A Beginner Strength-Training Workout for Teens

Learning how to safely and properly strength train from a young age can set your child up for success with this fitness modality for the long-term. It also makes exercise feel special: For our teen Life Time members, it’s an exciting milestone to be able to use the workout floor once they hit that age 12 (age 11 with parent/guardian supervision).

Someone who knows all about role-modeling positive fitness habits is Becca Rigg, a personal trainer, studio performer, and Alpha coach at Life Time in New Hope, Minn. She has five kids: Teya (16), Brinley (14), Camden (11), Nori (8), and Kenai (5). Her teens value movement, exercise, and building strength, and consistently participate in strength workouts two to three times per week.

“Strength training is so important for my kids for two reasons,” explains Rigg. “First, they build confidence and self-esteem. I love the message teenagers receive when exercising in this way: They learn that even though what they’re doing may be hard, they’re getting stronger. They find it rewarding to see results, too.

“Second, it’s so beneficial for their bodies — it’s great for bone and metabolic health, as well as for their joints and ligaments. If teenagers are playing sports, strength training in particular can most likely make them better, faster, and stronger.”

Sometimes, adults who start training in their later years have a harder time sticking with their workout plan. Rigg believes this obstacle can be avoided if kids get involved early on. “A lot of the personal trainers I know who make strength training part of their lifestyle now credit working out in their teens to getting them started. It’s just second nature to them,” she says.

It’s important to be mindful of the training plan for this age group and not overdo it because their bodies are still growing and developing. Rigg recommends teenagers start with a high number of reps and a low amount of weight and master proper techniques to prevent injury. “Yes, your kids will feel sore, especially at the beginning,” Rigg says. “But you don’t want them to feel super sore. If they can’t walk the next day, then they went too hard.”

If your teen is interested in giving strength training a go, encourage them to try this full-body, functional workout — or do it with them! Rigg specifically designed it for this age group (as you can see modeled by her daughter, Brinley!). Teens can feel good about completing this workout two to three times per week.

Directions:

Complete the warm-up before moving on to perform the three strength circuits. The full workout should take roughly 60 minutes.

The Warm-Up

Alternate between one minute of walking and one minute of jogging or speed walking on the treadmill for a total of 10 minutes.

The Workout

Equipment needed:

  • Treadmill
  • TRX Straps
  • Workout mat
  • Light- to medium-weight dumbbells
  • Kettlebell (optional, could also use a dumbbell)
  • Box or bench

Circuit 1

Exercise Reps Total Sets
TRX-Supported Alternating Lunges 12 on each side 3
Half-Kneeling Single-Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press 10 on each side
Glute Bridge 15

TRX-Supported Alternating Lunges