Great, So you have decided to try out bodybuilding! Probably because you want to gain some strength for sports, or you want yourself look good or your becoming health conscious! Whatever it is your decision is great. Teenage years best to start any fitness program, you neither have to worry about work (except studies of course), nor do you have to worry about any health problems, plus your gonna look better when you're an adult to others! How many of you teenagers out there want to start bodybuilding but have no idea of what to do! If this is your problem your at the right place, so just read on... First though I would like to blast a myth regarding teenage bodybuilding.
Bodybuilding stunts growth - This is one of the most prevalent myths regarding teenage bodybuilding. Many people believe it does and some believe it actually promotes growth.
I conducted a survey among many guys who started as teenagers and were in there 20's now about whether they saw bodybuilding causing many effect on their height. Well they said it had- a POSITIVE ONE, it actually helped them grow more and not stunt.
The simple fact is that bodybuilding won't ever mess up with your growth provided the following:
1) Start bodybuilding only after you reach 13. Before this your still in a growing phase and your bones are too tender to support the heavy training. Before 13 you should only do bodyweight exercises like push ups and dips. They wont make you look big but make you look fit.
2) Don't perform compound movements like Squats and Deadlifts before you grow to at least 16. These things require lot of execution techniques and if you do them wrong you could injure yourself badly. Still if you do want to do them remember never to go too heavy.
3) NEVER take testosterone supplements before you're an adult. Your growing stops once your growth plates close up. As a teenager you already have loads of testosterone in your body, if you intake more testosterone supplements, it will result in your growth plates closing up leading to stunted growth.
Now after studying the above, there are a few more things bodybuilding. It's been seen that 2 out of ever 3 individuals stop training within 2 months and they have loads of excused like stunted growth and 'bad genetics'. They say that, no matter how much they train they won't gain. Since they have 'bad genetics'. That's totally wrong, you can't know your genetic limitations just within 2 months, you have to train for a long enough time. Training for just 2 months won't change you into an Arnold.
1, 2, 3 and Stop!...
We are into the real stuff now. So how does a teen goes about changing the way he looks? That depends.
If you have been a lazy little slob and haven't done any real physical activity in the past, I suggest you start of by making your body used to tough conditions. For the first month do bodyweight exercises like push ups and dips. To make these exercises more intense, try doing clap push ups. Also do cardio to increase your stamina.
If you are overweight first try cutting down on your fat and only then start bodybuilding. Remember, you can't lose fat and gain muscle at the same time.
Okay so you have become tough' and cut down on your fat (if you have any). We are raring to go now.
To begin training you need to know the basics of muscle development. Muscle respond to the type of work they are accustomed to. When a person lifts heavy weights for short time regularly , his muscles grow thicker and larger to keep up with the amount of work being done. This is where nutrition comes in, if you don't eat enough and just believe in lifting you are gonna get no where. Training without proper nutrition yields zero results. Also make sure your getting at least 8 hours of sleep everyday because your muscles grow only when you sleep and not when you're in the gym.
As a beginner, train 3 times a week and have a full body workout, later on though you can switch to a split routine in which you train specific muscles on specific day. You should train all the muscles in your body and not just one or two to avoid muscle imbalances. Keep your workout time limited to 60 minutes.
So now that you have known the do's and don'ts regarding bodybuilding for starters, in the following I am going to tell you about 3 of the most worked out muscles groups and some great ways to train them, we will look at the other major muscle groups in my next article which is sequel to this one.
I. THE BICEPS
Biceps are the most favorite muscle group of many people, probably because those are the muscles which you can flaunt even walking down the street! There's nothing like having a pair of big guns. Biceps can also be developed without much problem since they are a small muscle group.
Most bodybuilders train their biceps only once a week, however as a beginner I suggest you to train the biceps at least twice a week, keep the biceps workouts at least 48 hours apart.
Let's take a look at some of the BASIC exercises for the biceps.
Note - In ALL the exercises listed below start with using lighter weights for higher repetitions, remember to do them in perfect form and perform a warm up set before going into the real exercise.
1) Alternate bumbbell curls- They are the most popular exercise for the biceps. Most probably this is the exercise you see all the heroes doing in their movies!
To perform them correctly start with holding a dumbbell (which allows you to do 15 repetitions nicely) in each hand. Take a deep breath. Start curling the dumbbell towards your biceps and slowly exhale out. Squeeze your biceps at the top and start lowering the dumbbell down , remember to offer some resistance when lowering down too. Breath in as you do so. Do 15 reps of this.
