Muscle Building And Workout Plan For Teenagers

✔ Research-backed

Teenage is an exciting time with several changes happening in the body. It is important to have a workout plan for teenagers during this time to make the most out of this period of growth. During the teenage years, children attain puberty which leads to many physical changes in their bodies. Some of these changes might make them uncomfortable and affect their self-confidence too. According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, obesity was prevalent in 19.7% of children and adolescents aged 2–19 years.

It is important to keep the body fit and in shape to overcome such situations. Making healthy food choices and steering away from having junk food and an unhealthy lifestyle will help build healthy and good muscles. Read on to know how you can guide your child towards making healthy lifestyle choices.

In This Article

How To Build Muscle Mass In Teen Boys

Below are some natural methods that teenage boys can use to develop their muscles while also maintaining good nutrition and overall well-being:

1. Get a physical examination done:

  • Before your teen begins his muscle building regimen, it is important to get a thorough physical examination done by a doctor.
  • It will help to rule out any health related concerns that your teen may have.

2. Be realistic:

  • If other males in your family, including the father and any male sibling, are thin, it is possible that it is a genetic makeup.
  • Your teen will most likely have a relatively thin or lean body as compared to others who may have a more muscular genetic buildup.

3. Ensure there is enough protein intake:

Your teen should consume enough protein in his diet

Image: Shutterstock

  • Your teen should consume enough protein in his diet each day, but make sure he does not go overboard.
  • Taking too much protein on a regular basis will actually work against what your teen is trying to do. All the extra protein that your teen consumes will either get burned off or get stored in his body as fat.
  • Ensure that he eats a healthy balance of protein-based foods on a daily basis, such as lean meats and low-fat dairy. Get a consultation from a certified professional to understand how much protein your son will need based on his height and overall weight.

Josi L. Kilpack, a mother and author says, “I’ve been working on helping my son recognize the need for protein with every meal–string cheese, hard boiled eggs, meat of some kind or another. He’s gotten a lot better at it and admits that he is fuller longer–for instance I used to do Oatmeal for breakfast but he gets to 10:00 and is “starving his face off” so now I make sure I make some eggs too. Luckily, I really like cooking breakfast. When he starts with good protein, he doesn’t seem to be hungry all day long (i).”

protip_icon Point to consider
Studies show that to build and maintain muscles, not just the amount of protein, but the timing of consuming protein is also crucial. Ideally, protein intake should be distributed throughout the day across all meals and snacks for best results (1).

4. Do not cut out carbohydrates:

  • Many people advocate cutting off carbohydrates completely from the diet. However, it is important that your teen has a balance of carbohydrates in his food instead of entirely giving it up.
    Whole grain carbohydrates provide fuel to your son’s body, which helps him exercise.
  • If your teen does not eat carbohydrates on a regular basis, his body will start using the protein reserves to create energy. As a result, his body will not have enough protein that will help in building muscle. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grain based foods are good forms of carbohydrates.

5. Formulate a suitable workout plan:

  • All body composition types react differently to different exercise and fitness regimes. So, it is important to understand the workout plan that will work best for your teen son. To get the maximum out of his workout, your teen should go for low-weight and high-reception exercises.
  • It is advisable that your teen stays away from bodybuilding exercises, as they can lead to injuries and other negative results during the teen years. The workout program for your teen son should include a mix of exercises that will help him build his muscles, strengthen his tendons, and also prevent injury.
  • Your teen can easily try full-body exercises with free weights or use resistance bands to enhance flexibility and endurance. However, make sure he allows his body at least 24 hours of rest between each workout session to cool down. Also, encourage him to indulge in cardiovascular exercises, such as cycling, running, or stretching, to build stamina and stay healthy.

How To Build Muscle Mass In Teen Girls

Here are some natural ways to which your teen girl will be able to build her muscles:

1. Calories are important:

  • With so much negativity around the word ‘calorie,’ more and more teens are trying to cut it out of their foods.
  • However, if your teen girl wants to build muscle mass, it is important that she consumes the required amount of calories on a regular basis.
  • Consuming enough calories will make sure that her body has enough fuel to help her follow a proper workout regime. Take her to a certified professional to understand how much calories she requires daily.

