It seems that at least once a week I have a conversation with one of our members that goes something like this
Member: God the teenagers that train here don’t know how lucky they have it.
Me: Why do you say that?
Member: Because If I had been taught how to do everything right from the age of 16 I’d be way stronger than I am now.
Me: Yeah, imagine if we hadn’t wasted the first few years of our training lives doing stupid shit that got us nowhere.
Like most people who go to the gym most of the guys that train here spent between the years of 17-early 20’s following some bodypart split that they found on bodybuilding.com or just copying other guys in the gym.
Our teenagers don’t get to make them mistakes. From the first time they step through the doors they’re taught proper form (and we’re pretty goddamn strict with them), they’re put on a proper program, they’re given mobility drills, nutritional advice, recovery advice, access to decades of training knowledge and learn from our mistakes as to what to avoid.
I can’t take full credit for this, all of our members will stop mid set to help each other if it’s needed. That’s the attitude we’ve tried to create in the gym. A place where everybody coaches everybody and nobody is better than anybody else.
There’s two kids I want to talk about with this to show you what I mean.
First up is Rourke.
Most of you that follow our social media will have heard of Rourke before. He’s the youngest member of our powerlifting team at 16 years old and is a week away from competing in his second IPF powerlifting meet. Rourke came to us about 18 months ago as a gangly, uncoordinated 6 foot 3 rugby player. And we trained him as such. Strength and power development, hypertrophy training and sports specific conditioning.
After maybe 8 months of training it became pretty obvious that Rourke was getting as strong as hell and a few months after that he decided he wanted to give up rugby to pursue powerlifting (something which I argued with him about for months before eventually relenting).
Since then Rourke has been training as a powerlifter, to be as strong as possible in the squat, bench press and deadlift, while maintaining decent levels of hypertrophy and mobility.
Now bearing in mind that Rourke is 16 years old and weighs about 90kg. His best lifts are a 155kg squat, a 107.5kg bench press and a 200kg deadlift. At 16 and after only been training 18 months!! I remember attempting my first 200kg deadlift at 23 years old. That’s the advantage of training correctly from the beginning!
Next up is Kevin.
Kevin is also 16 and first touched a weight last July during one of our Teenage summer camps.
In less than a year Kev has gone from never having touched a weight before to (at 70ish kg) squatting 145kg, benching 75kg and deadlifting 170kg. You won’t find many 16 year olds that squat double their bodyweight and deadlift over double bodyweight and Kev did it in less than a year. Again, testament to learning to lift properly from the very beginning and not having the chance to fuck around with bad programming and bad technique.
I could go on. I could talk about Ross, the 17 year old soccer player who deadlifted 150, regularly smashes 48 inch boxjumps and can squat 120kg. Or Emily, the 12 year old who squats 50kg for reps and deadlifts 60kg for reps. Oh or I could talk about Paul the 16 year old IDFPA world champion powerlifter who deadlifts 210 faster than I do.
The point is this. If you train correctly from the beginning you set yourself up to be in a far more advantageous position years down the line.
So yea, our members are right. Our teenagers in KAOS are lucky. But luck doesn’t do it on its own. They all buy in to the plan, stick to it and work damn hard.