2) Single hand dumbbell curls- Same as the above, you train a single arm at a time.
3) Dumbbell hammer curls - This is the same like the alternate dumbbell curls, but you hold the dumbbells like you would hold two hammers, now without alternating, curl both dumbbells towards you, squeeze at the top and then lower down. Remember to breath in the same way as listed above.
4) Barbell curls- I don't really like barbell curls cuz its very easy to cheat using them (swinging your back to lift the weight). Nevertheless if performed correctly, they can prove to be good exercise too. Hold a barbell in your hands, stand straight and keep a moderately wide grip. Curl the barbell towards your chest in the same way as you would do if you had to lift 2 dumbbells at the same time. Remember not to swing your back and and have a full range of motion. Do 15 repetions (as usual!)
So now from the 4 basic biceps exercises listed above, pick any 3 on a particular session. Do 3 sets of each exercise. That's a total of 9 sets for biceps workout.
II. THE PECS
Your chest muscles are called pectorals popularly known as pecs. Pecs are harder to develop than biceps and are one of the larger muscle groups, but nevertheless they are the most worked muscle groups after the arms.
The pectorals have long been a 'trademark' of the male physique, no one can ever call himself muscular if his chest isn't well developed. How do develop those big pecs? Well start with the following at least!
1) The Flat Bench press- Lie on your back on a bench, grip the barbell from the stand or have a friend take it off the rack. Use a wide grip and slowly lower down the barbell to ur chest, then press it up as high as you can without getting your body off the bench. The flat bench press is a great exercise, and mainly works out the lower pecs.
2) The Incline Bench press- The incline bench press is a variation of the flat bench press, many gyms have a separate incline bench, if you don't, then set the flat bench to an angle of around 27 degrees. Now do it exactly like above and lower the weight down to the upper chest near the shoulders. It has been found that incline bench presses are better than flat ones, but they are harder to perform too! Incline bench presses mainly workout the upper chest.
3) Dumbbell flyes- The dumbbell flyes need to be performed in the correct way to yield results. Hold a dumbbell in each hand like you would during the hammer curls. Keep your arms straight up a elbows a little bent. Now in a semi-circular motion slowly lower the dumbbells down to the sides of your chest. The dumbbell flyes work out the inner pectorals.
Another popular exercise is the decline bench press but I have left it out because the simple fact is that decline bench presses aren't very useful, and the flat bench press provides enough workout for the lower pectorals so you don't need decliners.
Do 3 sets each of flat presses and flyes with 15 repetitions. As for incline bench press perform 4 sets of 13 reps. Train the pectorals twice a week for a start and keep the 2 sessions at least 3 days apart.
Please Note that the above chest exercises require precision, so I suggest for you to hire a trainer for the first month or so to get the hang of it (and keep the weight back on the rack!).
III SHOULDERS - -
Two types of muscles 'make up' the shoulders, the deltoids and the trapezius. The deltoids make up most of the shoulders while the traps are the triangular muscles which originate from the side of your neck to the shoulders. To have a well balanced physique its important to have big shoulders and in order to have that you need to train both the muscles equally well.
Listed below are some good basic Exercises for the deltoids and traps.
1) Shoulder Press- Works out the deltoids. Be seated and take two dumbbells in each hand, sit up straight and press the dumbbells up. Resist when lowering down. This exercises is very good for the delts. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
2) Upright Rows (Wide grip)- Hold a barbell with an overhand grip. Now keeping your back straight slowly pull up the barbell to shoulder level, remember also to concentrate on the negative motion (lowering down). Do 2 sets of 12 reps.
3) Dumbbell Shrugs- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your hips, now raise your toes up, and do the actions you would do to shrug. The dumbbells in each hand during the shrug provide a good workout to the trapezius muscles.
4) Upright rows (narrow grip)- This is same as the upright rows above, except that you have a narrow grip, a narrow grip primarily works out the traps.
Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions with any 3 exercises. Workout the shoulders 2 times a week on days you do the chest.
Okay guys so this is it for now, watch out for my next article in which we will be dealing with the other muscle groups like triceps, abdominals, back and quadriceps along with nutrition and the importance of cardio. I will also put up a beginner workout program. So stay tuned.
This article has been specifically been written for the beginner phase to take you through the first 4 months of training, after on you will need to change the workout program I give you in the next article and move on to the intermediate level. Many great workout programs for this level are available on Teenbb.com.
Stay dedicated and hope for the best.