Working out as a teenager
There are lots of teenagers and young adults who want to change their bodies and get stronger, obviously many are not fully developed and their bodies will change in due course. Having said that what’s wrong with teenagers wanting to get fit and make positive changes to their bodies?
Does weight lifting stunt growth?
We feel this myth is a bit out dated, there was a previous study in 2009 by Katherine Dahab and Teri McCambridge of Johns Hopkins University suggesting that lifting weight at a young age affected the growth plates on our bones. There has since been studies showing that raising testosterone actually increases bone growth, weight lifting will increase testosterone.
Personally I feel any problem in bone development would come from more impact type activities such as gymnastics or dancing, weight lifting is in a controlled manner and rarely with huge impact on locked out joints so tendons and muscles absorb those forces.
Be smart with your carbs!
Now for most teens you won’t need to worry too much about calories or certain food groups, we don’t want you to get neurotic with your food, healthy eating habits are far more important right now. However what I would advise is be wary of where you get your carbohydrates from, these will be a major energy source for your body but they are far too often coming in the form of fizzy drinks and sweets opposed to fruits, potatoes and rice for example. Sweets are great but try to limit them as they are pretty much void of nutrients and will not aid your health or skin, especially if you’re prone to bad skin.
One thing that troubles many young men is the feeling that they have man boobs or fat on their chest, the first thing to understand is this almost always goes once you develop and naturally build muscle. It will however not disappear if you have a bad diet, over eat and thus are overweight.
You may find you have some hard discs under your nipples, this is the formation of breast places and is part of going through puberty as a male. If you are worried about this or if anything thing feels irregular to you then speak to your doctor.
Press up’s are your best friend, this simple at home exercise will help you define and sculpt your chest as well as your shoulders and triceps (back of the arms). Once in a gym or having access to weights you can use bench press, incline bench press, dumbbell press variations and dips.
For building muscle aim for 3 sets of 10 reps with 60s break in-between each set. You want to pick a weight that you can just lift for your 10th repetition, you may need a friend to spot you and help you if you need it.
With push up’s try 3 sets of as many as possible, you can also raise your feet up or put your hands on a bench or sofa to work the two areas of the chest. The top of your chest is the pec minor and is worked more in incline bench press, incline dumbbell press or push up’s with your hands raised on a bench.
Also understand that there are different stages of puberty and if you are in the very early stages then your male hormones testosterone will not be very high just yet and building muscle will not be as apparent. It’s still great to be active and explore what your body can do all the same.
Ultimately working out as a teen doesn’t have to be much different to an adult but it most certainly should be FUN!