These are your questions. You asked—we answered.

Steve: Okay, we have a question from Franco Renata. This question is about teenagers and powerlifting. "Can joints and the spine handle the torture of massive weights?"...Which presupposes that a teenager would use massive weights.

Dave: How do I answer that...I mean, I started as a teenager. You know, so I started actually when I was 12, I competed when I was 13. You know, now I'm 44 and my joints are trashed. So, you know, I don't know if I would be the...what do they call that—the example or the exception. Um, for the most part, my general stance on this is, you know...he said joints and tendons?

 Steve: Uh...joints and spine.

Dave: Okay, for the most part, your joints are only going to be able to handle so much, and a lot of that's going to be predisposed to joint/bone structure and genetics. You know, as I wrote in my one article, I think I've done over, I forget what it was...6,000 squats or...6,000 workouts I think it was. And over a million loaded repetitions throughout my days. Um, that's gonna have an effect. It's definitely gonna have an effect. But, at the same time, if all your muscles are firing correctly and your technique is correct, I don't see why, you know, you can't continue to lift heavy all the way until you're 80 and be healthy. You know, I made a lot of bad decisions training through and training around injuries that I probably shouldn't have done. I'm sure there were a lot of times that a lot of my stabilizers were completely fried, so there was more stress being put on my joints than what should have been. A skeleton can't handle anything. You know, if I took a human skeleton and put it right here and loaded a broomstick on it, it's gonna fall. It can't stand by itself. It needs a steel pole just to stand up. Okay, so bones can't handle any weight. You see what I'm saying? The muscles and the tendons and the ligaments are what keep the spine and the bones in place. So that's where the load should be going. If the load is going into the joints improperly, well then that's when there's some activation problems and some other things that are going on. So, now when you're dealing with teenagers, the only...where I'm really hesitant with that is young kids and teenagers all develop differently—they all mature differently. You can show me a 13 year old who's going to look like he's 19 years old, and his bone structure's going to be suited like he's big boned and can handle it. And you can show me another one that looks like he's still in the fifth grade. You know, so it's really individual and it really depends. You know, I think for the most part, the younger lifters need to...they really need to focus on their technique, man. I mean, YouTube is disgusting to watch sometimes. You know, it's...a younger lifter should—with their goal, if they want to be a powerlifter or be an athlete, football player, or whatever it is...if they want to go to the next level—say they are in junior high and want to play in high school. Their goal should be able to go into the high school weight room and make the coach's job easier. Let the coach make them strong—not spend all their time developing technique. If they're a high school athlete and want to go on to college, that should be their goal. To go into the college weight room, so the coach doesn't have to sit there and say, "we have to spend the first two years just teaching them how to do the lift, and the next two years teaching them how to be strong." Now, if they learn how to do the lift in high school, now when they get to that next level, they can start getting stronger immediately. And it's at that next level when you're starting to deal with more qualified people that know how to get them strong. From a powerlifting perspective, you know, it doesn't really matter what I'm going to say one way or another to any kid, especially to a teenager. If they're convinced they are going to do a meet, they're going to do a meet. You know, there's no way about that. But I think that technique is the most vital and most important thing that's going to have the greatest longevity in their sport. Because if you train for years of poor technique, yeah, you're gonna have problems.

Stay tuned for more episodes.


Previous Episodes:

Your Questions Answered, Part 1

Your Questions Answered, Part 2

Your Questions Answered, Part 3

Your Questions Answered, Part 4

Your Questions Answered, Part 5

Your Questions Answered, Part 6

Your Questions Answered, Part 7

In this episode, Dave shares his view on teenagers involved with powerlifting and weight training.