I, too, was a teen once and I have to say when I went to school I never really had anyone teach me what to do in the gym. I remember seeing mainly guys and a few girls in the weight lifting room for weight training class and guess what they were all doing? Chest! And the girls, gosh, poor girls were just doing random things like calve raises or bicep curls on a machine.
I also remember playing soccer throughout my teenage years, but we were also never taught how to train our bodies to be stronger for the sport and avoid injuries. And when I did track, they would say at the end of practice: “Go to the weight room and lift”. The girls and I would go and do bicep curls with an easy curl bar as heavy as we could. Luckily, we didn’t get hurt, but we totally could have. Actually when I think about it, I got hurt a lot while playing soccer.
Now with all this technology, kids and teens are losing connection with their bodies and have become more sedentary because of it. And when they start seeing themselves gain weight they may attempt joining the gym or just continue to gain it because they have no idea what to do. Plus, in the gym, unless they have a personal trainer there’s no one there to instruct them and they end up doing what their friends do. In the end, they spend hours on the treadmill, which will amount to not a whole lot of progress.
I’m writing this article because I want to guide teens in the right direction. I know the importance of building a solid body foundation , especially as a developing teen. This is also a time to build self confidence, be mentally focused, reduce stress (teenage years can be stressful with all the expectations from parents and teachers while finding your own voice) and enjoy these years to the fullest, instead of worrying about appearance and lacking self esteem.
Best workout routine for teens
I worked with 3 teens for a show on MTV called I Used to Be Fat in which the kids were desperate to lose weight, feel great, and lead a happier life.
The result: They lost a lot of weight, got stronger, and gained self confidence! They also were able to experience a completely different life and a different perspective, from very down and negative, to up, open, and positive.
For the best workout routine for teens, I recommend focusing on the core.
A good combination is, bodyweight movements (styles such as yoga, functional training, Pilates, animalistic movements, Karate), and locomotion whether it is running, hiking, biking, sprinting and walking.
Here are a few ways to get the most out of your workout routine to get healthy, lean and toned, and be able to truly concentrate while in school!
Cardio: Instead of just doing hours on end on the treadmill, do short burst of sprints (run as fast as you can).
Warmup first for 5 minutes or until you feel the body get a bit sweaty. Then increase the speed to go as fast as you are able to for 20 seconds. Take 20 second brake and then repeat your 20 second sprint. Do this for 6 minutes and up to 12 minutes, allowing your rest periods to be longer if you need extra time to be able to perform the full 20 second sprint. Preferably do it outside. The treadmill is the next best choice.
Work on that core: To increase your metabolism, gain muscular endurance and a stronger core, don’t just go out and run miles and miles and then do a ton of crunches. This won’t help much unless cross country is your sport. Try this short 2 minute workout routine instead:
Practice planking: Planks are some of the best exercises for a super strong core. Try this workout routine for planking:
Don’t settle for the gym equipment: To get a strong and toned body, don’t just settle for the machines. Use your whole body during your workout routines! Do squats, deadlifts, push-ups, and pull-ups. And if you can’t do full pull-ups or push-ups, then start off with modifications like doing push-ups on your knees or pull-ups by jumping and using your legs to assist you.
A good starting workout routine (after warm-up and sprinting):
- 12-15 squats with a pair of dumbells or just body weight if you are a beginner.
- 15 push-ups or modified push-ups.
- 20 reverse lunges, 10 with the right leg and 10 with the left one.
- Plank – hold for 30 seconds.
- 12-15 jumping pull-ups.
- 12-15 squat to presses using dumbells about 6 to 8 lbs for girls and 12 to 15 lbs for boys.
- Side plank – hold 30 seconds.
- 5 burpees.
Repeat for 3 or 4 rounds! Take 1.5 minute-rest between each set. Pause at any point if you feel dizzy or faint.
Always warmup about 5 to 10 minutes before beginning any exercise and stretch after.
Remember to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.