When Should We Start Lifting?
You can start to lift whenever you want. There are a few complications that come from it though, so you have to be careful with how you approach lifting depending on your age.
Being able to manipulate your body and positioning is very important in wrestling. The better you get at various exercises, the quicker you can move.
Lifting teaches your wrestler how to push through hardships. Some young wrestlers stop moving as soon as they feel resistance. They need to know that they can push through, they just have to put more effort into it. Lifting teaches that concept.
While you're growing it's not a good idea to push too hard. A lot of the lifting can be done with pushing your body weight around. This can include sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, hand stands, hop-overs, rock wall climbing, etc.
You can do more conventional lifting exercises, but if you push yourself too much while you're young you can damage your growth plates. The trick is keeping your reps between 16-20 per set. You can do bench presses, but you have to make sure you're using the right weight.
With whatever lifting exercise you're doing, if you can only do 10 reps, you need to lower the weight until you can get the reps over 16. If you're above 20, increase the weight.
Lifting is not a contest against other people, it's a contest against yourself. You shouldn't worry about how much weight you're doing, but how many reps you are doing. The focus is on increasing muscle endurance, and not necessarily muscle strength yet.
Keep in mind, when your wrestler is 6-10 years old you shouldn't put too much on his plate. The more you force him to do outside of practice the quicker he'll burn out. To make it more fun for him, do the same exercises he does. If you're lifting together, it'll be a fun bonding experience for the both of you.
When you get older and are in the 7th-9th grade range you can start more serious lifting exercises and lower the reps. We suggest you knock it down to 10-14 per set. Again, if you can only do 6-8 reps you should lower the weight so you can get the right range of repetitions. While the growth plates aren't in as much trouble, you still don't want to damage them.
High School And Beyond
When you're in 10th grade or above you're free to do whatever amount of reps you want. We still suggest you keep the reps between 8-12, just to be safe. After high school you are safe to max out or do 6-10 reps, but be careful and make sure you always have a spotter.
TL;DR (Too Long, Didn't Read)
You can start now, but keep the repetitions in a set between certain ranges based on age.
K-6th Grade: 16-20
7-9th Grade: 10-14
10th Grade+: 6-10
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