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Bodybuilding Workouts and Weight Training Routines for Teenagers

Updated on April 24, 2016

OK, if I'd have known then what I know now...

That's usually how it all starts.

Teenagers, pay attention here 'cause this is going to be gold. Now it may not be the answer you're looking for, but it will be an answer that will set you up for a lifetime of successful weight training, good movement and posture and a strong well developed body.


When you're just getting started you need to build a solid foundation and good habits. Just like any solid structure, it needs to have a good strong foundation. Learning the basics and then build on from there. This first section will be about getting your body used to exercise and movement. You will begin to see some nice changes in your physique too.

We're going to focus on getting stronger and getting familiar with how the body moves. Follow this routine 3-4 times a week and try to improve a little bit each time. Improvement means more perfectly executed exercise. Even if it's the same amount of repetitions, but these repetitions were cleaner than the last time, that's improvement.

This routine can be done in your room, the back yard, a local park, or the gym. You're going to focus on bodyweight exercises for now. This is how the ancients trained and it worked. Let's not mess with a good thing! Also, take the time to research how to do the exercises properly. There is nothing wrong with asking a trainer or coach for help and to check your form.

  1. Deep Knee Bends. Start squatting to parallel and when you're comfortable progress to a rock bottom squat. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions and work up to 3 sets of 20.

  2. Lunges. Alternate sides. Right Leg, Left Leg. 3 sets of 10. Work up to 3 sets of 15 per side.

  3. Pull Ups. Find a bar, a branch, something. 3 sets of as many as you can do.

  4. Push Ups. 3 sets of 10. Work up to 3 sets of 20. If 3 sets of 20 is easy, go get some push up handles and then do your push ups with your feet elevated.

  5. Bodyweight Rows. This classic train at home drill is great for the back and mid section. Place a broom stick on the top, between two chairs. Position yourself underneath it and row. If you got some rings or other type, that works too. You're going to do 3 sets of 10. Work up to 3 sets of 20.

  6. Sit Ups. Feet on the floor, knees bent 90 degrees, classic sit ups. 3 sets of 10. Work up to 3 sets of 20.

  7. Leg Raises. On your back, legs straight, hands to the side, bring your knees to your chest and back to straight again. 3 sets of 10. Work up to 20.

This will get you going. Follow this for at least 3 months and eat well.


OK, so you've been working hard on your beginning routine. You feel comfortable in the movements and you also are feeling and looking stronger. This is because you are stronger and will continue to get stronger. It is now time to plug in the iron!

In these early stages of packing on muscle and building strength, the main idea here is to keep it simple, effective and maximize your current ability to recover and repair. Muscle grows when you are at rest, NOT at the gym.

You are going to expand and build on the foundation you have. You will train hard 3 - 4 days a week. Make sure you're comfortable with and familiar with the exercises. Keep it simple. Here I'll suggest you pick a weight you can do for a starting level of a specific number of repetitions and then set a top number. When you hit the full amounts of sets at the top number of reps, it's time to add weight. Remember to keep a journal and record your progress. Work with these drills for 3-4 months.

  1. Squats 3 sets of 6. Work up to 8.
  2. Bench Press. 3 sets of 6. Work up to 8.
  3. Deadlift 3 sets of 3. Work up to 6.
  4. Pull Ups. 3 sets of as many as you can do with good form.
  5. Dips. 3 sets of as many as you can do with good form.
  6. Hanging Leg Raise 3 sets of 5. Work up to 15.
  7. Sit ups. 3 sets of 15. Work up to 3 sets of 30.

Keep in mind, there is no quick and easy way to get muscles. It will require hard work and dedication. Practice clean movement and good form. In the words of David Whitley, "push yourself, but don't be stupid."

But where are the curls?

"Chin ups are tough when they're done right, but they will really pack inches onto your biceps."

-Arnold Schwarzenegger

You're still laying your foundation. If you follow this routine and train hard, you will get asked, "what do you do for your arms?"


Time to add to the foundation and get down and dirty. We're going to split it up for 12 weeks. Train as close to 3 days on and 1 day off as possible. Keep track of your progress and stay focused on good technique.

Day 1

  1. Deadlifts 5 sets of 3-5 reps. When you can do 5 sets of 5, add weight!
  2. Pull Ups. 4 sets of as many reps as possible. When you can do 4 sets of 10, add weight.
  3. Seated Cable Rows 4 x 6-8.
  4. Barbell Curls. 4 x 6-8.
  5. Incline Bench Curls. 3 x 6-8
  6. Sit Ups 3 x 20

Day 2

  1. Bench Press 5 sets of 3-5 (see deadlift).
  2. Incline Dumbbell Bench 4 x 6-8.
  3. Lateral Raises 3 x 6-8.
  4. Band or Cable Face Pull 3 x 10 - 12.
  5. Dips 4 x as many reps as possible.
  6. Lying Triceps Extension 4 x 6 - 8.
  7. Decline Sit Ups 3 x 20.

Day 3

  1. Barbell Squats 5 x 3-5.
  2. Walking Lunges 3 x 15.
  3. Romanian Deadlifts 3 x 6-8.
  4. Calve Raises in Leg Press Machine 5 x 15-20.
  5. Hanging Leg Raises 3 x 20

On Day 4, rest. Make sure you're getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night. When you sleep your muscles repair and grow. If you're not sleeping well, you're not growing well.


  • Always practice good form. You're better missing a rep then risking an injury.
  • Face Pulls are great for the shoulders and traps. It's also great for the rotator cuff muscles.
  • Calves need to be trained hard and heavy. Make sure to get a good stretch at the bottom.