2. Create a schedule:

  • The next step towards a proper workout is to create a resistance training split schedule. Have a realistic idea of how many days a week your teen will be able to exercise to maintain consistency.
  • Once you know the number of days she can dedicate to her workout, divide the body parts to accommodate the days of the workout through the week for effective time management.
  • For instance, if she can only keep three days a week for her workouts, you can break it up into one day for arms and legs, one day for the abs and back and one day for the chest and shoulders.

3. Stick to the plan and create resistance:

  • Ensure that your teenager adheres to their daily workout plan and follows the schedule for each session. Maintain their motivation using positive feedback and help them with realistic goal-setting.
  • Include lots of different types of exercises so that she does not get bored and continues with the workout. You can encourage her to also do a mix of free weights, cables, and machines.
  • Also, whenever possible, let her try out some challenging compound movements. These will include bench press, squats, and lunges. Also, make sure that your teen has enough resistance in her workouts so that she finds it hard to complete the last bit of her reps.
protip_icon Things to know
Resistance exercises help decrease fat, increase the lean muscle mass, strengthen bones, and improve mental health (2).

4. Eat smaller but more meals each day:

Include a mix of lean proteins in your teen girl's diet

Image: IStock

  • The simple rule is to break up the meals into smaller quantities and eat it in a course of five to six breaks each day. Instead of having three heavy meals a day, let your daughter go for some meals but with a lesser amount of food.
  • Keep an interval of at least three to four hours between each meal time so that her body can make the most of what she eats. An ideal meal should include a mix of lean proteins (such as egg whites, chicken, fish, low-fat dairy), as well as healthy fats and carbohydrates.
  • For fats, let her have a variety of nuts and olive oil. For carbohydrates, she can try and include fresh fruits and vegetables as well as oatmeal.

5. Rest is critical:

  • Make sure that even as your teen daughter gets set on her high-intensity workout schedule, she gets ample sleep time each day for rest and recovery. Proper sleep will ensure that your daughter’s body functions go on smoothly as required.
  • Sleeping for at least seven to eight hours each night will assist in regulating her hormonal process, maintain her blood pressure as well as keep her eating patterns and metabolism in check.
  • If your teen does not get enough sleep, it can interfere with her protein synthesis, the process through which her body will build lean mass. Less sleep can also lead to a loss of muscle mass.

Workout Plan For Teen Boys To Build Muscles

Before starting, make sure your teen has a doctor consultation and gets a go-ahead on the health part. Here is a potential workout plan that your teen boy can follow to help him build muscles:

1. Day 1: Concentrate on legs:

  • Freehand jump squats
  • Leg press
  • Split squat
  • Barbell squat
  • Standing calf raise
  • Seated calf raise
  • Romanian deadlift
  • Lying leg curl

For all the above, let your teen go for two to three sets that include 8 to 12 reps each. Also, make sure that your teen gets about 90 seconds of rest in between each set for effective injury prevention.

2. Day 2: Concentrate on cardio:

  • Walking or running on the treadmill
  • Running outdoors

Make sure that your teen takes at least a 20-minute interval while doing cardio.

3. Day 3: Push ups:

Include Push ups in the workout plan for teenagers

Image: Shutterstock

  • Regular floor pushups
  • Incline bench press
  • Flat bench dumbbell press
  • Bent over dumbbell lateral raise
  • Toe touches
  • Bench dips
  • Lying triceps press

For all the above, let your teen go for two to three sets that include 8 to 12 reps each. Also, make sure that your teen gets about 90 seconds of rest in between each set.

4. Day 4: Concentrate on cardio:

For this particular day of cardio, your teen can go for some variation by including:

  • Stationary bicycling
  • Outdoor bicycling

Make sure that your teen takes at least a 20 minute interval while doing cardio.

5. Day 5: Pulls:

  • Butt lift
  • Seated cable row
  • Deadlift
  • Bent over barbell row
  • Wide grip pull up
  • Incline dumbbell curl
  • Concentration curl
  • Underhand cable pulldown

For all the above, let your teen go for two to three sets that include 8 to 15 reps each. Also, make sure that your teen gets about 90 seconds of rest in between each set.

