T Nation

Training my Little Sister


Hey coach

My little sister, shes 15, wants to start weight lifting.
You know when I started, I just went into the Iron, but shes my little sister, and I want the best for her.
I wanted to ask, what can she do, like a preparation programm, to then switching to the basic compound exercises with barbells, safely.
My thought is to let her do lots of bodyweight exercises, but wanted a second impression from an expert!

And, her intend to do that, she wants to be strong and sexy, and keeping her feminine body is the the most important thing for her! She doesnt say that word by word but that what she means! She wants to look like these bikini figure models. Any thoughts on that topic?
What sould she focus on, or should she just train like man.?

thank you


just get her to join gymnastics.

they actually lift alot of weights and still look like a woman.

If need to ask for help then there isnt really a way to train her safely, id say just just lay off the compound excercises until she is strong enough to do them!


I totally disagree. Compound movements like squats and deadlifts are the best friend of a woman. They build the bums and legs like nothing else. You SHOULD start with only the compound lifts (the reason I just LOVE 5x5 for a beginner), so they spend a considerable time doing them. Start light, probably the bar would be sufficient and increase the payload by 5 pounds everytime she hits that 5x5 on any given exercise. After the 5x5, see what see likes and program accordingly and don't worry, she won't get a body she does not like over a night, so you should be able to correct anything wrong. Especially in the beginning, form should be the main focus, not the weight. If she does the 5x5 but anything below decent form, don't increase the weight. Best of luck.


Thank you for the comments

As for the gymnastics, I think somebody can start doing this either early or never.
She danced all her live, and looks like a normal healthy girl in puberty.
So thats not an otpion. She wants also a new hobby.

As for 5x5, and getting strong on these exercises, thats what Im thinking too would be the best. I just have some worries that these exercises could make her ugly and unattracctive, cosmetically as a women what she is now becoming.
mmh, tricky question for me,


Just check out the Powerful Women forum. Lots of gals push the iron and they have slim, solid physiques. Life's too short. If that's what your sister wants, then go to it!

Agree with Niksamaras, start with empty bars. Most gyms have 25 lb and 35 lb bars, those should work if the regular bar is too heavy. A simple, basic program should whet her appetite. Good luck!


Yes, you will be right.

I will let her do the basic exercises with an empty bar, till she is able to do them the best, and then focus and getting her strong on them.

Again, thanks for the comments and your time.


World record deadlifter.

It's really a shame she's lost her feminine form and totally looks like a dude =/


GOD DAMN that is a beautiful woman!


Ha enough said, thats motivation enough for her,

she has started training, trainiing with an empty bar, and reading SS from Rippetoe, I told her, as soon as she finish she can start putting on weights.

she does 100 reps of squats, deadlifts, push and bench presses ( with empty bar, we have a gym in the garage), every day, and i told her, when going to toilet, never sit while you shit. Haha.
She what? maybe she can learn this way to squat more natural. haha so she gets a little acrobatic. she doesnt have to tell anybody.


100 reps? Why? That's cardio son!


just for learning the exercises, i mean monday we�´ ll start 5x5 SS from Rippetoe and thats it.


I wouldn't start any program until she's mastered the form on all the lifts. Check out the book "The New Rules of Lifting for Women." I believe there's a chapter in there on a "break in" sorta phase, just giving a few weeks to a month to master the lifts and get used to following a program.

It's much more fitting for a younger gal and will be sure to keep her attention span. I promise, she'd be bored to tears by SS or 5x5. Give her some variety, ESPECIALLY if her main focus is aesthetics. If you wanna her to stick around in the iron game, this needs to be fun for her.


thanks will check that.


You could use any potential liking she has for Jersey Shore's Nicole to get her interested in glute bridging. Bret Contreras is a big advocate of that stuff

He has ladies doing it too

Seeing them use 155lbs on barbell or whatever makes me feel pretty weak.


Thanks for the daily humor.

Look at me. Ugly and unattractive and manly from all those weights. BTW, I'm 46.


You know at first I laughed at this. But then I thought to myself its really kinda sad to be so uninformed.

BTW kpsnap..... How can I get as ugly/unattractive/ manly as you?


Im so sorry for my uninformedeness, but thats about the maybe 10 women I see in a whole gym, either fat and on the treadmill, or hot and like about an hour at the ass machines.

When I say ugly manly etc., then because I want to be clear, dont want to insult anybody, but training for looks, and training for athletics, is different, and thats the difference what she fears.

When she says, I want to be hot when I get 18, but dont make look like a man, than thats what she said. You could be productive and suggest something, but you dont.

For those who mind reading how she is doing, we stick to 5x5. Didnt increase weights yet, still with empty bar, but she likes it, and said alone because of the fact she never felt that easy in keeping good posture, she wants to continue. I think we will start soon with weights.

I didnt had time to check Lifting rules for women yet, but I think she should stick to 5x5 for the next 6 months and then well see.


Certainly I can be productive. And I will by saying that I suspect that you are HIGHLY unqualified to train her based on your comments in this log. The fact that you yourself seem to buy into the concept that lifting weights makes women "manly and unattractive" suggests to me that you don't understand the science of lifting at all.

And I have my doubts that you know about good form for compound lifts. Which is, IMO, the most important component in training a beginner. If you're going to help her, makes sure she uses good form on every lift. That's way more important than programming at this point. Just learning how to properly lift weights. What really is her goal in weight lifting if not better musculature and increased strength?


I gave this article to my sister when she was away at college. She followed it and stayed in better shape than any of her friends, but she wasn't going for an increase in lifts.
I sure you could tweak it to her liking but it's a starting place. First impressions with any new training form (rowing, OLY lifting, running) is incredibly important, even if she gets sidetracked off the training you want her to return to it eagerly and confident that she can get the body she wants. Ask her to compile a picture list of what she wants out of this, " Her arms, this one's back, etc." to make sure you're both on the same page.


thanks for the comments

Im sure im not the best coach on the world, thats why im here and ask people who know better. haha

interesting article, which goes against some of the things we discussed in this thread (or most?), dont know why i didnt find it by myself.

Very clear stand point, so talking to my sis and asking her what look she is exactly after would be a good idea.