Strength Training Program for Teenage Guys

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teen workout males

Workout program for teenage males

Teenagers are becoming increasingly more aware of their health and fitness needs. Yet, so many of them don’t know how to start a strength training program. There’s so much information out there on social media, so many crazy workouts and gimmicks.

So, we put together a real strength training routine that’s catered to teenagers. These exercises are proven to work. You don’t need to spend a lot of money either. Just put it then work and watch your potential rise.

Is Strength Training the Same as Body Building?

First, what is strength training? Simply put – it’s a type of exercise that uses resistance to build muscle, increase physical stamina and bone density. It’s not all about lifting a bunch of heavy weights.

Bodybuilding and power lifting aren’t the same as strength training either. Those activities are for competitive athletes and adults who can withstand the physical stresses that come with it. In fact, teenage bodies are still growing and changing.

Keep in mind that the skeletal system isn’t full developed until you’re in your early 20s. You could serious injure yourself by jumping under the heaviest barbell in the gym. You’d be surprised at how strong you can become without ever doing a deadlift or a power squat.

Is It Safe to Strength Train as a Teen?

Strength training for teens is relatively safe. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), “generally speaking, if children are ready for participation in organized sports or activities—such as Little League baseball, soccer or gymnastics— then they are ready for some type of strength training.”

Teenagers should only participate in a well-supervised program that is facilitated by trained fitness professionals. A good strength training routine works on all the major muscle groups of the body and allows for enough time in-between workouts for you to recover.

Teenagers also need a strength building workout that isn’t boring. Some exercises are interesting at first, but after a few weeks, teenagers might get tired of the repetition, especially if they’re slow to see gains.

Related: Science Says You Can Jack Workout With Upbeat Music

Let’s Get Started

So, let’s talk about the frequency and intensity of your workout. You should aim for a good 60 minutes of physical exertion in total. Train the upper body on one day, take a day or two to rest and train the lower body on a different day. You can also add a third day if you like, but if you already participate in sports, then two days of strength training is adequate.

Begin your routine with dynamic stretches. Your body must get ready for exercise. These aren’t the type of stretches where you lean in one direction and hold it for a while. Those are called static stretches and they’re best for the cool down period.

Dynamic stretches are meant to rev you up, to prepare your body for working out. For some dynamic stretching exercises, check out this video. It’s great for a strength training warm-up.

Bodyweight Exercises for the Lower Body

It might come as a surprise to some people, but your own bodyweight can provide enough resistance for a teenage strength building routine. Let’s start with the lower body. Afterall, your largest muscle groups are found in the legs.

Your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings are your power banks for most of the explosive movements you’ll need for youth sports such as soccer, football and basketball. Building strong muscles in your lower body will help you perform better in sports.

Bodyweight Squats

2 Sets of 8 to 12 Repetitions

Open your lower body routine with a set of bodyweight squats. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder length apart and bend at the knees. Touch the back of your thighs to the back of your calves and then return to the starting position.

For balance, place your hands on your hips or out to the side. You’re going to want to aim for 8 to 12 repetitions and two sets. Check out this video to get the form just right.

Bodyweight Forward Lunge

2 Sets of 8 to 12 Repetitions

Now, move on to the forward lunge. It’s important to get the form just right to prevent injury. Step forward with your lead leg and place the heel down first. If you lead with your right foot, then dip your body down toward the floor until the front of your left shin is just above parallel to the floor.

Push back up to the starting position and alternate legs. Again, do 8 to 12 repetitions for each leg. If this isn’t challenging enough, then you can add a slight hop in-between your lunge. Wait a few minutes between each exercise and run a circuit of two sets.

Free Weight Exercises for the Lower Body

Free weight exercises employ resistance from movable objects like dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells and other pieces of equipment. Once you've eased into a strength-building routine, you can start using free weights to add variation to your workout.

Dumbbell Lunges

2 Sets of 8 to 12 Repetitions

For the lunges, place a dumbbell in each hand. Hold them down at your sides and use an overhand grip. Take a step forward with your right leg, landing heel first on the floor. Bend at the knee and dip your upper body down until your left knee almost touches the floor, and then return to the starting position. Do 8 to 12 repetitions with each leg to work out the quadriceps and glutes.