Workout Plan For Teen Girls To Build Muscles

Before starting, make sure your teen has a doctor consultation and gets a go-ahead on the health part. Here is a potential workout plan that your teen girl can follow to help her build muscles.

1. Day 1: Chest, shoulder, and triceps:

Include front dumbbell raises in the workout plan for teenagers

Image: IStock

  • Bench press
  • Dumbbell flyes
  • Front dumbbell raises
  • Triceps press
    Side dumbbell raises
  • Crunches

For all the above, let your teen go for two to three sets that include 10 to 12 reps each. Also, make sure that your teen gets about 90 seconds of rest in between each set.

2. Day 2: Legs, back, and biceps:

  • Leg extensions
  • Leg curls
  • Calf raises
  • Dumbbell curls
  • Wide grip pull downs or chin ups
  • Back extension

For all the above, let your teen go for two to three sets that include 10 to 12 reps each. Also, make sure that your teen gets about 90 seconds of rest in between each set.

3. Day 3: Repeat day 1

4. Day 4: Repeat day 2

Diet Plan For Teen Boys To Build Muscle

To make sure that your son gets the best out of his diet plan, take him for a doctor consultation to understand his specific requirements. It will help to understand exactly how much of what food category your teen needs and if you need to add or remove anything from the teen’s diet chart. Here is a broad look at the type of diet plan your son should follow while he tries to build his muscles:

  1. Breakfast: A mix of oatmeal, almonds, skimmed milk, kiwi fruit and coffee.
  2. Mid-Morning Snack: Non-fat whole-wheat crackers and low-fat cheese.
  3. Lunch: Cooked brown rice, cooked cauliflower, fat-free cookies, salad with lettuce and baked fish.
  4. Evening Snack: Low-fat yogurt with ground flax seed and plum.
  5. Dinner: Mashed potatoes, baked chicken breast, and steamed broccoli.

Diet Plan For Teen Girls To Build Muscle

To make sure that your teen gets the best out of her diet plan, take her for a doctor consultation to understand her specific requirements. It will help to understand exactly how much of what food category your teen needs and if she needs to add or remove anything from her diet chart. Here is a broad look at the type of diet plan your teen girl should follow while she tries to build her muscles:

  1. Breakfast: Banana smoothie, skimmed milk, peanut butter, scrambled eggs and wheat bread.
  2. Mid-Morning Snack: Whole grain crackers and hummus.
  3. Lunch: Cooked brown rice, grilled fish, frozen berries, boiled spinach and sweet potatoes.
  4. Evening Snack: Fat-free cheese, wheat bread, and low fat skimmed milk.
  5. Dinner: Whole wheat pasta salad made with cheese, chicken cubes, orange, bell peppers, and tomatoes.

Drink sufficient water before and after meals to maintain optimum hydration levels for proper digestion and metabolism.

Safe Muscle Supplements For Teens

Include supplements, like multivitamins and fish oil, for teens

Image: Shutterstock

Here are some of the best types of supplements that your teen can have while trying to build muscles. Seek guidance of a certified professional to understand what will work best for your teen and to rule out any specific health concern:

  1. Protein Powders: Protein powders that include a combination of whey and casein. These will help to release amino acids in your teen’s body and will enable faster digestion as well as improve the recovery process. The best protein powder that your teen can take through the day is one which contains a mix of whey as well as casein. Right after a workout, your teen should have a protein powder which contains whey, as it will help to absorb the protein faster. During the night, your teen should have a protein powder that contains casein, as it will help to slow down the digestion process and release the amino acids slowly.
  1. Multivitamin And Mineral Supplements: These will help to replenish any deficiency that your teen may have regarding getting the same from fresh and natural sources of food. They will help the body to function smoothly and will aid in your teen’s muscle growth. Multivitamins and mineral supplements will also help to keep your teen healthy.
  1. Antioxidants: These will help your teen’s body fight against free radicals and thus prevent any damage to the cells. It is especially useful while your teen is involved in some heavy duty workout and exercise.
  1. Meal replacements and RTDs: Most meal replacements and RTDs contain a mix of proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates as well as vitamins and minerals in some cases. It will help your teen have almost a solid meal when there is not enough time to do so. You can also let your teen carry the same to class when there is not enough time to eat a proper meal. If your teen is engaged in an extensive workout plan through the week, it is important to eat healthily. Meal replacements and RTDs will help to take care of the same.
  1. Fish Oil: It contains omega 3 which is very important for your teen’s overall health.
  1. Creatine: It will help your teen continue with the workout effectively as well as improve overall strength. There are reports that in some cases, using creatine could lead to issues with the kidney. While most experts feel that in such cases, the issue was already present and only came into focus after using creatine, do take your teen for a kidney test before starting on creatine.
  2. Mass Gainer: A mass gainer will especially come in use if your teen eats healthy but is still not able to gain any weight. The mass gainer shake will help to boost the calories which will in turn help to balance out the energy in your teen’s body. In case your teen does gain weight by eating and exercising right, steer clear of the same, as it may have an adverse effect.

