Teen Six Pack Abs and Better Biceps? Your Questions Answered!

Your Question:
Hey Frugal Fitness Just got a question for you. I used to do some small work outs at home about a year ago for a six pack i tried a few different sit ups and all but nothing was working? You have great abs so this should be a easy question for you . I am 15 i have good calves and back but i need a lot of work on my abs and biceps :D

Frugal Fitness Answer:
Well my friend, there are a few issues that need to be addressed to maximize your physique results. Achieving defined muscles is a byproduct of both building up muscle mass through resistance training and nutrition, and removing as much bodyfat between the muscle tissue and the skin through overall physical activity and dieting. First off, since you are a 15 year old male  you will most likely have a very high metabolism since you are in a crazy biological growth stage. This will help to reduce your bodyfat and usually teenagers have a good amount of energy (and time) for physical activity. That being said, your testosterone levels and muscle mass capacity aren't going to be as high as somebody in their early-mid 20's so you won't be able to put on massive amounts of muscle in your biceps etc. Also, because your growth plates, tendons, and ligaments are still developing, you do not want to lift too heavy, intensely, or frequently so your muscles do not develop out of proportion with your other connective tissue. This could lead to tears, inflammation, growth plate injuries, stunted growth, and other problems.

You also mention that you tried a few situp type exercises and it didn't seem like you did them for a very long period of time while expecting results. Now I'm not the most patient person, and I was even less patient when I was 15 years old, but it does take time to put on muscle and burn bodyfat. It takes the average person about a week to burn a pound of bodyfat if they are doing everything right, and usually much longer to add on a pound of lean muscle. Because of your age, you could probably burn bodyfat more quickly but not necessarily put on muscle mass very fast. It can take a few months or longer but try to follow some of the recommendations I have listed below to maximize results and minimize time and injury risk.

What I would recommend is that you do weight training 3 times a week, 30-45 minutes each time, at a repetition range of 12-15 reps per set and around 30-60 seconds between exercises. You can do 3 total body workouts a week, or 1 upper / 1 lower / 1 total body workout, or 1 chest / tricep / deltoid, 1 upper back, bicep, and 1 legs / abs workout per week. All of these are effective options or you could alternate. But the key is, don't lift much more often than that so you don't risk overtraining.

You can work biceps up to 1 day hard per week, and 1 day light-moderate per week for optimal muscle growth and recovery. Make sure you do not straight at the elbow, wrist, or shoulder or do cheat reps on your curls by leaning backwards or laterally. Regular dumbbell bicep curls, hammer curls, preacher curls, chinups, bent over rows reverse grip, underhand cable rows, and other similar exercises are all good options. For abs, 1-2x a week is fine, I usually just encourage 10-15 minutes of several different types of ab, oblique, and lower back exercises in a row without stopping for smaller leaner and more enduring abdominal muscle fiber stimulation. Try including russian twists, alternating heel taps, crunches, twisting crunches, V-ups (if you can), planks, side bridges, and leg raises along with lower back exercises of hip bridges, supermans, quadripeds, and skydivers. You can do abs on your total body days, lower body days, or on your cardio days.

Also do 3-4 days a week of different forms of cardio to help reduce more bodyfat while keeping enough variety to avoid overtraining or hitting plateaus in your progress. An example would be run 1 day, bike another day, elliptical a 3rd day, and play basketball for an hour on a 4th day. If you just ran each day it would be the same repetitive microtrauma on your joints which could translate into chronic injuries like Ausgood Schlauter, stress fractures, shin splints, or tendonitis. Also make sure you are eating lots of protein, minimal sugar and junk food, drinking plenty of water, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and getting in enough sleep. Protein powder or supplements aren't necessary for your age, I certainly got plenty of results without them when I was 15. Hope this all helps!

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