View Full Version : Is this a good idea for my 11 year old son?

09-03-2004, 04:49 PM
Hi everyone,

My son has been playing tennis for 2-3 years. He has developed good technique for ground strokes but are having difficulties in volleying and serving. The problem is mainly his physical strength. The racquet he uses seems heavy for him (Babolat PD Junior, 9.8oz/98 sq in /6 point HL). For instance, he needs to use two hands for backhand volley. He is relatively small for his age (75lb). But he is quite motivated to improve.

Question: Is it a good idea for a 11-year old to undertake a weight training program. I'm thinking of having him do "Arme wrist roller" exercise to strengthen his forearms and lunges to strengthen his legs. And may be some push-up and crunch..etc.

Any input or reference would be much appreciated.

09-03-2004, 08:49 PM
Yes, it's safe. Just make sure that you do high reps and low intensity. I started "lifting weights" for tennis when I was ten. I am now 16 years old, 6'1" 160lb, healthy and in good shape.

Just don't over-do it and make sure to do HIGH REPS, low weight and only 2-3 sets when you are starting.

I would do things with medicine balls to work on core strength before pushing him to do tough upper body work.

Craig Sheppard
09-03-2004, 09:36 PM
I've always heard that it's not advisable to start kids under 16 or so on a weight-training program. By that I mean a traditional gym routine like bench presses, curls, squats, etc. Exercises that use body weight seem to be preferable--like the ones you mentioned--push ups, pull ups, lunges, crunches, etc. And as the get closer to their later teens, gradually introduce weights.

I'm not a trainer, and I'm not a doctor. Just passing along things I've read in magazines and books. I'd consult a doctor or sports medicine specialist if I were you.


09-03-2004, 09:51 PM
I think it would be the best to keep it simple. One of the reason it's not advisable is that accentuated growth of muscle can hinder bone growth. I would advsie against lifting any weights above shoulder such as power lifting. Keep it to push ups, sit ups, and some squats. I would also suggest on working using nondominant side so that his dominant side doesn't get too much bigger than nondominant side.

09-04-2004, 08:36 AM
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the input. Lots of good points there.

Indeed, I should a) favor those exercises that use his own body weight and high reps instead of heavy weight, b) not ignor nondominant side for balanced growth and c) take it slow.

09-04-2004, 09:21 AM
I'm a former personal trainer and I say yes, let him lift light weights. Have your son take calcium tablets as resistance training can be stressful on the bones, however, it will also increase bone density so light weights and calcium supplements should do the trick.

09-04-2004, 11:14 AM
Like I said, I lifted weights from 10 years old and I am now 16 years old, 6'1" and in good shape. Lifting weights properly will not stunt his growth.

Craig Sheppard
09-04-2004, 03:15 PM
One example does not prove a rule. I may know an 90 year old 2-pack a day smoker, but I wouldn't draw the conclusion that it's fine for others.


09-05-2004, 06:39 AM
From a bodybuilding Q&A site

The whole notion of growth being stunted by heavy lifting is a myth. It didn't do a thing to stunt the growth of Shaquille O'Neal, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Michael Vick, etc. All started lifting in their early teens, and all have gone on to be over 6' tall and star in professional sports. Dave Draper and Arnold Schwarzenegger started lifting younger than that; again, both are 6'1" or taller. Many high school teams start their freshmen on lifting programs, meaning your son started at a perfectly appropriate age. Your son won't find his growth stunted by lifting; rather, he'll find that he grows into his body much better and much more quickly than most of the people around him.

I'd also point out that the compression forces on his legs and spine are far greater in running and jumping than they will ever be in squatting. Compression forces in running and jumping can exceed 5 times his bodyweight. If he's not squatting over 700 pounds, he's generating greater compression in normal daily activities.

I wouldn't recommend that he lift anything he can't do for at least 5 reps until he's 18 or so, but even there the consideration isn't so much the risk of stunting his growth (which won't happen) as the risk of injuring tendons, ligaments, or joints that are unused to the demands of heavy lifting.

I'd further add that at 5'10", he's already slightly taller than the average American male. He may be near his ceiling, height-wise, as it is.

~Chris McClinch

09-05-2004, 11:35 PM
I think you have to be careful in choosing which exercses you do. You see an Olympic power lifters and they are very very short. Genetics will definately influence a person's growth but environment and nutrition is just about as important.

Baseline Basher
09-17-2004, 08:14 PM
If he's mostly just having trouble with the volleys, make sure he knows the proper grip (Continental) and focus on his wrist muscles. (Sorry if this was said already, I'm too lazy to read all the responses.)

09-18-2004, 06:25 AM
I don't think so. Having a kid that young lift weights JUST so he can heft an adult-sized racquet for volleying seems, in my mind, a little twisted. Let it come naturally-you'll probably be surprised at how much stronger he becomes in the next couple years without even the benefit of touching a weight. What's your hurry? You looking to cash in on him soon? Let him mature naturally. Craig beat me to the punch, but at the risk of sounding repetitive, don't take the advice of an imbecile who may cite the examples of pro athletes. Most people are not pro athlete material or physical virtuosos. Your kid is not Shaquille O'Neil; let nature take its course at this point, before you decide to "step in". My two cents.

09-21-2004, 12:39 PM
Light weights might be ok, but I hear that kids can damage their still flexible bones and joints by lifting too much too soon.