Program Design for 13yr old

My 13 year old cousin has begun working out. So far he’s 4 months in and the kid is blowing up! He got embarassed about the stretch marks on his shoulders but I told him he should wear them with pride.

Anyway he hasn’t been working out with me but rather his friends dad who’s training him and a few other young kids. They are doing basics like bench press (he’s up to 125 for reps already!), pull ups, skull crushers…You get the idea.

I brought him to my house today and worked out outside since the weather is beautiful. I was just doing simple things like powercleans, snatches and such and he was just flipping out about them. He got really psyched and he told me he wanted to learn to how to do them…I wasn’t sure if he was too young to teach but I told him I’d check it out and see if it was safe.

So what do you guys think? What are the safest compound movements for a kid his age? I have seen kids 16+ doing them but is 13 too young? He’s a bit chubby- 5’5" - 160lbs (he has a very big frame though). He already had a problem with high cholesterol but the working out and such has helped out alot.

I am psyched! I wish I had someone teaching me this stuff at his age. For me working out at 13 meant pushing wheel barrows filled with concrete, swinging 20 pound sledgehammers and cracking up sidewalks in nyc (my family is in construction - as you can tell hah).

My son started working out at 13 also, I started him out with the basics, not too heavy at first teaching proper mechanics, also a lot of bodyweight work like pull-ups, dips etc. He turned 15 last week and he is way ahead of the other kids. Proper nutrition is the hardest thing to instill, also consistency, so many kids workout in spurts and never see any results.

If he can learn how, then I don’t think they’re a problem. I wouldn’t reccomend that he start going heavy on them, but if he can learn 'em then go for it.

wow, 13. the things i could have been doing now if i started at 13… ahhh life. sorry about that. okay my advice. cleans till he gets the form. then add weight to it. then clean and jerks/snatches, whichever u want him to do. snatch he will probably do less weight, but its a harder movement, so that why he should do clean and jerks first. always go light with him, hes young enough so he doesnt need to rush anything. form first, then weight, and please control his urge to be a monster and add weight and then die.

hope that helped.

There are different schools of thought on how to start kids on weightlifting.

One Russian recommended learning the power snatch, snatch, jerk, power clean, clean. There were other recommendations from the USAW, and Bulgarians. The Weightlifting Encyclopedia (Drechsler, Arthur) has a lot of information.


Ok these are the movements I am going to have him do for a couple of months and we’ll see what happens!

Power Clean to Press
Push Ups/Pull ups
Box Squats
Ab Work

Have him do a 2x week program

Day 1

  • Push Ups (Regular and Diamond)
  • RDL
  • Pull Ups
  • Ab Work

Day 2

  • Power Clean to Press
  • Box Squats
  • Ab Work

I’ll give him a couple of weeks to practice with the old broomstick.
Then I’ll start with an empty o-bar and I guess I’ll just work it up from there.

I basically used what’s been working for me lately and just cut some of the bigger movements and assistance work out. I am not gonna make his life hell with the diet change…not yet anyway.

Program looks fine. and at 13 he should learn the cleans and snatch very quickly. Try and get the snatch in on back day if you add in a 3rd day. rep & set wise start w/ 1x10 the first week work to 2x10 then 3x10 and stay at 3x10 for 4-6weeks then change it.

In Health,

Silas C.

You might add dips in with the push-ups, or maybe alternate weekly. Just a thought. I wish someone would have helped motivate me to get off my ass and do something at his age. Good luck and keep us updated on his progress. My nephew is almost 12 and I am hoping to get him started soon, I already let him come to my Highland Games practices and he seems very interested in strength sports. So I’ll be very interested to see what kind of progress you make.