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The Best Workouts & Exercises for Teenage Girls (As Backed By Science!)

by Joy
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)

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 punch of exercises that teenage girls can do.


Cardio is a great exercise for all ages not just for teenagers since it helps their cardiovascular health

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:

  • Aerobics
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Biking
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Walking


Strength-Training allows teenage girls to build stamina and muscles and help them grow to their full physical potential

"When should the youth start lifting weights?" is a question that comes to mind, 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, but teens can also make use of free weights provided they’re under supervision of a certified coach or trainer. (4)

Recommended Strength-Training Exercises and Activities:

  • Deadlifts
  • Good-morning
  • Push-ups
  • Planks
  • Sit-ups
  • Squats
  • Tree/Rope climbing


Bone-Strengthening is as the name suggests allows teenage girls to make their bones stronger

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
  • Push-ups
  • Any sport that involves jumping and rapid change in direction

So, What’s A Good Workout Routine For Teenage Girls? 

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

A common myth people say is that teenage girls will not gain any muscle when training

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

Push ups don't stunt growth, this is a myth

The origin of this myth goes way back in 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 growth stunt in children. (8)

However, this was debunked by the American Academy of Pediatrics many years later, having found that resistance training, including push-ups, can benefit children and teens who add them to their workouts. (8)

Myth No. 3: Girls Can’t Do Certain Exercises… Because They’re Girls 

Another myth that people tell is that girls can't work out because of their feminine nature

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

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.

  • Squats
  • Crunches
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Side Planks
  • Lunges
  • Superman Lifts
  • Dips
  • Skater Hops
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jogging or Running

In Conclusion…

teenage girls can workout and exercise as much as they want, it will help their health and their development

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