The Best Workouts & Exercises for Teenage Girls (As Backed By Science!)
Two words that come into my mind when I think about teens: Energy and Hormones.
The teenage years is the stage of one’s life where you’ve got all that energy to spend and a heck of a lot of raging hormones that can dictate a teenager’s emotions.
Exercise can be a great way for teens to positively use their gushing energy while dealing with bodily changes and stress that comes with the territory of finding your own identity. In fact, experts have recommended that children and teens should do 60 minutes of physical activity every day. (1)
Physical activity not only helps them get healthier and more fit and increases metabolism and therefore burns fat, but it reduces their chance of developing symptoms of depression, boosts their confidence, and can even improve their academic performance.
Exercise can be a great way for girls to get through puberty as it helps regulate hormones as well as promote the practice of healthy habits. (2)
But you must not forget that you must also make sure that they are getting in enough nutrition and protein to fuel the recovery of the their muscles. Myself (yes, I am a lady) I prefer the Lyfe Fuel Essentials Shake as it taste the best, is easy on the stomach, which keep me from getting bloat, and is more health focused than just simply protein focused.
You can check it out here.
Alternatively, you could also get your hands on an even healthier, and tastier, but slightly costlier shake.
I am talking about Ka'chava meal replacement shake. This one boasts a better nutrient profile than Lyfe Fuel, so yes, the higher price tag is worth it.
I won't go into detail about it though, you can get a complete rundown of all things Kachava in this complete review.
If you like it (which I sure know you will) then go ahead and get you the chocolate or the vanilla flavor.
Now that we’ve established that exercise should be incorporated in a teen’s daily life, the next thing to ask is what workouts are best for a teenage girl.
Whether you’re a teen yourself or you’re a parent or coach that’s looking for the best routine or program that can improve or maximize athleticism, we might just have what you’re looking for so keep scrolling below!
First things first, though…
What Kind of Exercise Is Best for Teenage Girls?
Here are a bunch of exercises that teenage girls can do.
Cardiovascular training or aerobic exercises are highly recommended for teens. The CDC states that a teen’s weekly exercise routine should mostly consist of cardio exercises along with muscle and bone strengthening exercises. (3)
It can keep the heart and lungs working at its best, improve breathing and endurance, and can help teens maintain or lose weight.
Exercise machines that can help you to do cardio exercises effectively include, treadmills, exercise bikes and ellipticals. Some treadmills come with an incline functionality, if you want to challenge yourself more.
Recommended Cardio Exercises and Activities:
"When should the youth start lifting weights?" is a question that comes to mind often. Teenage girl athletes can start lifting weights right away.
Teenage girl athletes can benefit a lot from strength training -- but by strength training, I don’t just mean lifting weights or bodybuilding.
By adding resistance to controlled movements, teen athletes can gain muscle strength as well as increase their endurance. Strength training can be done with bodyweight or some equipment that can add resistance like bands, adjustable dumbbells.
However, they could also tap into any other style of resistance weights, and make use of free weights, provided they’re under supervision of a certified coach or trainer. (4)
Recommended Strength-Training Exercises and Activities:
- Tree/Rope climbing
The CDC recommends that teens should add bone-strengthening exercises at least 3 times a week for optimal health and fitness. (1)
This is to reduce the risk of becoming more sedentary as teens grow into adults as well as having bad posture for the rest of their lives. (5)
There is a debate between calisthenics and using weights, I prefer using weights first so that you get your body in shape and then use calisthenics. You will need to assess your physical ability first and measure your fitness level though, before choosing an exercise style.
Recommended Bone-Strengthening Exercises and Activities:
- Dynamic Planks
- Jumping Rope
- Jumping Jacks
- Any sport that involves jumping and rapid change in direction
So, What’s A Good Workout Routine For Teenage Girls?
A well-made workout plan for teen girls would ideally be one that can help them get fit and build muscle without having to spend a lot on equipment or gym memberships.
A routine that can give them a solid foundation like a set of basic exercises that work out a lot of muscles at once instead of just training specific muscles. This can help them build strength and endurance for advanced exercises. (6)
Most importantly, if your teen is training for a certain sport, her workout routine should be reviewed by a certified trainer and a doctor be consulted before exposing her body to any form of intense stress (aka exercise).