Barbell Squats

2 Sets of 8 to 12 Repetitions

For barbell weighted squats, place a barbell over the back of your shoulders. Stand with your feet roughly shoulder length apart. Steady the barbell with your hands.

Now, bend at the knees and waist as if you were sitting in a chair. Keep your knees and toes pointing forward and your back straight. Just 8 to 12 repetitions will strengthen the muscles of your legs.

Here is some more information from to help you get the form just right.

Bodyweight Exercises for the Upper Body

There’s no need to jump in with the weight machines to work the upper body. You can accomplish great gains by starting out with just bodyweight exercises. Focus on core exercises, pull ups and push ups. Just two to three days a week with days off in between will garner great results.


2 Sets of 8 to 12 Repetitions

How many sit-ups should you do? How about none. Sit-ups are so boring. Try some V-ups instead. This exercise works all your core muscles at the same time and can be a bit more challenging than the traditional sit-up.

Start by lying with your back flat on the floor with your legs straight and your arms straight out on the floor over your head. Now, bend at the waist. Keep your legs and arms straight and try to reach for your feet. Your body will make a v shape.

Try a set of 10 to get you started. If that’s too easy, then add repetitions in multiples of 10 until your abdominal muscles feel tight.

Bodyweight Pull-ups

2 Sets of 8 to 12 Repetitions

Next, move on to the pull up bar. This might be one of the more boring exercises on this list, but there’s no substitute for its utility. Pull-ups work your latissimus dorsi muscles, the sides of your back. This exercise is a great way to add definition and girth to slender bodies.

Grab the bar with your arms just wider than shoulder-width. Take an overhand grip. Slowly, raise your body until the chin is over the bar and then slowly lower your body back down to a hanging position. Don’t cheat yourself by jerking or jumping. Leave that CrossFit stuff alone.

Free Weight Exercises for the Upper Body

Free weights are portable and can really help you mix up the routine. You can scale the weights up or down depending on your level of fitness. Essentially, the same exercises can become more challenging by simply adding a plate or moving up the rack to a heavier weight.

Barbell Bench Press

2 Sets of 8 to 12 Repetitions

Next, move on to the bench press. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) determined that the barbell bench press was the most effective exercise to build the chest muscles. Again, not that exciting but results matter.

Lie down on an exercise bench and take an overhand grip on the barbell. Lift the weight from the stand and press it directly over your chest. Do 8 to 12 repetitions of the bench press to work out the pectoralis muscles.

Let these Buff Dudes give you some extra pointers.

Dumbbell Curls

2 Sets of 8 to 12 Repetitions

Dumbbell curls are one of those exercises that just come standard with strength training. You can add lots of variation to the original exercise but it’s important to get a good grasp of the basics first. The standing dumbbell curl builds the biceps, but it also tones the forearms, as well.

Start by holding two dumbbells to your sides with your palms facing your thighs. With elbows to the sides, raise a dumbbell and rotate the forearm until forearm is vertical and your palm faces the shoulder. Lower it back down to the original position and repeat with opposite arm.

A Final Note About Strength Training for Teens

This article is meant to be used as a guide, a starting point for a teenager’s journey in resistance training. You should always work with a trained fitness professional and never lift heavy weights alone.

If you want more information, consider this Bodybuilding for Beginners book (see Amazon). Designed for the novice or for those needing a refresher, this book is loaded with valuable insight, including how to avoid injury and the use of proper technique.

Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout. There are plenty of ways that people might boost their workout – there’s pre-workout powder and energy drinks, but you don’t need any of that stuff to workout. Just get plenty of rest, eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates, protein-rich foods such as lean meat and lots of veggies and fruit.

Try to have fun with this and good luck on your strength training routine.

About Freddy Blackmon 220 Articles
Freddy Blackmon is a freelance writer and journalist who has a passion for cars, technology, and fitness. Look for articles on these topics and more. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.