Originally Posted by Ben Joven
I have a extremely athletic 12 year old, who I was just told by doctor is going to be 6' 4"-5" and I wanted to get him squatting, which I feel is the most important movement/exercise for athletic performance.
Just wondering when's the most appropriate to start him on a program like "starting strength" or 5x5?
At 12 years old, the kid has lots and lots of growing to do. The best program Id say for him to start is just a linear progression...Increasing the demand (volume + intensity) by 5-10% at the absolute most from week to week.
I would highly suggest starting without weight or a PVC pipe. Drill in proper mechanics. Tech the kid how to move properly and control his body. The kid should have a perfect squat before adding even 5 pounds to the movement. No matter how athletic the kid is, he needs to learn how to move properly. He is a blank canvas at the moment and he just recently started puberty. Rep Scheme and set progression honestly shouldn't be a focus at the moment for him. Focus on skill development and playing as many sports as the kid possibly can.
Air squat --> Goblet squat --> front squat, back squat, and OHS
I would also teach him how to olympic lift with just the PVC pipe / 15# bar. Strength, Speed, Power, Coordination are all involved with those lifts. Also include plyometrics / agility work (agility ladders, jump circuits, box jumps, jumping rope). Make the program as broad as it possibly can. Run, jump, swim, row, bike, throw, shoot, bowl, climb, roll...etc. Jumping and landing mechanics are crucial in his athletic development to limit the chance of a future injury down the line.
Also another note on his age. He is 12 years old. He has a lot of growing to do and probably hasn't even hit his major growth spurt yet. His long bones WILL grow faster than his muscle length. This is one of the major players in combination with overuse by the kid in developing Osgood–Schlatter disease. Making Sure his Quads, hamstrings, and calves stay mobile is important.
The kid should be most importantly having fun. With a 12 year old athletic kid, its easy to get ahead of ourselves and push-push-push them towards certain sports. That however is the easiest way to burn them out and deter them from sport and fitness, which should stay with them for life. So do what the kid wants to do, when he wants to do it. Teach him life values of hard work and working/earning everything he strives to achieve or have. Teach him that whatever he goes after to focus on the process of constant self improvement through hard work and perseverance. But most importantly, the kid needs to just have fun, play, and learn to move properly.
hope that helps