As a 14-year-old, you're probably eager to begin weightlifting and to watch your muscles develop. But don't jump into a lifting program just yet -- proceed very carefully. Your body continues to develop and mature well into your teen years, and you need to protect your bones, muscles and cartilage from potential injuries. A normal weightlifting program for 14-year-old teens should include a hefty dose of stretching and aerobic exercise, along with light weights.
Before starting your weightlifting program, talk to your doctor about whether you're ready for a strenuous training regime. Your muscles will start developing in response to hormonal signals as soon as you reach puberty, so that represents a good time to get serious about weightlifting. However, not everyone reaches puberty by age 14 -- some teens reach it earlier while others don't experience it until a couple of years later. Your physician can tell you whether you've got the hormones necessary to see results from weightlifting.
All your weightlifting sessions should begin with a few minutes of stretching exercises, plus about 10 minutes of easy aerobic exercise, including jump rope or jogging. By doing this, you'll warm up the muscles you'll use for weightlifting and help to loosen your tendons, which can minimize your risk of injury.
When you get to the weightlifting part of your workout, don't try to lift the heaviest possible weight. Instead, choose a lighter weight -- one that you can lift up to 15 times without feeling fatigued. You can use weights designed for adults as long as you don't overload yourself. Instead of focusing on heavier weights, push for more repetitions. In addition, work with a spotter -- preferably, a trainer or a coach -- that can help you perform the exercises correctly.
As a 14-year-old whose muscles are still maturing, pursue a weightlifting program that works all your major muscle groups, including your legs, arms, shoulders chest and core. Plan to work out only two days a week for the best results, since your growing muscles need the days in between to recover and grow. You can perform more strenuous aerobic exercise such as fast biking or running on the days in between. A trainer skilled in weightlifting for teens can help you build a customized program that takes into account your current level of fitness and your goals.