The Iron

I think lifting weights teaches you a lot. It can be a metaphor for many things. Understanding the concept of delayed gratification is is one of the most obvious benefits of training. Henry Rollins has a great story called The Iron, you should go read it.

Of course I want my boys to have as many opportunities as possible, I decided to start introducing them to weights more seriously with the new year. They’re aged 6 and 3.

In Youngsters Need Strength Too Bill Starr sites studies that show there is no effect on growth plates or any other overly cautionary concerns most people have.


Advancing in weight is a distant concern. Here are my goals for them in doing this.

  • be able to lift safely
  • have fun
  • develop the habit of training (it’s something you just do)
  • know what hard work is
  • understand good form

The Program

There’s only one workout and this is it:

  exercise                sets  reps  weight
  ----------------------- ----- ----- ------
  press                   3     5     30
  kettlebell deadlift     3     5     26
  bench                   3     5     30
  kettlebell goblet squat 3     5     15
  rope pull 30 feet       3     1     26

Some random points and rationale about the workout:

  • Workout twice a week not on consecutive days.
  • press is a vertical push.
  • kettlebell deadlift is vertical pull, covering posterior chain and core.
  • kettlebell deadlift demonstrates a neutral spine.
  • bench is a horizontal push.
  • kettlebell goblet squat is quads and core.
  • rope pull is a horizontal pull, some posterior chain and core.

The rope pull is done with a 26 lb kettlebell tied to the end of a 30 foot battle rope. The 3 year old pulls out the empty end of the rope and then the 6 year old pulls the weighted end towards him. Rinse and repeat that 3 times.

The 6 year old is working on good form and staying safe.

The 3 year old does 3 reps of everything instead of 5. Or instead of 3 reps he does whatever the heck he wants to have fun. Usually he’s eager to show how strong he is and he has a smile on his face.