Help A 13 Year Old

Hi. I’m a 13 year old, in 8th grade. I’m skinny, but people tell me i could be substantially stonger. My chest and abs and back have always been stocky looking, but my arms are skinny. I’m trying to improve the relaxed size of my arm.


Chest- 34 1/2 inches
Upper arm- 11 inches
forearm- 9 inches
Upper arm flexed- 14

I’m also trying to improve the size of my triceps.

Heres what i’m going for:

Chest-37 in.
Upper arm- 16 in.
forearm-12 in.
Upper arm flexed- 16-17

I’m not trying to overly muscular, but toned. Could it be possible to get really big, then tone it out, rinse, repeat?

Thanks. All help is appiciated


Hey there big guy. I’ve been training for over a decade and have reached nearly 100lbs over my beginning weight so I think I can help you out. The first thing I’ll tell you may fly right out the window but here goes…go slowly and calmly toward your goal. You should expect to devote at least 3-6 months of good solid nutrition and training before you see the permanent results you are looking for. This is only 50% of the story though, as you MUST make sure that you get proper sleep, avoid bad lifestyle habits such as cigarettes, alcohol and the friends who think it’s cool, junk food (including many poor starches) etc…to achieve your goal. Also it would be a good idea to get a physical with you doc before you hit the heavy weights. You are really only just beginning to be of age where you should implement serious weight training and it is VERY important to get a physical. I had a hernia in the 9th grade that I found only AFTER I had been practicing football. Doc told me that they are sometimes unnoticed until you do something that allows the injury to get noticed…big time. Start with a lower volume and work your tolerance up SLOWLY.

Truth #1: You will get the best arm growth of your life if you do the basic exercises first. I would suggest that you begin with some compound machines like the leg press before jumping right into squats and deadlifts. They are talked about frequently on this site, but these somewhat advanced movements must be taught to you by an experienced coach. And this is OFTEN NOT your football coach. Train the large muscle groups 2x per week. At the very most train 4 days per week. If you cannot devote 4 days EVERY week then back off to 2 or 3 full body sessions per week. In fact, I’ll lay out a very basic set up below on 2 days per week so as not to cramp your social and academic life. If you are interested then you can PM me for more details/help.

2 Day per week: Cycle between each letter like so:

Do 1st set of A1
rest 60-90 seconds
Do 1st set of A2
rest 60-90 seconds
Do 2nd set of A1
rest 60-90 sec.
Do 2nd set of A2
rest 60-90 sec.
Do 1st set of B1
rest 60-90 sec.
Do 1st set of B2

A1) 2 sets of 10 on the leg press
A2) 2 sets of lying leg curls for 10

B1) 2 sets of a chest press machine or a bench press ONLY if you have a coach/spotter who KNOWS what they are doing. Or you’ll get some free dental work and a bruised sternum (breast bone)

B2) 2 sets of a chest supported rowing machine. The support will put you in proper postural position until you develop the strength to do free weight rows and cable rows LATER.

C1) 2 sets of a shoulder press machine.
YES a machine until you develop some strength and contol and then have a SPOTTER help you with dumbbell presses.

C2) 2 sets of heel raises for your calves.

D1) 1 set of very slow and controlled ab movement such as a crunch for now. There are many better movements that you can learn after you have a foundation.

D2) 1 set of the hyperextension machine. If you are not familiar with this exercise then check the search engine on the site. This strengthens you lower back and will “balance” your ab work from above.

E1) 1 set of a controlled bicep exercise such as a “preacher curl” or a machine. Feel free to do seated dumbbell curls IF you keep you posture good AND you only move at the elbow thus keeping your elbow pointed straight down tot the ground.

AFTER 3 weeks you can add 1 more bicep set for a total of 2

E2) 1 set of a tricep machine. Dips are a great exercise BUT make sure you have someone show you how to execute them properly so as to avoid hurting your shoulders. If nothing else, you can do close grip pushups too. Put you hands on side of two of your school books stacked together and slowly go down until you touch your chest on the books then come back up.

After 3 weeks you can add 1 more tricep set for a total of 2.

Shouldn’t take longer than 35-45 minutes tops.

Resist the urge to do more even if you can. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. You want to coax the body into results, not make each workout the equivalent of a car accident as far as trauma of mind and body. Do only what is the minimum necessary. Then you will train better and more often later in your lifting career.

The most important thing is to keep good control and form, or you will not stimulate the muscles you want to hit as your “body english” will always shift the stress to your strongest body parts. For now use a 2 seconds up and a 2 seconds down pace on ALL movements to allow for a good controlled contraction.

