Hi my friend and I (both 13) are just getting into weightlifting and I was wondering if you think our routine is good for beginners (we did throw in track though and we are pretty strong) we plan on working out 3 times a week with upper body and we don't wanna get injured so thanks for any help.


We have supervison, his mom who is a physical therapist approves of it, and our goal is for muscle gains.

Our routine:

Bench Press (Bar) 3x10- 90
Seated Biceps Curl (Bar) 3x8- 40
Incline Press (Bar) 3x10- 60
Standing Alternate Bicep Curl 3x5- 15
Push Press 3x10- 20
Triceps Bench Press 3x10- 20
Hammer Curl 3x8- 15
Incline Fly 3x10- 15
Shoulder Shrug 3x10- 25
Pullover 3x10- 30
Concentration Biceps Curl 3x10- 15
Military Press (Bar) 3x8- 40
Wrist Curl 3x10- 25
Dead lift 5x5- 70 
Pull ups and Chin Ups
  • 3
    What purpose are you doing this for? Are you trying to strengthen your muscles for athletic activity or to build your muscles?
    – Freakyuser
    Jun 17, 2013 at 5:37
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    As @Freakyuser said, without knowing your goals its hard to say one way or another. Although, I'd disagree with anaheim and say that a weight based exercise regime is fine for someone your age.
    – user2861
    Jun 17, 2013 at 10:03
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    @anaheim There is little evidence to suggest that weightlifting has any impact on growth - examine.com/faq/is-weight-lifting-bad-for-kids.html Its not hard to say that inexperienced people may train with poorer form, theres no evidence to suggest weight training is bad for teenagers when done correctly.
    – user2861
    Jun 17, 2013 at 11:34
  • 2
    At the age of 18 & 19, I grew 2 inches, which was a blessing in disguise, because I felt really bad like I am the shortest man in the world. Now I am 5'8. Still I would suggest you to stop lifting weights and do own body exercise. You can grow till the age of 21-22. 5'7 is not enough, please consider this. I would say the same to my own brother or my closest relative. Don't take this rudely.
    – Freakyuser
    Jun 17, 2013 at 13:11
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    @anaheim If you think lifting is dangerous for someone the OP's age, write an answer saying so. I think you're wrong, but an answer is better than a comment war. Jun 17, 2013 at 14:53

4 Answers 4


This program looks like a lot of exercises with not a lot of weight. Even if your goal is getting big purdy muscles, I'd reduce the number of exercises and focus on getting better at a wider variety of movements. Stick to one kind of curls per workout--you're not big or strong enough to need more than one.

After removing a bunch of exercises, I'd put more emphasis on pull-ups and chin-ups, add in dips, consider adding rows, and do at least some push-ups and Hindu/divebomber push-ups.

  • Thanks... ill decrease the amount of exercises and such:) Jun 17, 2013 at 20:27

All you have is a list of exercises without any description as to training splits: how often you train and what you focus on each day. Additionally, in all that work you only have one lower body exercise that is questionable on its mass building capabilities.

I recommend you split the work up into 3-4 training days per week, and try to keep the work so that you are done in about an hour or less. I also recommend you focus on having one big compound movement and 3-4 assistance movements in any given day. No matter what your goal is, you are doing way too many presses and curls. That's a recipe for beat up elbows and shoulders.

If you are thinking in terms of bodybuilding or muscle groups you can split things like this: legs, back, chest & pipes, traps and shoulders. If you are focusing instead on strength supporting an active sport, then you'll want to build general strength. For general strength, I recommend a squat day, deadlift day, bench or incline day, and an overhead day. Core work will be part of the main movements or assistance work you do just about every day.

Legs: Nothing beats the squat as your main movement. Go deep. If you want strength work in the 5x3 or 3x5 range. If you want size, work in the 3x8 range. Add in hamstring work like leg curls and quad work like leg presses or lunges for two of your assistance exercises. Do something for your core and call it a day. If you want nice sized calves, 3x15 with as heavy a weight as you can do. You can change up the type of squat but stick with one for a month at a time: back squat, front squat, zerchers, goblets, etc.

Back: All around monster back builder would be deadlifts. Go for strength on deadlifts and use your assistance work to build size, so one set of 5, 3x3 and work up to 5x3. Romanian Deadlifts hit the hamstrings and glutes and you can do those for volume. You can do more calf work if you want on this day.

Chest and Pipes: Basically this is your pressing day. Pick one press movement (like squats) for a month at a time: flat bench, incline bench, decline bench. For assistance, DB presses, DB rows, and one form of curl (you can switch the curls every week if you want). If you want more chest emphasis, do DB flies.

Traps & Shoulders: Pick one overhead movement and stick with it for a month: military press, push press, behind the neck press, seated overhead, standing overhead. Add in reverse flies, DB front raises, or DB side raises. Maybe add in some heavy static holds to increase the traps. This would be a good day for pullovers or pullups/chinups.

