Training to build muscle, part 1
That means first learning the basic movement patterns, with the only load being your own body weight or very light (yes, light!) weights. These include lower-body squatting and hinging, the upper-body pulls of rowing and pull-ups or pulldowns, and the upper-body pushes of pushups, overhead presses, and chest presses.
“Bodyweight exercise are really important,” Akpan says. “We can’t overlook the gains that you can make just by doing those!” Her suggestion is to max out your endurance on moves like deep squats and pushups before hitting a bench or grabbing weights, then increasing resistance gradually. “It’s very important to keep a journal of what you’re doing—weight and number of reps and sets to see your progress,” she says.
You’ll also have to be consistent if you want to see results—a minimum of two days and max of four days per week will do it. You also want to take a day off at least every two days, to allow your muscles time to rest and recover. “Some kids will say, ‘I can be there every day,’ so we might do an upper day, lower day, a day off, then repeat for a total of four sessions a week,” Kielbaso says. However, you might’ve noticed that he didn’t say you should divide that into a “back and bis” day or a “chest and tris” day, etc. A traditional body-part-a-day split is actually counter-productive for encouraging a growing body to fill out, because the muscles can handle and should be stimulated more than once a week. “Doing total body three times a week is better than hitting the biceps only one day a week out of four sessions,” he says.
Most sessions for teenage guys just starting out should be an hour or less, comprised of a 5 to 10 minute dynamic warmup—this means movement-based stretching and maybe a few reps of the moves you’ll be doing in the workout—and then 3 to 6 sets per movement pattern of 8 to 15 reps each, maybe more for bodyweight moves but only if form doesn’t break.Back to top