Programming for 13 year old son Programming for 13 year old son

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Thread: Programming for 13 year old son

  1. #1
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    Default Programming for 13 year old son

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    Son, age 13.5, 5’3”, 115lb.

    Probably well into Tanner Stage 3, but not quite to Stage 4 (by my limited understanding)

    He has been lifting with me for about a year, but he plays soccer basically year round and I work a lot, so it has been 2x a week at best and 0x a week at times. We’re trying to make some progress while soccer is off.

    Still, my schedule is such that I can only coach him twice a week for an hour max each. From a safety and/or coaching standpoint, I need to be there for squats, bench, and power cleans. He can handle dead, press, and chins without me (with periodic form checks).

    Given the above, should we
    a) “do the program” but only twice a week,
    b) do the 4-day split below, where I coach Monday and Thursday (what we are currently doing)
    c) something else
    d) doesn’t matter, he’ll get stronger just sitting on the couch (no doubt this seems true right now)


    Monday-w/ Dad
    Squat 135x5x3
    Bench 55x5x3 (just got a bench 2 weeks ago; pushups previously)

    Tuesday-alone
    Dead 150x5
    Press 47.5x5x3
    Chins x5-8x3 (banded, reduce assistance as able)

    Thursday-w/ Dad
    Squat 140x5x3
    Bench 60x5x3
    Power Clean 65x3x5 (struggling with form)

    Friday-alone
    Dead 155x5 (sub Pwr Clean here eventually)
    Press 50x5x3
    Chins x5-8x3


    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Why squat/dead consecutive days? 4 day splits work something like :lower, upper, day off, lower, upper.

    Monday: Squat / Deadlift
    Tuesday: Press / Chins
    Thursday: Squat / PC
    Friday: Bench, Chins?

    or

    Monday (NLP A), Thursday NLP B

    What does your son want to do?

    If he wants to run / practice soccer a lot and he is active what about trying 2 days lifting a week and eating more.

    Is there benefit to a 4 day split if you aren't working hard with accessory work and eating enough?

    Can you get him to eat more? (he's very skinny).

    You aren't that busy you can't spend 1 hour and 15 minutes with your son 2 days a week, if you are then you need some adjustments IMO.

  3. #3
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    I did (A) for a female 13 year old client of mine and it worked well. She has been extremely determined and consistent throughout the entire process which helped. At the end of the day, this is all going to be a "try it and see" approach. As Rip always says though, if he doesn't want to do it, don't make him.

    There are other coaches with a lot more experience than me coaching kids, and I'm sure they'll have input.

    (D) is going to be true for most situations, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't plan intelligently. Don't use it as an excuse to not think critically or plan, which you clearly aren't since you're on here asking for help.

  4. #4
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    I think "D".
    At this age developing and understanding the importance of consistency is what would be the biggest gain.
    If you are concerned with his numbers increasing the best thing you can do is feed him a lot more than he is being fed now.
    Steak, eggs and milk is the best training program at this age IMO.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the input.

    The responses have helped me clarify what I am really trying to work through, which is: what is the best thing to do for the next month or so (given his extra time and my schedule constraints), understanding that a 2 day LP is the way to go when he is back in season and that a 3 day LP will likely be doable in future off seasons (when he will need less supervision and/or my schedule will open up some). I’ll be there for bench days under any program. He’s got two younger brothers, so “no one benches without Dad” will be the house rule for the foreseeable future.

    So the question is, under the current circumstances, is option “b” better than “a”.

    On squat/dead, the workload and SRA cycle are similar, the way I look at it:
    “a” is squat, partial recovery (20 min), dead, full recovery (72-96hrs), repeat;
    “b” is squat, partial recovery (24 hrs), dead, full recovery (48-72hrs), repeat

    On press/bench, the
    “a” probably leaves something on the table (1x per week/lift v. 1.5/week on a standard 3-day LP;
    “b” could be too much (each lift is 2x per week/lift v. 1.5/week on a standard 3-day LP)

    We could get closer to standard LP for bench and press with :
    Week A: Mon-Bench Tues-Press Thurs-Bench Fri-N/A
    Week B: Mon-Press Tues-N/A Thurs-Bench Fri-Press


    Regarding weight gain, I understand that this is important and is the common downfall of many teenage boys (including my younger self). He is doing a great job with it in the sense that he is eating well, is always looking for protein, and understands that this leads to strength gains. While I agree, he needs to eat, I wouldn't say he is very skinny. He's got at least 10lb on the standard skinny 13 year old kid his same height (he might only be 5'2"). My current thinking is to pick our battles and wait to really push hard on this when it is clear we are in Tanner stage 4 and the testosterone is really flowing (maybe 6 months from now)

  6. #6
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    the training is pointless if he isn't overeating large quantities of beef, milk and eggs.
    Its funny how much time and detail people will put into a training program and how little time and detail they'll put into making steaks and roasts.

