Bodybuilding has become very popular among teens the past few years and with it gaining momentum teens/parents alike want to know what the best and safest age is to start bodybuilding naturally. Most bodybuilding exercises place a lot of stress on your body and depending on your age your body will react a certain way. So for you to clearly decide if you’re at a good age to start bodybuilding we will separate this into 3 age groups and explain the effects of bodybuilding for each age group.
Group 1: Children And Teenagers (Age 9-20)
If you’re around the age of 9-20 years old then your muscles and skeleton isn’t fully grown yet. So since you haven’t reached full musculoskeletal growth your workouts need to be modified by starting with lighter weights to develop proper form (this is the case for anyone new to weightlifting anyways) and to avoid doing heavy compound movements.
In fact doing resistance training for muscle growth isn’t even possible before the age of 13 because testosterone isn’t really present. To keep it simple since puberty comes at different times for everyone until you are able to grow armpit and facial hair you won’t be able to gain any muscle, for most teens that is around the age of 15-16 years old. Lifting before then will allow you to gain some strength, but not any muscle mass.
A common misconception with teenage weightlifting is that people believe it can stunt your growth. Weight lifting will not stunt the growth of any child or teenager, but where this concern comes from is through injuries on a skeleton that is still growing. The most common injury in younger bodybuilders is muscle strains in the lower back and this is due to bad form and using more weight than they can safely do just to show off. This is why children’s and teenagers workouts need to be modified to prevent any injuries that could damage their growth.
So depending on the maturity, coordination and judgement of the teen when they reach the age of 17-18 they could gradually start to use heavier weights only when they have perfected the form of the exercise.
Group 2: Prime Adult Years (20-45)
Between 20-35 most people have reached full growth and at around age 20 you can safely start to build towards using heavier weights. This is the time of your life where you will be able to lift the most amount of weight with the shortest necessary recovery time (around 2 days to fully recover when working out with maximum force). Make sure you take advantage of these years to bulk up so that when you do start to get older you are less affected by the gradual loss of muscle that occurs naturally with aging.
Once you reach the ages of 35-45 you may need 4 days to fully recover from a workout, but recovery periods vary from person to person so if your lucky you may recover even quicker. Furthermore, your testosterone levels have also been lowered by 20% so muscle growth will become very limited once you pass the age of 35.
Group 3: Golden Years (45+)
Once you reach the age of 45 your muscle strength and recovery ability will decrease by around 1 percent a year. This will increase your recovery time from 4 days to 7 days by the age of 50. As you age, muscle, bone and tissue mass naturally decreases along with hormone and testosterone production. So bodybuilding naturally will counteract this effect helping you stay strong and look much younger than your actual age.
To sum up the best age to start bodybuilding would be from 20-35 because that is when your testosterone is at a very high level and bone growth has stopped, so that if you ever do injure yourself it won’t effect your growth. Although, if you’re around 17-20 years old that is also a great time to start bodybuilding because even though your bone growth hasn’t stopped your testosterone levels are its peak. If you would like to use heavy weight it’s up to your own judgement on deciding whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
If you have anymore questions about bodybuilding and age then leave a comment down below.