Getting Ripped as a Teen

Throughout the last few decades, there has been widespread debate over whether teenagers should be allowed to work out. I’ve heard parents complaining that their young teenagers are not old enough to be working out, especially when it comes to lifting weights. These fears are not unfounded. Mike Chang himself has produced videos in which he specifically discusses the topic of how teenagers can work out and get in great shape without harming their bodies.

The most common question is how old is old enough to start working out, particularly lifting weights. There are numerous concerns among teenagers and parents alike. We’ll address some of these issues below and discuss the proper age to start working out, lifting weights and how teenagers of all ages can safely achieve great physical form.

Can Working Out as a Teenager Stunt your Growth?

Let’s take a look at Mike Chang for a moment. He’s 5’ 9-½” tall (although sometimes tells people he’s 5’ 10”). Mike started working out as a teenager, and for a while he actually thought that if he had waited longer, he would have topped the 6’ mark easily. He did his research and it turns out, the majority of a person’s height is related to genetics. However, there are some exercises that can indeed stunt the growth of a young teenager who has not yet reached their full height.

Exercises that should be avoided are those that involve lifting heavy weights above your head. Working on shoulders with overhead presses, standing military presses, heavy squats, basically anything that compresses the spine. Even dead lifts, despite the fact that they don’t go over the head, should be avoided.

The best exercises for young teenagers are those that do not involve weights. Using your own body weight to workout will not compress your spine, therefore cannot stunt your growth. Push-ups, pull-ups, squats, sprints, any kind of exercise that uses your own body’s weight to gain muscle is perfect for a young teenager.

What Age should a Teenager start using Weights?

The recommended age to start incorporating weights into your workout routine is 14. Heavy weights and lifting above the head should still be avoided until the age of 16, and even then there may be a growth spurt or two left before your body matures to full height. The above mentioned exercises – military presses, heavy squats, etc. – should not be performed with an excessive amount of weight. Moderation is the key at this age range. There is nothing wrong with lifting weights at the age of 16, so long as you’re not overdoing it.

Form is the Key to Exercising as a Teenager

No matter how old you are, using proper form is always strongly recommended. However, as a teenager, correct form is the difference between a great body and serious injuries down the road. Mike Chang admitted that the majority of teenagers he’s seen working out don’t do it properly, and have no idea that they are doing it wrong to begin with because their bodies aren’t mature enough to feel the negative effects.

Mike described it best when he compared teenagers working out to driving a new car. You can do all sorts of things in a new car, like going fast, slamming the breaks, performing donuts, drifting around curves – all those things most of us dream of doing with a new car that can handle the pressure. A young body is like a new car. You may not feel the effects of improperly working out in the beginning, but as you get older, all that wear and tear on the suspension is going to come back to haunt you. Worst of all, as a teenager gets older and progresses into heavier lifting, improper form can easily result in injury.

If you’re a teenager who is serious about working out and getting in great physical shape, do your research and make sure that your form is correct from day one. It will ensure a long, healthy and safe workout regime with maximum benefits over the long term. The exact same thing goes for older individuals who start working out. Proper form is paramount to a safe, studious fitness routine. The only difference is that, as an older individual, if you’re doing it wrong, your body will let you know it within a few weeks’ time, tops.

Muscle Mass comes with Maturity

As a final tip, you should know that gaining muscle mass is nearly impossible as a young teenager. At the age of 13, 14, even 15, your muscles are not yet mature enough to gain the mass you may be looking for. Once you hit 16, your muscles will be much more capable of bulking up. That doesn’t mean you should wait until your 16 to start working out, though. By starting at a young age – using the recommended styles above – your muscles will instantly take on mass once they mature, giving you the complete, sculpted form you desire at the earliest age possible.

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