If you're a guy and you've started puberty, your body will have begun making the hormones necessary to help build muscle in response to weight training. If you haven't started puberty, or you're a girl, you'll still be able to get stronger - you just won't see your muscles getting much bigger.
Before you start strength training, you should be checked out by your doctor to make sure it's safe for you to lift weights. And to reduce the risk of injury, it’s important to learn proper technique and to be adequately supervised.
Any time you start a new sport or activity, start out slowly so that your body gets used to the increase in activity. It’s a good idea to initially perform the exercise without any weight to make sure you're using the proper technique. Once you've mastered the technique, you can gradually add weight as long as you can comfortably perform the exercise for eight to 15 repetitions.
Before you begin any type of strength training routine, get some guidance and expert advice. Many trainers who work at schools, gyms, and in weight rooms are knowledgeable about strength training, but it's best to get advice from someone who is a certified fitness expert and experienced working with teens.
When lifting weights - either free weights or on a machine - make sure that there's always someone nearby to supervise, or spot, you. This person, called a spotter, encourages you and also can act as your coach, telling you if you're not doing a particular exercise correctly.
Having a spotter nearby is particularly important when using free weights. Even someone in great shape sometimes just can't make that last rep. It's no big deal if you're doing biceps curls; all you'll have to do is drop the weight onto the floor. But if you're in the middle of a bench press - a chest exercise where you're lying on a bench and pushing a loaded barbell away from your chest - it's easy to become trapped under a heavy weight. A spotter can keep you from dropping the barbell onto your chest.
Many schools offer weight or circuit training as units in their gym classes. Check to see if you can sign up. Don't be afraid to ask for pointers and tips about how much weight to start with and how to develop a routine.
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