Pro bodybuilder and powerlifter Johnnie O. Jackson shares the hard truth on the right age to start lifting weights.

Welcome to the Hardcore Truth With Johnnie O. Jackson – our new podcast and digital series staring one of the strongest pro bodybuilders in the world – Johnnie O. Jackson. Known for his incredible physique, strength, and hardcore training sessions with Branch Warren, Johnnie is gearing up with a mic and camera to share his most valuable lessons from a career in bodybuilding and strength training. For our premiere episode, Johnnie O. Jackson goes in depth on the right time in life to start training. How young is too young? Is there too old an age to keep lifting? And the surprising benefits of weightlifting at a young age.

There’s no denying that lifting weights contains a basic level of danger to it. Even with the correct form, a spotter, and safety equipment – you are still lifting heavy weights around your body. Due to this – some parents have been nervous regarding how young a kid should start lifting. This nervousness can occasionally turn into hysteria whenever a young child goes viral for lifting weights under 10 years old and showcasing a shredded physique.

There is a well circulated myth that lifting too young can stunt your growth but no study has ever been able to effectively proof that. In fact, instilling weightlifting habits into a child can be beneficial. It can lead to better long term health and also teach kids at a very malleable age better health habits that will stick with them in the long run. Many adults hate to exercise – perhaps this is because it wasn’t instilled in them at a young age.

That’s why Johnnie O. Jackson is dedicating today’s episode to breaking down weightlifting and age. He uses his own experience along with the knowledge he’s built in his bodybuilding and powerlifting career to help inform a new generation. Let’s jump into it.

What is the best age to start lifting weights?

The exact age you start lifting weights will depend on genuine interest of the individual. But if a child is interested in fitness, bodybuilding, or sports – Johnnie O. Jackson believes that 10 years old is a great place to start with simple gym weightlifting. This is the perfect age due to two major factors.

First, the child will start to develop good health and focus habits on his own. By learning the process of lifting weights at such a young age, it helps prepare them for a dedicated routine in teen years and adult hood. This is a time when the brain is absorbing everything – and the more good habits the more likely they are to stick. It’s the same way that learning a second language is easier when you are younger.

The second factor is that this provides parents a perfect opportunity to teach proper lifting techniques. A 10 year old kid should not be training alone. Instead, this can be a family group activity and teachable sessions. If the parent or family member helps teach proper form and safety measures – these habits will also stick long term. Johnnie O. Jackson has seen far too many adult bodybuilders who have terrible form and deem it unimportant. Johnnie believes that instilling these proper habits early through teaching will go a long way for young boys and girls who have an interest in sports or weighlifting.

Can you be too old to lift weights?

Johnnie O. Jackson also spends a brief portion of the episode talking about the other end of the lifespan. Are you ever too old to start lifting? The answer is no. Johnnie has worked with many 50 and 60 year old individuals who pick up weightlifting later in life. The results are spectacular. You might not be able to become a Mr. Oylmpia champion bodybuilder – but you will feel healthier and younger. Both cardio and weightlifting are key to feeling more energized, younger, and healthier.

Of course, you must also know your limits. This goes for both very young and very old lifters. Injuries can always occur and it’s important to start slow and learn what your body can and cannot take.

Nutrition Alongside Weightlifting

Johnnie O. Jackson also takes some time to share advice on proper nutrition as you build strength and muscle. As we stated earlier, training at a young age can help develop good habits that subconsciously stick in the long run. So it would also be important to learn proper diet and nutrition during this time of exploration into strength and muscle building.

Hard work in the gym accomplishes nothing without the right fuel in your system. This affects everything from energy, to strength, to conditioning. A young individual’s goals may change a lot over the course of aging – but teaching the fundamentals of a proper diet will do wonders.

Wrap Up

We can break down all of Johnnie O. Jackson’s advice here in a more in-depth article – but why not just learn it from the man himself? Learn about weightlifting young, old, and everything in between in the premiere episode of Hardcore Truth With Johnnie O. Jackson above. And make sure to rate, like, and subscribe to the series either on YouTube or your preferred podcasting platform. We’ll be back with new episodes every Thursday. See you in the gym.

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Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.