T Nation

Training My Brother


Hey Guys,
This summer I will be training my 15 year old brother. He has always been a bit chubby, and has been pretty unathletic, something that I hope to change. Right now he is a little less than 5'9" and he is 175 lbs. I estimate he is around 25-28% bf. His primary goal is fatloss, but he would like to get big eventually too. I know that fat loss and muscle gain simultaneously is extremely hard and I won't really attempt that, nevertheless, by the end of the summer, both are goals. I've read a bit about training at a young age, and I've made a program that I'd like you guys to help me out with. I'm more of a lanky build 6'8" 220, and I think he has a good body to put on some serious muscle, any help is appreciated, here's the program:

Bench Press/Pushups 3x8
Bent Over Rows 3x10
Standing Military Press 3x8
Barbell Curl 3x10
Triangle Pushups 3x5
Ab Work

Pushup-Jump-Pullup 3x90sec
Plate Stack 3xall weights
Situp-Jump 3x90sec
Farmer's Carry 3x100m
Ab Work

Squat 4x6
Deadlift 4x6
Calf Raise 3x10
Leg Extensions 3x10
Vertical Leaps 5x3
Ab Work

Jump Rope 3x1 min
Interval Training (Sprint, Walk, Jog, Walk, Sprint) 15S, 45W, 30J, 45W, 15S
Jumping Jacks 3x1min

Monday: Upper Body
Tuesday: Cardio
Wednesday: GPP
Thursday: Off
Friday: Lower Body
Saturday Cardio
Sunday: Off.

Again, thanks for the help guys


Hey bro good to see your helping your bro but take caution and go slow.

well seeing he is a total newbie and a couch potatoe type just adding training and some very LIGHT dieting it is probable, hell ill say he will lose fat and gain muscle at the same time as long as he doesnt starve himself. He's set up now to win win.

good lord bro 6'8" 220 you could use a few fork curls IMO as well LOL

Id add a verticle pull after the Military press. Chin/Pull ups or lat pull downs. Maybe something a bit lighter load high rep for the tris to start as well for him on the Tri's. the benchin/pushups will give the Heavy tri loading he'll prob be pretty damn zapped come time to do the Tri Pushups, all else looks good.

Direct ham work. Id swap the conventional DL for RDL's or SLDL's there is a HUGE carry over in the DL and Squat and the DL will suffer after the squats. The RDL's SLDL's will nail the glutes, hams, lower back core etc more and then you later hit the quads with leg extensions.

Also being a newb id keep him NO lower than the 6 reps you have for a while. 8-10 being better IMO. He doesnt have the tendon strength for heavy loads.

Looks pretty good. Id do this or two total body w/o's to get him going stick to it for prob the whole of the summer and progress.

your asking a LOT of himk with 5 days going from none. If you want him to stick to it then you need to help. You need to make this FUN. Not bitch at him nag him. support him, sure yell holler to motivate but DONT belittle him. do it in a supportive way.

If he hates it he'll quite. You can belittel later after he's Hooked got the lifting bug etc then he allready loves it and that type of stimuls will make him pissed competitive and want to prove you wrong. but do that to early and he'll likely tell you t F off and go grab the TV remote and bag of ruffles.

best of luck,


great points, I think i will try to try to make it more like 2 full body sessions and 2 conditioning, then work up a little later.


Just wanted to point out that at 15, he'll probably lean up just by lifting weights with a clean diet. How does your brother eat?


He eats pretty terribly... instead of Berardi's 10% rule, he's eating about 10% good things. His diet is my number one priority, because i feel like if anything that's what will stick with him for his life. I think he'll make good progress even on a 65/35 good to bad ratio.


For sure any change will help and remember he's Young and going to eat some junk. Just like the training take the diet slow as well lead by example and hell yes he'll see results


Is this somehting you want him to change or does he actually want to change? He has to want it pretty bad himself in order to succeed.


He wants it pretty bad, otherwise I would try to indirectly influence him but not take this kind of role. He has repeatedly said how committed he is and how much he wants to change so I'm inclined to believe him, and I think the slowly working him in is definitely a good idea. I'm going to try to start him on a low carb diet because my guess is that he has a high sensitivity to them. The breakdown would be something like 25% carb, 50% protein, 25% fat. Any suggestions for this?


Shugart just wrote an article I think you should read: look over at the most recent entry under Shugart's Hammer. "Simple, not Stupid."

You're excited and your brother's motivated, but it's actually rarely effective to throw every single thing you know about training and nutrition at a newbie all at once.

To my eye, your workouts look crazy complex for an absolute beginner (who will undoubtedly have infuriatingly bad form on everything, frustrating him and you both). I find it much easier and effective for all involved to start newbies on a super simple program:

single dumbbell squats, dangling one heavy dumbbell with both hands in front of the body, lowering down until the dumbbell smacks the ground, then up again (newbie's almost always have a hard time learning good squat form, and how to go deep enough. This is an easy but effective intro).

push ups (chest to ground, head up, butt down)

(assisted) chin-ups


Your brother is way out of shape: it'll be a couple months, at a minimum, before he's knocking out sets of 20 with the push ups, sets of 10 with the chin-ups, or is ready to put a barbell across his back for full squats. Break him in easy, on simple exercises where he can see improvement and results quickly, and he's more likely to stick with the program. As far as his diet goes, unless he eats a lot of obvious junk, just leave the diet alone at the beginning and see how his body changes once he's working out. Later, when and if he hits a plateau, you can start changing up the diet (little by little, not all at once!) No newbie stays motivated after busting ass at the gym with a bunch of bewilderingly difficult and varied exercises and then sitting down to a dry, baked chicken breast with a little steamed broccili on the side. He ain't ready, I promise you.

Anyway, good luck to you both.


I agree with this to a point, but I'm guessing that he eats a lot of junk food for the simple fact that I know that when I was 15 I ate what I wanted as did all my friends. I would at least get him to try to have a protein shake before every meal so that he doesn't fill up on bad food, and tell him to drink a protein shake when he's hungry instead of snacking.


Personally I would go for any breakdown to start. Make it simple stress protein and eating good foods of all sources that will be a big enough change and see results. No need to boggle him /overload him with %'s yet that can come in time.