How Much of a Dumbbell Lift Should a 13-Year-Old Do?

Bar bells on a rack in a gym. (Image: paocca/iStock/Getty Images)

Lifting dumbbells can reduce the risk of sports-related injuries and help muscles work more efficiently. Teens should focus on lifting to build strength and tone rather than to build big biceps. Lifting weights that are too heavy can cause damage to the tendons and ligaments of still developing bodies.

Use Lighter Weights

Thirteen-year-olds should focus on lifting smaller weights with more repetitions. Lifting heavier dumbbells may cause damage to the musculoskeletal system, which does not fully mature until around age 20. Choose a dumbbell you can lift for two sets of 10 repetitions without undue fatigue. Lifting should challenge the muscle without causing you to lose your form or make your arm feel wobbly.

Focus on Form

Talk with fitness center or school staff to be sure you use the correct form with each lift. Use a dumbbell that weighs no more than 5 pounds until you have had a good opportunity to practice and become comfortable with your form.

Avoid Overtraining

Lift dumbbells just two or three days each week for no more than 30 minutes. Do dumbbell curls to develop stronger biceps. Be sure to give your body a rest day between each lifting session.

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