Strength-Training Exercises for Teens
Some experience pressure to participate in various social activities, while others feel pressure to look a certain way. Because of this, it's common for teens to be curious about exercising in an effort to improve their health and appearance.
Before a teen enters a weight room, however, it's important they understand the basics of strength training. Not all exercises are safe for beginners, especially without correct guidance and coaching.
Because many teens have undeveloped stability in the core and trunk, it's recommended to begin with basic movements. When someone is fairly new to the gym, mastering simple exercises will likely yield greater results in the future.
Planks1 of 7
The plank is one of the most important exercises for a beginner to master. Balance on your forearms and toes while keeping your body in a straight line. Avoid letting your butt sink or raise up as the exercise becomes more strenuous.
Incline Push-Ups2 of 7
If a teen has a hard time performing traditional push-ups, it's recommended to start with the incline variation, as this will help reinforce proper movement patterns. Be sure to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement, and avoid any dip or slack in the body.
Once the incline push-up is mastered, try advancing to the traditional form.
TRX Rows3 of 7
TRX rows help first-timers learn how to pull their own bodyweight and use their core. The closer you stand to the anchor point, the more difficult this exercise will be. This gives you the chance to increase intensity as you gain strength.
TRX Assisted Squats4 of 7
Many first-timers struggle with the squat. For those who have trouble with the exercise, the TRX helps them learn what it feels like to perform the correct motion while providing assistance.
With your feet about shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly pointed out, grab the TRX handles in front of you. Squat down as deep as you can go while maintaining an upright torso. Be careful to not let your knees cave in while descending into the bottom position.
Goblet Squat to a Box5 of 7
Once a teen demonstrates good squat form with a TRX, it's safe for them to try the actual exercise. Before trying back squats, however, it's often recommended to perform goblet squats to a box. Holding a weight in the goblet position while squatting is a great way to improve form.
With your feet about shoulder-width apart and slightly pointed out, grab a dumbbell and hold it in front of your chest. Squat down until you touch your butt to the box. Repeat for desired reps.
Split Squat6 of 7
Before a teen starts doing lunges, it helps to master the split squat. This movement is a great way to teach stability throughout the entire body while reinforcing proper alignment in the hips, knees and ankles.
While the photo demonstrates a goblet split squat, you can try the exercise with your bodyweight if you don't quite have the stability yet. For increased difficulty, try holding the squat in the bottom position with your knee inches from the ground, as this helps build the stability needed for single-leg exercises.