Sorry so long, but I feel for you big guy. You are looking the right way at the right time. You could have great strength by the time you’re in high school if you are willing to commit now. And one final piece of advice. DONT even consider buying supplements. Eat all the good meat, veggies, fruit, and moderate fat dairy you can comfortably eat without gaining too much in the tummy. A good vitamin and mineral product from a health food store like a Twinlabs Daily one (without iron you’ll get plenty in your meat)is great. Cut out junk fat and carbs such as sweets, soda pop, pizza, and any other thing 13 year olds live on! Just have those on Saturday evenings as a weekend treat. Keep it clean the rest of the time. See you can still have a life for a few hours on Sat evenings. :slight_smile:

And remember: Anything worth doing is worth doing right! Otherwise don’t bother.

take care, bro.

Disc Hoss


I just looked at your goals and I’m gonna shoot you straight. That chest measurement is a bit out of proportion with a 16" arm. To reach this you will need to devote 3+ years in all likelihood, as many men on this site are working toward a 16-17" arm. It WILL happen IF you are foretold the truth and have a realistic time frame for yourself. I guarantee by the time you enter you jr. or sr. year you will have some impressive guns and if you do the program I laid out for you (foundational beginning that should be modified after 3-6 months) then you’ll have the pecs and wheels to go with them. Sky is the limit, but only if you keep looking up.

Disc Hoss


13 years? you’re really young, but the younger the better. you can make full use of your growing period. i wish i had started that young, but oh well.

it takes time and dedication. you’ll see good results by 6 months, and really see the difference in 1 year. but keeping your motivation up might be tough. once you really start loving what you do, it’s easy. i suggest you either start with a partner or go all out by yourself. i started with a partner and he left. so now i’ve been working out by myself for almost 8 months. it’s great. when you’re alone you get more done, keep the intensity up. only down side is the occasional spot you might need. oh well.

the only advice i’m giving you here is that you should stay dedicated. don’t think that you can grow 2x over night. that’s BS. i’ve recently read about children, YES CHILDREN, down to the age of 12 using steroids here in Norway. that’s some messed up shit. as you are entering puberty at this age your natural hormones will act like anabolics for you. so don’t even think of messing with chemicals. enough about that.

bottom line: stay focussed, dedicated, and true to yourself. you will get the benefits later. trust me.

You have received some great advice.

I just want to add. Take your time and nail the basics first. Get your big compound movements down with GREAT form and then worry about increasing weight. Let the other kids do sets of arm curls. You be a young man and use the lifts that will really get things accomplished. Bench, deads, squats, chins, dips,etc…

READ. Yes, read all you can here. Start with nutrition and learn how it can/is the biggest most limiting factor for most trainees. Then swim on into all the great training articles.

Most of all Have FUN, enjoy yourself. Don’t get over whelmed. Use the natural anabolic state you are entering (Man I only wish I was serious at your age) and GROW Large. Oh you must sleep eat and chase girls as well.

Man if you have any further questions dont hesitate.


Phil nailed it bang on. At your age, the amount you will grow in such a short time will be insane. Stick to the basic, heavy compound lifts and you will grow.

Along with this, make sure your diet is in order. Get LOTS of protein, most from whole food sources like chicken, beef, egg whites, fish, etc. The rest you can get from protein shakes. Carbs should come from sources like oatmeal, whole wheat pasta and rice, baked potatos, yams, etc. Adding some Essential Fatty Acids would be great too, but seriously, eat as much as these sources as you possibly can.

One thing that you must have in order, is your post workout nutrition. This period is when you replenish your muscles with nutrients that were used up during the workout to ensure recovery and growth. Never never neglect proper nutrition after a workout. Read these articles for a good explanation.;jsessionid=6BFE6F116EA1B1C877A4E4C56D4C6652.ba13?article=body_141post;jsessionid=6BFE6F116EA1B1C877A4E4C56D4C6652.ba13?article=body_142post

And i just want to clear something up for you. Muscles cannot get “tone”, they can get bigger, smaller, or stay the same, that is it! Muscle shape is genetic and it can not be changed. All those things like ab machines and bowflex that say they give your muscles a sexy toned look are a crock of shit. Looking “tone” comes from having a good amount of muscle, and a very low body fat. If you want to get that ripped look, then add a lot of muscle first, and then do a cutting phase (a strict diet and a lot of cardio) to lose the fat. But at your age, your metabolism should be so fast that when you try to bulk up you wont put on much fat.

But you have struck the fountain of knowledge here, there isnt a better weight training site on the net. Any questions, dont be a stranger.

Here is my .02. First off I envey you, becasue when i started lifting I only had Muscle and fiction to go by, and you have t-mag…lucky kid. The other guys pretty much covered it (well done), but the only thing I would add is to start deadlifting and full Squatting, as soon as you can, and Surf the net to find pictures of the correct form of these exercises. Did you know thta chin ups will make your bicepts bigger?

SO as a recap eat well, Sleep alot 9 hrs a night, squat, deadlift, over head press, bench, and chin then rinse and repeat.
Have fun