One of the things I've noticed over the years is that bodybuilding has gone to the extreme. Not a lot of agility anymore, just raw meat and pumped up muscle. Musclebound is one term they use. Good cardio sessions will help avoid that.  You can incorporate your cardio anyway you want.  A good idea would be to do 3 cardio sessions in the morning to get your day started and hit the weights late afternoon, early evening.

#1 - Don't go jogging. If you're going to run, do interval sprints. It's good for the ticker, burns fat, saves muscle. Who "looks healthier", Olympic Sprinters or Marathon Runners?

#2 - If you have access, swimming is a great way to get your heart moving and develop good flexibility. A 15-20 minutes after a workout or on a day off is great for active recovery.

#3 - If you have stubborn calves and want to add a little agility, start jumping rope.

#4 - Avoid "cardio" machines at the gym. Stick to the old school stuff like the bike and rowing machine.

A Word on Food and Supplements

Eat clean. Eat lots of chicken, turkey and fish. Have lean red meat once or twice a week. Eat 6 small meals a day. Try to eat more whole food meals then meal replacements. After training though, have a protein shake. Get 40-50 grams of good solid whey protein and 60-80 grams of quality carbs and low fat. Take a multi-vitamin twice a day. One in the morning and one at night. Drink a lot of water. Work up to a gallon a day.

As far as supplements go, wait. There's no substitute for hard work. Eat right, like I mentioned above and train hard. If you're not seeing the gains you want and you decide to start supplementing, start with L-Glutamine. Then you can add BCAA's.  These amino acids play a critical role in muscle repair and growth.

Creatine Monohydrate. It can be very effective at adding size and helping with strength.  Do the research and talk with your doctor.

Your diet should be like your training.  Simple and effective.  If your nutritional foundation isn't solid, then there's really no reason to supplement.  Remember solid foundation and build from there.

Wrapping it all up

This should keep you going for almost a year and will have built a nice solid foundation for yourself. 

If you trained hard, ate well and got good rest and recovery, there will be a different you looking back in the mirror.

Bodybuilding helped me gain some much needed self confidence as a teenager.  The weight room has always been a place for me to not only strengthen my body, but train my heart and soul as well.  Hopefully it will do the same for you!

Let me know what you think!

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    • JRScarbrough profile image


      4 years ago from United States

      Great tips. I use a lot of them already. I could only dream of having the physique and willpower of Schwarzenegger but I am trying and that's what counts. Thanks for the article.

    • scott33thomas profile image

      Manuel Porras 

      9 years ago from Germany, Colombia, USA, Panama, Mexico, Spain

      Many times when we are young we dream to be men with the physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno

    • David R Bradley profile imageAUTHOR

      David R Bradley 

      9 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Quick note here... recently there were some comments left on this Hub that were cleverly marketing a couple of websites for getting steroids. The comments were made to look like forum posts with actual discussions about timing, cycle length, and brands of steroids.

      So I got three things to say about that.

      #1. To the posters: Not cool. I understand and appreciate your marketing attempts and see how this is an ideal hub to do that on, but this primarily was written for teenagers. I don't know about you, but a growing teenage boy needs artificial testosterone like I need a hole in my head! And it's highly irresponsible to advocate steroid use to someone who's endocrine system is still developing.

      #2. Kids, Young Men and Ladies alike; unless it is your deepest, strongest, driving aspiration to train for and become a world class Olympian level competitive bodybuilder, DO NOT, (and I repeat) DO NOT involve yourself with steroids. Train hard, train smart, and eat clean and often and you will see the results. You don't need to take steroids to build muscle mass and chisel and solid admirable physique.

      #3. I'm sorry I didn't mention this in the actual Hub as teen steroid use is an issue and should have been addressed.

      So that's my 3 cents on that. For those of you who saw the ads, I apologize. Thanks for reading this far too!

    • David R Bradley profile imageAUTHOR

      David R Bradley 

      9 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      bojanglesk8, thank you. I appreciate you reading and your feedback. Let me know if you try any of the routines and how they go!

    • bojanglesk8 profile image


      9 years ago

      Good tips and routine.

    • David R Bradley profile imageAUTHOR

      David R Bradley 

      10 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Wade, thanks for the "vote" of confidence! I appreciate you stopping by and the feedback. Welcome to Hubpages!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice and in-depth! Gives people a good idea of what to expect with the bodybuilding lifestyle, which is important understanding the lifestyle to transform yor body. Vote Up!

    • David R Bradley profile imageAUTHOR

      David R Bradley 

      10 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      TVTopTen, glad you enjoyed it. If you put this one to work, I'll be happy to field any questions you might have along the way.

    • TVTopTen profile image


      10 years ago

      Wow so much content here. You did a great job explaining everything and the videos are a lot of help. Thanks!

    • dealrocker profile image


      10 years ago from California

      Great hub. Cool information. Liked your other hubs too. Joining your fanclub and would like to invite you to join mine. :)

    • stars439 profile image


      10 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Great hub. Arnold was really young. Great photos and excellent work. God Bless.

    • David R Bradley profile imageAUTHOR

      David R Bradley 

      10 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      katiem2, thank you for the kind words, let me know how it goes and what you're teenage athletes think as well!

      vrbmft, always my rock solid support network! Thank you!

    • vrbmft profile image

      Vernon Bradley 

      10 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Wow! So thorough, but so easy to follow. Good for even the older teenager (64), even if just did the beginning and intermediate and didn't get into the dead weights. I hope you get lots of phone calls cause you're a good trainer, coach via blog, so I imagine in person, you'd be awesome.

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      10 years ago from Westerville

      Great Hub... I'm going to share with all my friends with teenager athletes :) Peace


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