At what age should we start bodybuilding? is a question that regularly comes up in our discipline. This is an interesting topic to discuss.
It usually goes with another question: at home or at gym? I’d be happy to discuss this issue in a future article.
I have to admit that is a heated topic with different opinions as it’s the case for almost every topic within fitness industry. You must have noticed that by now!
However, there are several parameters to take into consideration. An answer is no more true than another. And if someone assures you that he has the real answer by showing you scientific studies and technical words, you should always keep a critical mind.
Scientific studies can fake results as shown in both articles:
In a consumer society and research of power like ours, it is difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Some are willing to tamper with research in order to get more money.
This is not because a scientific study proves something that’s necessarily true.
This is not necessarily wrong either. As I keep saying, we are all different and the best way is to check things by yourself!
You should always take the two opposite opinions and consider them before choosing one side or another. From experience, there is no right or wrong, it depends on each individual.
What Age to Start?
Recently, I read an article saying that we could start bodybuilding when reaching maturity. According to the author, 12 was a good age.
I think that it is too young to start an activity such as bodybuilding. For me, the ideal age is around 14 and 16 when your growth has already reached some kind of maturity. Indeed, starting too early may jeopardize your body.
The author of the article discussed the possible influences that bodybuilding could have on an individual growth. He was in favor of training at gym under the supervision of a personal trainer.
He said that it was better to lift weights under the supervision of a fitness trainer despite a young age rather than exercising with your bodyweight alone at home.
We can immediately detect the debate home vs gym but as I told you, I will discuss it in a future article.
Let’s start with the factor ‘coaching’. “As the man pointed out in his article, I think that it is essential to use a personal trainer when starting bodybuilding. It applies for both bodyweight and weights training.
It’s not because you watched a video that you know how to correctly reproduce the motion. In order to avoid screwing up your body so young, it is VITAL to know how to properly perform any type of movement.
When I started bodybuilding, I had the misfortune to train by myself without anyone’s advice. I kinda improvise my training after watching videos, leading to some body aches. Fortunately, it did not impact on my growth.
The personal trainer will not only show you how to properly perform the motion, but he will also help you to correct any wrong stance. Some useful advice will always fuel your knowledge of the discipline. It’s not a question of keeping a personal trainer for 1 year but at least enough time to have solid foundations in order to protect your body.
Weights to Stop Your Growth
Conversely, the author of the article claimed that training with weights supervised by a personal trainer will have no impact on your growth. I actually disagree with that statement.
First of all, I think that everything will depend on each individual. Some people won’t have any problems because their body has already reached a certain maturity by the age of 15. Some others are still growing and the use of weights may stop their growth.
Example 1: When I was 12, I used to play football intensively by training every day. We used machines and techniques to develop our legs under the watchful eyes of our trainers.
As I was growing and training too much, I got the Osgood-Schlatter disease: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osgood-schlatter-disease/basics/definition/con-20021911
I had to stop playing football for 6 months (because of complications).
Example 2: When I was 17, I used to train with my bodyweight (different types of pushups, dips, abs, pullups …) while a friend of mine prefers to train on a machine. He puts his back out and the doctor forbad him to do bodybuilding until his growth was over.
Of course, I am sure he didn’t properly perform the motion but he had less chance to get injured by doing pushups than using weights, at least at the beginning.
Bodybuilding as we know it today is relatively new. Weights and machines appeared in the mid twentieth century. Previously, people used their bodyweight to increase their muscle mass.
I think that it is more natural to start bodybuilding with your bodyweight in order to gradually shock your muscles. Of course, it will be harder to gain muscle mass with such training after a while.
When it occurs, it is interesting to switch your program and use weights. Your muscles and joints will already be used to take the stress and impact of a bodybuilding workout. So it will be easier to use those weights.
Can we start bodybuilding later on?
Of course! Not to mention the above paragraph where I said that it is better not to start too young, there is absolutely no age to start bodybuilding. If you search on internet or your entourage, you will find people who started bodybuilding at the age of 50+ years.
Like any other discipline, the most important is to do things correctly. I am going to mention personal trainers again. In addition to showing you the right foundations, he may also advise you on some exercises. Indeed, some will not be suitable for a 50 years old person.
Even though, everything is possible! It is quite plausible to see a fifties bodybuilder.
As you can see, there is no age to start bodybuilding.
We are all different, but it is true that starting too young may affect your growth.
A teenager will begin to be well built around 14/16 years old. In my opinion, this is the best age to start bodybuilding.
Otherwise, whether you are 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years old, do not hesitate to start this wonderful discipline.
Whether you start with weights or bodyweight, be sure to get advice on the proper execution of motions. It is very important if you don’t want to ruin your joints and muscles.
Good habits are learned at the beginning, after it’s too late!