An example of a good workout for teen girls can look like:
- 10-15 minutes of dynamic warm-up exercises
- 10-15 reps x 3 sets of Jumping Jacks
- 30 seconds x 3 sets of High Knees
- 10-15 reps x 3 sets of Sit-ups
- 5-10 reps x 3 sets of Push-ups
- 30 seconds x 3 sets of Planks
- 5-10 minutes of cool-down exercises
Some Myths About Teens & Workouts…
The world of health and fitness is swarmed with a heck of a lot of myths. Here are a few that teens should be aware of:
Myth No. 1: 13 Year Old Girls, or Teens in General, Will Gain a Lot of Muscle Once They Exercise
Just because a teen exercises, doesn’t mean your muscles will quickly bulk up. A teenager’s body at 13 has barely hit puberty which is responsible for releasing hormones that, in turn, tell the body it’s time to start building up those muscles. (7)
The main focus for teens who are beginning to commit to a workout routine should be to get healthier and stronger muscles, joints, and bones; not with how they look. Focusing on the right reasons can help reduce the risk of sports injuries in the future.
Myth No. 2: Push-Ups Can Stunt Growth
The origin of this myth goes way back to the 70’s when Japanese researchers concluded that child laborers who carried weights on a daily basis were shorter than other children who weren’t made to do manual labor.
Pop-culture got hold of this info and soon associated weightlifting and resistance training (like push-ups!) to cause growth stunt in children.
However, this was debunked by the American Academy of Pediatrics many years later, having found that resistance training, including push-ups, can actually benefit children and teens who add them to their workouts. (8)
Myth No. 3: Girls Can’t Do Certain Exercises… Because They’re Girls
Straight out, this makes little sense. Girls and boys may be biologically different, but everything is possible for both genders. (9)
Muscles don’t have any gender and exercise gives universal results, albeit at different times for each person. It may be good for girls to follow a program tailored to their needs since fitness isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept, but the bottom line is girls and boys can do the same exercises without issue. (10)
10 Easy Exercises For Teenage Girls
Try to add these exercises I’ve listed below to your teen’s workout routines! They’re easy to do, dynamic and fun, as well as make your teen girl healthier and stronger.
- Bicycle Crunches
- Side Planks
- Superman Lifts
- Skater Hops
- Mountain Climbers
- Jogging or Running
Is Exercise Dangerous for Teens? Yes, it can be!
Now that we have looked at all the cool sides to teen workout, it’s about time I list a few things to be watchful for.
And none is more important than the need for moderation; even with those seemingly basic exercises.
Sound like a no-brainer, yes. But sometimes too much exercise isn’t what you want as a newbie, a teen, more so a girl for that matter (keeping in mind that girls are often overwhelmed by effects of over-training more than boys.)
Unfortunately, girls are more prone to becoming workout addicts. On TV, the magazines, TikTok, you name it, it has a whole bunch of sleek-bodied models flaunting their hourglass silhouettes.
This can be too much for girls who are just becoming self-conscious and ready to go to any length to land those feminine curves. Some of them can have a negative body image about themselves. (11)
Others would go for broke trying to lose as much weight as they can, and never feel like they have done enough to tone that butt beyond perfection.
It’s thus possible to see girls go overboard with their workout. So yeah, keep an eye on them lest they push the limits a tad too far.
Why over-training is not such a good idea
Well, there are several reasons; the main one is an increased risk of injury. Remember, the body needs time to recover from previous sessions, and with their head buried in the gym, they could easily forego other bits that count, like diet, for example.
Again, the teen is also likely to lose interest, or concentration, in other aspects of life (like studies) that are just as important for them.
How much is considered too much?
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if a teen is pushing herself past breaking point with workout. But to a keen eye, spotting some of the most obvious signs shouldn't be impossible.
Some of the telltale signs of workout addiction include the following;
- If the teen has a solid fixation on how much weight they have lost or calories they have burned
- Working out well past session hours, and often, becoming more of a “lone wolf” in the gym
- If she keeps going even when recovering from an injury or when sick
- If she is sacrificing the time for other things like studies, work, games, etc to be in the gym
- Spending more than normal session hours exercising each day
Common Workout Mistakes Teen Girls Make
Besides everything else, you need to be very wary of simple, yet potentially costly mistakes that teens are bound to make when working out. Even a simple lack of warm up or cool down exercise could be serious than you might think.
These are a big part of the reason why it’s recommendable to have a pro coach teaching them the ropes.
It does not only help alleviate the risk for injury, but it is also helpful in many other ways.
Here are some mistakes to be on the watch out for;
- Lack of consistency in their workout schedule
- Distractions like spending time on the phone while at the gym
- Poor diet structure or lack thereof
- Assuming poor form when exercising
- Lack of enough sleep and rest when needed
- And then, of course, over-training
Teenage girls can highly benefit from having a workout plan that can help them strengthen their bodies, keep them healthy, and reduce their risks of physical injuries.
Just remember to consult training instructors and physicians before your teen embarks on their new fitness journey to be on the safe side!
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