Junior Gym Equipment Guidance: What’s Safe to Use?

When we get in the gym when we’re younger – be it for the first time, or even if we’re experienced – youthful exuberance can encourage us into using some equipment that our still-developing bodies just aren’t ready for. That’s why, even though we here at Everyone Active open our gyms to younger members from the age of 11 as part of our Gym Active scheme, we do put some restrictions on the equipment younger members can use for their own safety.

These restrictions are minimal and mostly surround the free weights, cable machines and bench press racks, but some do ease as you get older.

Equipment All Aged 11+ Can Use

The majority of the equipment in the gym is available for use by everyone and is designed for everybody to enjoy and benefit from. This includes almost all of the cardio machines, some resistance equipment, certain weighted items such as core bags and medicine balls, dumbbells up to a maximum of 5kg and core training equipment such as BOSU balls. The full list is as follows:

Gym Equipment All Aged 12+ Can Use

Once you reach the age of 12, your options widen a little bit. As well as all those mentioned above, you can also start to use the Watt Bike (as long as you are 4 ft 11 inches tall or above), as well as pin-loaded weights. These pieces of equipment require a high level of technique to compete correctly. At this age a juniors shoulders, neck and spin are more susceptible to serious injury if these exercises are done incorrectly.

Gym Equipment Only for use by those Aged 14+

Upon reaching 14, your options expand still further. As well as all those you’ll find above, you can also use the lat pull down machine, any cabled machines, as well as plyometric boxes and steps. Be sure only to jump onto these, however, and not off them. If you’re unsure, however, it’s important you always speak to an instructor for guidance on progression when exercising – and that counts for all age groups.

Cable machines refer to equipment that does not have a single fixed line of movement. Please see some examples of cable machines:

Gym Equipment not to be used by anyone Under 16

Although that is a fairly comprehensive list of equipment that anyone aged 11-15 can use, there are a few bits of kit that we do ask you not to use until you are 16 or over. This measure is only for your own safety as these pieces of equipment can often feature extremely heavy weights that may well injure you either when loading them onto the rack, or in the process of doing the workout itself.

Don’t forget that your body is still growing and developing, so you are more likely to hurt yourself between the ages of 11 and 15 compared with fully developed adults. The equipment we ask you not to use is as follows:

Plate Loaded Machines or Barbells
Bench Press
Smith Machine
Lifting Platforms & Half Racks
Boxing Equipment
Flexibility Equipment

For your safety

Just remember that all these gym restrictions are only in place for your safety and if you stick to them, once you reach 16, you’ll be fitter, stronger, healthier and more able to take on those other pieces of kit. Enjoy!