workout suitable for adolescents in the 12 to 15 age-group - girls and boys.

Points to Note

  • Before a young teen starts a formal weight training program, an evaluation by a pediatrician or sports medicine doctor is recommended.
  • A well-equipped gym should have equipment adjustable for the light loads required for the less-robust adolescents of this age. If not, light dumbbells or bodyweight exercises can be substituted for the machine equipment and barbells referenced below.
  • A qualified trainer with some experience of training teens should supervise participants at all times, especially for groups that are likely to lose concentration. Supervision for this age group is very important.
  • Good form and progression of loads over time and fitness is essential with any novice weight trainer, but especially with young, developing and immature bodies.
  1. All exercises are 2 sets and 10 repetitions
  2. Warmup: aerobics, 10 to 15 minutes; then a few form lifts with negligible load before each loaded exercise.
  3. Barbell squats - 2 sets, 10 repetitions
  4. Incline dumbbell press
  5. Seated cable row
  6. Dumbbell arm curl
  7. Cable triceps pushdown
  8. Barbell deadlift
  9. Standard crunch
  10. Barbell, dumbbell or EZ bar bent-over row
  11. Cable pulldown
  12. Cool down with light stretching, 5 to 10 minutes

See exercise instruction details in the Exercise Gallery.

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