When to Start Weightlifting

When to Start Weightlifting

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


Weight training can help build muscles, burn fat and improve balance and coordination - but can be intimidating for newcomers.

New research demonstrates that even when starting with light weights and few reps initially, beginners can still experience significant results.

Children should first become familiar with proper techniques before adding weight, and use a spotter when performing exercises that require lifting above their head. Dumbbells sized appropriately to your child's height will ensure no strain to their neck or back occurs during exercises.

Generally speaking, children can begin weightlifting around seven or eight years old, when they have developed sufficient balance and control over their body movements to begin strength training.

Once your child has done that, he or she should also be ready for an introductory program that emphasizes safe and gradual progression with proper technique - but as with all exercise it is always wise to consult their physician first before beginning any physical activity and don't forget the importance of having a stretching and recovery routine post workouts.

In this article we shall look at the following:

  • Build muscle in your teenage years
  • Muscle building in your 20s
  • Building Muscle in your 30s
  • Building Muscle 40+

When can you begin building muscle mass?

Building muscle requires patience, commitment, good nutrition and correct exercise. 

The urge to gain weight can occur at any stage of life. 

However, there is much debate when it is the right time to begin weightlifting in your life. 

Do you think it's better to begin in your teens or early 20s, or should we wait? 

Let's check the facts. 

Build Muscle in Your Teen Years

Teenage years can be a good time to gain muscle. We are active during these years because our bodies grow and we have a lot of hormones. 

Even those with a high level of activity can look toned without frequent gym visits. Those that put the effort in will see results in a short time. Younger bodies can better respond to training programs and require less time for recovery. 

The gym program for teens should be gradually increased to prevent injury and to minimize damage to their bodies. 

A 2021 study concludes that "age-appropriate training programs that consider the biological maturity of athletes are associated with improved performance and enhanced physiological and psychosocial health."

It's great that teenagers are more enthusiastic, but they can be at risk if you don't learn the proper techniques and follow the right diet from the beginning. It is important to combine cardio with strength training. 

Pros: The age is ideal for gaining muscle mass and developing a strong physique. Research shows that youth resistance training improves cognitive and academic performance.

Cons: Too eager and not interested in a plan that progresses, or sticking to a correct diet. 

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Build Muscle in Your 20s

The best time to build muscle is in our twenties. Our bodies have reached full maturity and can handle more intense exercise. 

At this stage of life, testosterone levels are at their highest. As hormones are important in the building of muscle and body mass, we are better prepared to handle hard training. It is easier to progress as the intense training, building of mass and recovery period feel less difficult. 

Pros: You can improve your health and physique quickly.

Cons: Overtraining can be dangerous

Building Muscle in Our 30s

The testosterone levels of men decrease by about 1% per year as they reach 30 years old. This process continues to age us. The decrease in testosterone is associated with low strength, muscle loss, and an increase in body fat. You can still build strength and muscle mass. 

We must adjust our training to reflect the fact that as we age, we become more frail. A focus on gradual overload is a great place to begin. You can increase your reps and sets by a small amount, but do not overcompensate. A 10% increase is enough to allow you to continue progressing and keep up with the 20-year olds. 

You should also ensure that you are getting the right nutrients. It's important to maintain a healthy diet, and increase your intake of protein. This is also a great time to review your techniques. Don't hesitate to extend the recovery period. 

Cons: It's still a good time to gain muscle. 

Cons: Testosterone is decreasing. 

Build Muscles in Your 40+ Years.

It's more difficult to build strength and muscle mass after 40, but not impossible. The key to progress is to work harder and smarter. Although general muscle loss, as well as fat gain, tends to occur during this time, the correct plan can help combat these issues. 

Sarcopenia, the medical term for muscle loss as we age, is a natural by-product of aging. Sarcopenia is a natural loss in strength and functionality that comes with aging. However, it doesn't have to be the case. If you follow a healthy, sensible diet and exercise regularly, it is possible to avoid sarcopenia. 

Sarcopenia is primarily caused by a lifestyle of inactivity and poor nutrition, or letting yourself go. Give in. We give in. 

In our older years, we take care of our body by building muscle. It is important to stay active, and to consume the right nutrients. 

Pros: Improved muscle mass helps prevent falls and bone fractures.

Cons: Muscle building is more difficult. 


The present is the best time to start. You can build muscle at any age. If you haven't started yet, now is the perfect time. 

It's crucial to have a training plan that is age appropriate and allows the body to grow, recover and develop without any injury. 

No matter your age, you should combine a good strength-training program with a healthy diet. All it takes is a few adjustments, and to keep moving. Never let your age stop you from training. 

Military Muscle provides your body with the nutrition it requires to help improve recovery, stimulate natural testosterone secretion and build muscle.

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