While building muscle is important, remember that not all teens will gain the same through the same way. What works for some may not work for others, so understand your teen’s needs and body type and help devise a plan accordingly. It’s always best to discuss with a pediatrician and a registered dietician so that you can adequately meet your child’s nutritional needs while they build their muscles.

With only 23.2% of students participating in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day of the week, most students fall short of recommended guidelines. Surprisingly, fewer students (16.5%) met aerobic and muscle-strengthening guidelines. Despite physical education classes being available all five days in a typical school week, only 25.9% of students attend them consistently. These findings suggest that new approaches to encourage more physical activity among students must be considered.

High school US students engaging in physical activity and physical education

Source: Dietary and Physical Activity Behaviors Among High School Students — Youth Risk Behavior Survey, United States, 2019; CDC

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can jumping and kicking make my teenager taller?

Jumping and kicking are good exercises to increase bone mass and density at puberty. However, they cannot make a teenager taller, as genes largely determine an individual’s linear growth. Instead, helping your teen follow a healthy routine, including eating a well-balanced diet, exercising daily, and taking adequate rest, can help them reach their full growth potential (1).

2. Do skipping and plank exercises increase breast size?

Skipping and plank exercises cause vigorous breast movement and improve posture. However, no direct research establishes a connection between skipping and breast size. Instead, plank exercises shape your body and avoid drooping of breast tissue (2).

3. Do chest workouts affect breast size?

Chest workouts can help strengthen and tone the muscles beneath the breast tissue. However, they will not directly affect the breast size because it is mainly determined by the amount of fatty and glandular tissues they contain, which is not affected by working out chest muscles.

4. Do push-ups stop height?

Push-ups target the chest and upper body muscles and have no direct effect on height. Instead, height is primarily regulated by the genes and the overall growth and development of the bones and joints in the body.


A well-designed workout plan for teenagers can help them benefit in multiple ways. Muscle building may be considered the most important aspect of having a healthy body. Remember that not all teens will gain the same benefits through the same form of workout. What may show results for one may not work the same way for others. Therefore, you must understand your teen’s body type to devise a workout plan according to their requirements. It’s always best to consult a healthcare provider to know your child’s nutritional needs while they build their muscles and attain their healthiest versions.

Infographic: What You Should Know About Muscle Building In Teens

Building muscle as a teenager may help them improve their overall health and fitness. However, teens have unique nutritional needs, and their bodies are still growing and developing, so their journey to muscle gain can only work with the proper techniques and tips. Here is a brief checklist to achieving success in teenage muscle growth.

a guide to teenagers muscle gain journey (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Physical exercise and a healthy diet are essential to lead a healthy life.
  • A physical exam should be done to rule out health conditions and formulate an effective workout plan.
  • Diet (including ample protein intake) is as important as exercise and should consist of moderate portions of various nutritious foods.
  • A muscle-building workout plan for teenagers should focus on strength training and include exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, and bench press.
  • Before exercising, it is essential to stretch and warm up to prevent injury.
  • The approach should be gradual and well-planned to prevent muscle strain and injuries.
Workout Plan For Teenagers_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. The effects of jumping exercise on bones.
  2. Exercise and breast support
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Dr. Misha Yajnik is an American Board Certified general pediatrician practicing in the US. She did her undergraduate studies at Youngstown State University in Ohio and obtained her MD degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica. With 12 years of experience with children from newborns to adolescents, her special interest lies in helping parents navigate the difficulties full bio