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My routine is the following:

  • Monday - Volleyball and soccer
  • Tuesday - Workout A
  • Wednesday - Volleyball
  • Thursday - Workout B
  • Friday - Workout C
  • Weekend - rest

I was thinking of doing:

  • Workout A - Full Body
  • workout B - Lower body
  • Workout C- Upper body

My target volume is 12 sets a week for bigger muscle groups (i.e quads and back) and 9-10 sets for smaller ones (I. e biceps and shoulders)

Would this routine be effective on building muscle mass or should I stick to a 3-day full body workout plan (assuming that I have a proper diet)?

personal info:

15 years old/ 65 kg/ 171cm/ 14%bf/

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There’s no way anyone can predict for sure that your plan will be effective for building muscle mass. And, that’s because there are many factors such as age, current health, nutrition, rest/recovery, genetics, etc. that all play a synergistic role in whether you will be successful in making the gains you want. I’d encourage you to experiment with different training routines, if for nothing else, but, to avoid training stagnation. You need to learn what works for you. Only time and consistent training effort will provide the answer to that.

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IMO, I see that on Monday you do soccer and volleyball, both leg-intensive, and on Wednesday you do volleyball, where you want leg-explosiveness for performance. I'm assuming you are playing at an intermediate to better level, with blocking and spiking.

If that's the case, I'd go with Upper Body for Workout A. The Monday and Wednesday sports are leg and explosive leg intensive, not much for the arms and torso, so you'd be getting work in on an area that is neglected on the two days around it, and your workout wouldn't impede performance on your second sports day, like a heavy leg workout the day before might.

Workout B would be the leg workout, Workout C, full body, but I can easily see that order being flip-flopped without much difference in quality of your workout regime.

It could build a bit more mass, if your leg and upper-body only days allow you to devote more time and focus on overloading those muscle groups on those days that would wouldn't have with a full-body workout of equal time.

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As you’re 15 years old, you’re right on cusp of when you’re able to add lean muscle mass. Does this mean you should start training for size by squatting / benching and deadlifting at age 15?

Maybe, maybe not, as there are other things to consider as well.

Bone Growth

Bone growth doesn’t stop till about age 20. so you still have some growth yet at age 15. The question is do you want to put these kinds of loads on a skeleton that is not yet mature?

Many medical professionals say no, but many strength trainers ignore this advice and start deadlifting and squatting in their teens. No, these lifts will not stunt your growth but injury is a concern in a skeleton that is still growing.

Coordination

Another issue is coordination, doing complex exercises like squats and deadlifts require a lot of coordination to perform properly and bad form WILL cause injury. Teens tend to be less coordinated because their bodies are changing size and proportions faster than the brain can figure out how to control everything.

Neurological Development

The last issue to consider when deciding whether to start training for mass / size right at age 15 is maturity and judgement. For most teens, the brain tends to lag behind the body in terms of development. There is a reason that the legal age for being an adult is 18, it’s because until that time judgement skills have not fully developed. Before age 18, one is much more likely to do try something dangerous in the gym - such as lifting more weight than you're safely able to.

Bottom Line

The split you outlined is fine. Since you’re new to training your body will respond to almost any exercise routine. As you don’t mention the specific exercises you’re doing. I'd stick to basic, body weight focused exercises. I'd suggest placing your primary focus on developing good form – habits developed now will be tough to change down the road. Consider seeking guidance from an experienced trainer to help with this.

I’d advise waiting till your growth is complete (around age 19-20) and coordination / judgement is under control before doing more complex exercises such as squats and deadlifts.

That being said it's up to you. Do your own (or with a parent) risk / benefit analysis and decide what is right for you.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2029881 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811913010094

  • A decent strength coach can provide programming guidance, teach proper execution of the squat and the deadlift, and correct form errors in real-time, thereby minimizing the risk of injury. – Christian Conti-Vock Jul 3 '17 at 20:22
  • Already stated this above. Practically speaking, trainers are not free and good ones are not easy to find. Few 15-year-olds are training in a gym (very likely this training is being done at school / home). Please post any research that provides benefits / reasoning for starting a teen on a complex exercise routine. – Mike-DHSc Jul 3 '17 at 20:48
  • I appreciate you wanting to emphasise some points but your writing comes of as difficult to read and looks silly. If I were to swap the bold-ing for ALL CAPS it wouldn't be acceptable but it reads the same. – Gunge Jul 4 '17 at 13:21
  • LOL good point. I was told when I added no emphasis readability was an issue. Looks like I over compensated. – Mike-DHSc Jul 4 '17 at 14:08
  • I apologize -- I didn't read your answer closely enough, and I do note now your recommendation of "guidance from an experienced trainer to help with [developing good form]". In all honesty, I'd much rather see slightly-older adolescents get competent coaching to develop strength during their greatest musculo-skeletal growth -- and I guess you would, too, in ideal circumstances -- but I see that you're sensibly recommending an abundance of caution, given the actual/likely circumstances. Fair enough! – Christian Conti-Vock Jul 5 '17 at 13:05

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