A 13-year-old boy is too young to bench press. Bench pressing, which is a form of weightlifting or bodybuilding, is an exercise for those who want to bulk up. Young boys entering their teen years don't need to bulk up and have not grown to their full extent. Bench pressing can stunt the growth of young boys and can injure their bones, joints or muscles. Instead, there are other strength training exercises that can be performed.
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Puberty Pressing Problems
Lifting weights to build muscles at thirteen years old damages and puts too much strain on growth plates, which include muscles, tendons and cartilage that haven't had the chance to turn into bones yet, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Most of the damage is due to pressing an overwhelming amount of weight and using improper techniques while lifting. Young boys tend to jump to bodybuilding exercises like the bench press without mastering standard strength training exercises that should be done at thirteen years old.
Strength Training Startups
Instead of the bench press, appropriate strength training exercises will help build the muscles, joints and bones of a thirteen year-old. Strength training can also prevent injury, decrease recovery time and increase endurance. Start with the basic push-up and overhead squat. After learning the appropriate form, move on to exercises that include free weights, resistance bands or medicine balls, like the bicep curl or the lunge and overhead press. When using weights or medicine balls, choose a weight that allows for 12 to 15 reps with no difficulty.
Appropriate Press Age
Although puberty doesn't stop until the late teens, boys can begin bench pressing around age 15 or 16. This doesn't mean that boys at 15 should start "bulking up" or bench press an overwhelming amount of weight. The amount of weight that is safe to bench press depends on the weight of the boy. Boys weighing 123 pounds should start with 90 pounds, while those weighing 132 pounds should start with 100 pounds. The weight should always be kept light in order to perform a high number of reps with no difficulty. Increase or decrease the number of pounds lifted depending on the boy's current weight and the information provided above.
Always perform a five to 10 minute cardio activity, such as running or jump rope, before and after strength training or bench pressing. When using resistance in the form of medicine balls, weights or bands, keep the weight light in order to complete 12 to 15 reps of the desired exercise with no difficulty. Stop the exercise if you feel any pain.