You’re here because you want to look good. You’re here because you want to know how to build muscle, and fast. And that’s great because getting jacked is one of the best things you can do for your physique at any age – even if you are a teenager! Unfortunately, as a teenager, you may not be able to get a gym membership, which means you need alternative options for how to build muscle. Today we’re going to share with you an effective teenage workout plan that doesn’t require a gym membership and can be done at home.
How Does Bodybuilding Work?
Training is basically tearing the muscle fibers so they repair themselves stronger than before.
Fuel is whole, nutritious food. Calories from food including protein, carbs, and fat are what your muscles use to recover and grow after a workout.
Rest isn’t just sleeping time or “being lazy” time – it’s actually critical for your bodybuilding progress because it gives your muscles time to recover after you’ve torn them up in the gym.
Training Basics For Teenagers
So, how are teenage workouts organized? What does a good routine look like?
A lot of people follow programs based on “splits”, which are basically just different workouts for different body parts, and they work out a couple of times per week. Most splits include these muscle groups, along with their respective exercises:
- Back. Seated cable rows, pull-ups, barbell rows, deadlifts, dumbbell rows, lat pulldowns, and pull-ups
- Chest. Bench press, push-ups, dumbbell flyes, dumbbell bench press, and incline bench press
- Shoulders. Dumbbell presses, military press, upright rows, lateral raises
- Triceps. Dips, skull crushers, overhead tricep extensions
- Biceps. Barbell curls, hammer curls, and dumbbell curls
- Quads. Squats, goblet squats, lunges, and leg press
- Hamstrings. Glute-ham raises, lying leg curls, good mornings, and stiff-leg deadlift
- Abs. Weighted crunches (weighted decline sit-ups)
Many of these are compound exercises – meaning they work for several muscle groups at once.
If you’re a beginner, it’s best to do 3 to 5 exercises per muscle group with anywhere from 3 to 6 sets of each. You want to start light when you first begin training and gradually add weight as your muscles grow stronger. As for repetitions? Shoot for 8 to 12 reps per set.
The fact is that building muscle is not rocket science. There are only two keys to gaining mass: intensity & progression.
Intensity refers to how hard you work and what level of fatigue you reach (think of “intensity” as a measure of how much weight you can lift for a given number of reps).
Progression is another key to building muscle, and it basically means that you have to try to lift more weight over time or complete the same exercises with more repetitions. If you can do four pull-ups now, but your goal is to be able to do ten pull-ups in a year, you need to progressively overload and try to do five and then six pull-ups in your workouts until you get there.
If you work hard enough and do it over a long enough period, you will achieve results. However, if you fail to give your muscles a reason to keep growing by staying one step ahead of them – adding weight or reps each time – you will stall, and eventually, stop growing as a result.
That is it! Muscle building is really that simple. The problem is that most people who work out don’t hit intensity levels high enough to stimulate muscle growth. Instead, they just end up getting really good at performing the same exercises, wearing out the joints, and burning out.
Teenage Workout Plan To Build Muscle
There are many workout plans for teen guys and girls to follow. The best teenage workout plan is the one you will actually do consistently.
Here is a sample 7-day workout split:
Day One: Chest And Triceps
Chest: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
- Bench Press or Dumbbell Bench Press or Incline Bench Press
Triceps: 2 sets of 8 to 12 reps each
- Dips, Overhead Tricep Extensions, Close Grip Bench press (on a flat bench)
- Skull Crushers, Overhead Tricep Extensions, or Rope Extensions
Day Two: Back And Biceps
Back: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
- Seated Cable Rows, Pull-Ups, or Barbell Rows
Biceps: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
- Pull-ups or Lat Pulldowns or Seated Cable Row (Wide grip)
Day Three: Rest Day
Day Four: Quads And Hamstrings
Quads: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
- Leg Press or Front Squat or Goblet Squats
Hamstrings: 2 sets of 8 to 12 reps
- Glute Ham Raises, Lying Leg Curls, Dumbbell Stiff-Legged Deadlifts, or Romanian Deadlifts
Day Five: Abs
Abs: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
- Weighted Crunches or Weighted Decline Sit-ups
Day Six: Rest
Day Seven: Rest
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Teenage Workout Plan: Tips For Success
Here are a few ways to ensure you’re building muscle as a teenager:
Keep It Simple
Don’t make your workouts overly complicated or time-consuming. The easiest way to burn out over the long term (which means no muscle growth) is to work your ass off for an hour or two every time you train.
