My son is about to turn 12 years old he is 5'6" tall, he has a long and lanky body with no muscle tone. He plays basketball and most of the time he is the tallest kid on the floor yet he still will get out rebounded and pushed around by shorter players. So my question is would it be safe to start him on a weight training and diet program without stunting his growth.


2 Answers 2


He's 12, and you're already heading down the vanity path of worrying about muscle tone? He should be playing basketball, and eating lots of food. His body will adapt to the lifestyle, and he'll get fast and big.

Any weight training should be under the careful supervision of an actual trainer. You should not be his trainer. This is because he needs to utilize perfect form on every exercise, or it can lead to devastating injuries. And let's face it; if you're here asking our advice, then you're probably not the most educated on, say, bench press technique, right?

So just to repeat, because it's important: If you want him to start weight training, hire a trainer, and ask them these questions.

  • 1
    The phrase "needs to utilize perfect form on every exercise, or it can lead to devastating injuries" seems a little hyperbolic. Humans, generally, and youth, especially, are fairly resilient. For example, plenty of routinely people use atrocious form in heavy deadlifts without incurring devastating injury. Feb 10, 2018 at 19:21
  • @ChristianConti-Vock - Just because the injuries don't happen in an instant, doesn't mean they're not happening. Most injuries happen slowly and progressively, and an adolescent body, while malleable, is in a constant state of adjustment as it's growing more rapidly than it ever has or will. So doing the wrong thing at 12 years old, I'd say is certainly a pretty big risk to take.
    – Alec
    Feb 10, 2018 at 20:07
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    Thanks for your reply. I understand that you feel concerned about the onset of injury or damage to adolescents due to lifting weights with imperfect form. I agree that poor lifting form entails a risk of injury. I think it's worth noting that the actual rate of injury in common athletic activities such as soccer (fútbol) far exceeds that in weight training. Feb 10, 2018 at 21:39
  • This article only cares about acute injuries though. It does not account for injuries caused over time, since the injury rates are only observed over 100 hours in each sport. The "devastating injuries" I'm talking about aren't broken bones and dropped weights. As an example, I'm more worried about things like bursitis; damage caused to the bursa over countless hours of flaring your elbows during overhead pressing. Rounded back during deadlifts is also a back killer in the long run, even though we get away with it daily. So I don't think that article is very relevant.
    – Alec
    Feb 11, 2018 at 0:04
  • And to link it to my previous point; a father is not likely to provide the best guidance, since he's not very likely to know what proper deadlifts even look like, or may never have even heard of bursitis. Which is why we hire educated trainers.
    – Alec
    Feb 11, 2018 at 0:06

At this point I'd suggest the very basic exercises like push-ups, pull-ups,body weight squats and dips.These can be performed at any place like home or park.These workout can help to build a very basic but sold foundation for strength training in the future years. Also make sure he's having a healthy diet consisting of enough protein,carbs and fats.Whole foods like rice,fruits,milk, eggs, chicken/fish,and lots of veggies are best for a growing child.

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