  7. #7
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    You're right to pick your battles in this instance. Including food, you shouldn't be pushing hard for him to do anything with training. You have to think of yourself as a guide who is assisting him on his own progress. You are not an expert or his soccer coach or his principal - you are first and foremost his father. If he wants help, help him. If he wants coaching, coach him. If he wants to train, and not eat enough, just let him do that with the understanding that he might not make the progress he wants if he's unwilling to eat. I'm not trying to imply that you're pushing him to do anything he doesn't want to do. I just want to make clear what kind of relationship you need to understand you have in this endeavor.

    MAD9692,
    The training is not pointless if he isn't overeating protein. If he changes nothing about his diet, he will still make strength gains, he will still learn the lifts for later when he's potentially willing to eat correctly, and he will still enjoy the time he spends with his father.

    Regarding programming, I would stick as close as possible to LP. Don't overthink this stuff. If he's happy to get in the weight room, learn the lifts, and is consistent, that's a huge win and he'll make progress.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewLewis View Post
    MAD9692,
    The training is not pointless if he isn't overeating protein. If he changes nothing about his diet, he will still make strength gains, he will still learn the lifts for later when he's potentially willing to eat correctly, and he will still enjoy the time he spends with his father.
    I respectfully disagree.
    If the goal is to get the kid, stronger, putting good weight on the kid is the best way to do it. He is 13. Not 15. There are 11 year old on my son’s lacrosse team that already weigh 115lbs. They dominate because of their size compared to the standard 80lb kids.
    Also, the OP’s son is already playing a sport all year long and now he’s on a 4 day split?
    How can he recover? How much fun will he have training juggling this intense schedule at this age? Does burnout come into play? Sure, the training will be valuable with respect to the mental lessons learned and he will gain some strength but wouldn’t it be more valuable on less training and more eating?

    Also, OP. I’m not being a dick here. Just bored with quarantine and this is a good discussion to have. Thank you for your post.

  9. #9
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    During the VA lockdown I trained my daughter (13) and son (11) with good results using LP with this modification: as we added weight to the bar they did 3x3, then next workout 3x4, then 3x5. If they did 3 solid sets at 5 reps they unlocked the next level: add weight to the bar.

    This “unlock the next level” approach seemed to engage their competitive spirit and prevented too much too soon and missed lifts.

    What I couldn’t easily overcome was boredom. At three months in, quarantine was lifted and although they were proud of their progress They wanted far away from the house and garage gym

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by MAD9692 View Post
    I respectfully disagree.
    If the goal is to get the kid, stronger, putting good weight on the kid is the best way to do it. He is 13. Not 15. There are 11 year old on my son’s lacrosse team that already weigh 115lbs. They dominate because of their size compared to the standard 80lb kids.
    Also, the OP’s son is already playing a sport all year long and now he’s on a 4 day split?
    How can he recover? How much fun will he have training juggling this intense schedule at this age? Does burnout come into play? Sure, the training will be valuable with respect to the mental lessons learned and he will gain some strength but wouldn’t it be more valuable on less training and more eating?
    .
    You used the phrase "the training is pointless if..." not "the training will be suboptimal." If you had said that, I would have agreed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Flying_tiger View Post
    During the VA lockdown I trained my daughter (13) and son (11) with good results using LP with this modification: as we added weight to the bar they did 3x3, then next workout 3x4, then 3x5. If they did 3 solid sets at 5 reps they unlocked the next level: add weight to the bar.

    This “unlock the next level” approach seemed to engage their competitive spirit and prevented too much too soon and missed lifts.

    What I couldn’t easily overcome was boredom. At three months in, quarantine was lifted and although they were proud of their progress They wanted far away from the house and garage gym
    I bet they wanted out, but now they have three months of experience doing something that can potentially bring them value throughout the rest of their lives. So, great job.

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