You should do the least amount of work for the maximum amount of effect. Teenage workouts are short and intense, not long and drawn out. The only thing teenage guys need to be concerned with is effort and how hard they push themselves during (and between) sets.
Fuel Your Body With The Right Foods
In order to build muscle, you need to eat a lot of clean, lean protein and complex carbohydrates. Your diet should consist of whole foods in the following groups:
You should eat plenty of starchy carbs like potatoes, rice, and oatmeal. These foods are the best sources of energy for workouts, as well as muscle-building nutrients. Before a workout, it is best to eat a carbohydrate-rich meal, ideally with some protein as well (3).
After workouts, your body needs carbs to replenish glycogen stores and repair muscle tissue. Eating these types of foods as soon as possible after exercising will help you build muscle faster (3).
The best sources of healthy fat are olives and olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, fatty fish (like salmon), and flaxseeds. Healthy fats help you absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. They also aid in hormone production, which helps build muscle mass (1).
Vitamins And Minerals
To build muscle, your body needs plenty of vitamins and minerals. Any foods that contain antioxidants are healthy choices because they can block damage to muscles during intense training. The best sources for these nutrients are berries, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, and tomatoes.
Water is necessary for muscle function and hydration. Teenage workouts can cause you to sweat a lot, so it’s important to drink plenty of water – at least eight glasses a day (10). It is also helpful to eat water-rich foods like soups, fruits, and vegetables.
Avoid Processed Foods
The easiest way to eat clean is to avoid processed food altogether. Forget the cookies, chips, candy bars, doughnuts, and soda. Stick to natural foods so you know exactly what is in them.
If you have difficulty with these guidelines, try keeping a food journal for one week; write down everything that goes into your mouth. This will enable you to get an accurate picture of just how clean or dirty your diet truly is.
Improve Your Sleep Quality And Quantity
Studies have shown that lack of sleep can decrease muscle gains (9). In order to reach your maximum potential in the gym, you must get a full night’s rest. Try going to bed early and taking short afternoon naps if necessary.
If possible, train at least three hours before bedtime. It is important not to lift any weights at least three hours before bedtime, as this can stimulate the body and interfere with sleep.
Exercise In Moderation
Too much exercise can actually inhibit muscle growth (5). Teenagers need to maintain a healthy balance between intense workouts and recovery time. Workouts should not exceed one hour, and it is important to get plenty of rest in between sessions.
You should do no more than 3 to 4 workouts per week with at least one day off to rest and recover. If you train too frequently with too little time for recovery, your body will overproduce the stress hormone cortisol, which causes muscle loss.
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Warm-Up Properly Before Your Workout
Warm-ups are an important part of any workout routine. They prepare the body for intense exercise and prevent injuries (2). You should start with 3 to 5 minutes of low-intensity cardio like jogging on the treadmill, cycling, or jumping rope. After that, do a few warm-up sets of your first exercise before going to lifting weights
Stretch After Your Workout
Static stretching of the muscles is important to prevent injury and reduce soreness (8). Hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Aim to do 3 to 5 stretches for each large muscle group – calves, thighs, back, chest, shoulders, arms, and neck.
The Bottom Line
Whether you are a guy looking to pack on some muscle mass or a girl wanting to have toned and lean muscles, having a proper workout routine is the key. Doing the right type of exercises combined with changing your diet will help you see results much faster.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Dietary fats explained (2022, medlineplus.gov)
- Effects of warming-up on physical performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis (2010, pubmed.gov)
- Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation (2014, nih.gov)
- Health benefits of selected vitamins (2005, nih.gov)
- How Much Exercise Is Too Much? (2013, nih.gov)
- Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A Comparison of High Frequency Strength Training to Lower Frequency Strength Training (2016, nih.gov)
- Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods (2019, nih.gov)
- Stretching Before and After Exercise: Effect on Muscle Soreness and Injury Risk (2005, nih.gov)
- The effect of acute sleep deprivation on skeletal muscle protein synthesis and the hormonal environment (2021, nih.gov)
- Water: How much should you drink every day? (2020, mayoclinic.org)