General Strength Emphasis

If the focus is on general strength, the assistance work would look different, but there's a lot of programs already laid out that would be best to follow. No sense in reinventing the wheel. I personally focus on 3-4 exercises per day. I plan my week so that I don't get overwhelmed with fatigue and can stay healthy week in and week out. I also increase the weight regularly.

NOTE: you do not have to do many exercises to build size. However, you also need to be mature enough to put on size. You mentioned you and your friend were 13, and that's when your bodies are just beginning to change. You probably won't see a lot of size growth until you are closer to 15 or 16 when your Testosterone is kicked in full gear. Don't get frustrated, just work on getting stronger, and the size will come.

  • Thanks.... this really helped:) Ill probably redo my whole routine Jun 17, 2013 at 20:28

Pick five: squat, deadlift, bench press, floor press, dips (weighted when strong enough), pullup (ditto), chinup (ditto), standing overhead press, SLDL, one handed row, barbell row (Yates style), T-bar row (can be done by fixing one end of a barbell in corner of room).

Just pick five and make sure those exercises cover the entire body (for example: squats, dips, chinups, overhead press, SLDL), and then focus on mastering them. That means doing just them with perfect form for at least half a year. No need to do anything else - no, not even curls (if chinups don't get you big biceps I don't know what curl will!). But you probably won't listen to me about this until you find out that that's all you needed once you get more experienced. That's ok.

Now, regarding your current routine, that's too much work for one session, so hopefully you were going to split that up. Also, doing deadlifts after a long session is dangerous - you have to be focused on your form unless you want a debilitating injury! Do them first or second. In general, arrange the exercises so that you work the biggest muscle groups first, or so that the biggest exercises are done first.

All in all, you can do your own routine, it's ok - but remove ALL of the curls. The bicep is a small muscle, it will grow tremendously from chinups and underhand rows, and no isolation work is necessary. Trust me, I'm an experienced iron-lover. I'd suggest you focus on some bigger compound exercises instead of mindlessly curling all the time! Also, you have plenty of overlap, for instance even though you have deadlifts in your routine you also have shrugs. I can't see the need for those. BUT, if you do them on different days it could be ok. Regarding the training frequency, 2 days a week is enough if you're working hard. Each time try to get a bit more weight on the bar (if you have access to really small plates, called "little gems", which are just a few pounds, add them each workout) and/or try to do more reps. This is called double progression: when you can do 2 reps more than your goal, increase weight next workout.

I see you're not focusing on the legs at all (you said it yourself in the question), so I'll suggest some safe ways to train them, ok? Remember, the harder you work your lower body the better your entire body grows!

Try one legged squats. If you can't do them or balancing is a problem, grasp onto something - ideally a rope suspended from somewhere overhead.

Try sissy squats. This is a great movement for the quads and you're not crushing your spine here. You don't have to use any extra weight. Again, if balance is a problem, grip onto something. Even if it isn't hold on in case you lose your balance and can't get up.

Try wall squats. Basically, you 'sit' against just a wall. Your legs are parallel to the floor. Get a stopwatch and compete with your friends who can last longer. This is a very safe movement (and very painful!), and I really suggest you doing it.

Lastly, remember to rest and recover after each workout. Train hard (eat hard too!), enjoy yourselves, but then remember to have a life outside the gym. Training is meant to improve your life, not to become your life, and this applies to any lifter out there, no matter how experienced and hardcore.
I don't hope this helps because I know it does, I hope you listen! :)


Because you are 13 , you should not go very heavy on any lift that is above your neck.

It is actually a debated concept but they say that ovehead lifts compresses the spine and may stunt your growth. So i just suggest that you dont go too heavy. The main aim for you guys is to increase your strength and not worry too much about lifting heavy. Just get in the habit of working out and you will start gaining as the years go by.

  • 2
    Can you please provide any evidence that heavy lifting damages growth plates or compresses spines? Or any academic debate around this topic?
    – user2861
    Jun 25, 2013 at 5:34
  • read the answer properly. I said its a debated concept, all i said was its just better to be safe not lifting too heavy, incase this claim does turn out to be true . these guys are yet to get their growth spurt and its better to be safe not to interfere with that. I never said dont lift all i said was dont lift too heavy.
    – drarkayl
    Jun 25, 2013 at 5:40
  • If it is a debated concept, please show me some debate? I commented on this against the question.
    – user2861
    Jun 25, 2013 at 5:41
  • sigh...all im trying to do is give this kid advice that he doesnt need to worry about lifting really heavy (because thats what most beginners do) . if his form is wrong he might get uneven on some parts. Bad form and heavy lifting will definitely screw up his spine . And even if the growth thing is false is it that bad not to lift really heavy? Please try to understand my entire point other than fixating on that one thing.
    – drarkayl
    Jun 25, 2013 at 5:50
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    Its great that you are giving advice, and your intents are good. However, what you raised was already discussed and you haven't provided any evidence for your claims. If you've got some links that show debate or evidence for your claims, they'd be awesome to see! Alternatively, consider editing your answer to focus on the importance of good form, which is a good point.
    – user2861
    Jun 25, 2013 at 6:08

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