There are debates on whether or not teens should undergo a muscle-building regimen. Should they be allowed to lift heavy weights? Will strength training lead to stunting of growth.
There are a number of teenagers who possess a strong desire to build their muscles and lift weights. However, such a practice is frowned upon by parents and other adults. There are also reports that strength training at such a young age can cause stunting of growth and development.
Because teenage bodybuilding is such a controversial subject, many physicians and fitness trainers are drawn into the debate. It is important to mention, though that no two bodies share the same physiology. While some teens may achieve their bodybuilding goals, others will fall short.
The Issue of Growth Stunting
The biggest argument against muscle building during the teenaged years is the stunting of growth. The reason for this concern is the growth plates found in the bones. Usually, the growth plates close at age 21 in males. This is why growth ceases after 21 years of age. It is theorized that muscle building can lead to an early closure of these growth plates so that further expansion of bone is inhibited.
However, research has not demonstrated this early closure of the new growth plates. There are even some studies that have shown that with the appropriate exercise and observing the proper form while lifting weight, extra growth can actually be stimulated.
Just take a look at past bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and Dave Draper. These champion athletes began muscle building at a very young age and yet grew to heights that are greater than 6 feet.
One recent example of muscle building in teenagers is actor Taylor Lautner who attained a great body at 16 years old while he was preparing for his role in the “Twilight” film saga. For the present, the factors that govern growth are genetics, diet, sleep, and exercise (although this is still subject to intense debate).
Caution While Exercising
Teenagers should exercise caution when undergoing weight training. If they do not observe the correct posture or proper form while lifting weights, they may end up with serious injuries and back problems, which may persist up to adulthood. The reason for the lack of caution among teens is their eagerness to show off to their friends.
When lifting weights such as dumbbells or barbells, observing proper posture is the golden rule in both adult and teenaged bodybuilders. While most teens balk at the idea of starting with lighter weights, it is important to first develop a sense of proper posture and balance before moving on to heavier weights.
There is also the concern that over-lifting may put considerable strain on the back, which you would hinder the goals of building muscles. While you need to lift pump heavy iron to build bulky muscles, it should not come with serious risks of injuries and disabilities.
Observe a healthy, balanced diet
The key to building muscles is to eat a healthy balanced diet consisting of meat, eggs, and milk, which contain the necessary proteins for muscle building, rice, bread, potatoes, and other calorie-containing foods, and fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals. Junk food should either be minimized or eliminated from the diet.
Good eating habits should also be observed. Skipping meals will only deprive your body of the nutrients needed for weight training. You can also take supplements if there are any nutrient deficiencies in the diet. However, it is important to first consult with your doctor if it is indeed necessary for you to undergo supplementation.
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Observing Proper Form while Lifting Weights
As was mentioned earlier, you should observe the correct form and posture while lifting weights. You can download diagrams from the Internet on proper posture, or you can ask a trainer to check if you are lifting the weights in the correct manner. When doing bench presses, always have a spotter with you. He or she will be the one to grab your barbell if you can no longer lift it.
Other important tips include stopping alcohol consumption and getting enough sleep. These unhealthy habits may wreak its toll on your body so that you become sick and unable to get the necessary weight training. Make it a point to lift the proper weights and eat a healthy diet, and very soon, you will see yourself packing those muscles.