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diIettante's avatar

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So, I'm 15 years old, I weigh around 130 pounds, and I'm 5 foot 6.
I do a s**t ton of cardio, since I'm on my high school swim team, I average around 2-5 miles in the water everyday. But due to me going on a cruise soon, I will be taking a 2 week break from swimming, and probably just running.

I have a few basic questions, the one who answers them with most detail and information will be given my affection and 10,000g.

Keep in my I want to get toned, not bulky. I plan to exercise all my muscles, but I'll mainly be focusing on my abs and chest.

1. How many reps and sets should I do?

2. What amount of weight should I use? How do I know how much is too heavy/light?

3. How long of a break do I take between sets?

4. How fast should I try to do each set?

5. What happens if I over train my muscle?

6. Is there anything I should be aware of when weight lifting? Like never exercise the same muscles everyday? Or never use too much weight?


Thanks in advance.
Low reps (think 4-6 reps) on big compound exercises like bench and deadlift for 3-5 sets, with enough weight that you'll grind out that last rep without cheating with momentum. That mainly trains strength and doesn't stimulate hypertrophy as much as the typical "bodybuilder" rep range (8-12). Plus, it's easier to check that technique is sound when working with lower reps, I find from experience, and good technique gets results faster.

8-12 reps for isolation exercises (crunches, curls) is fine however.

For isolation exercises, one minute between each set is plenty of rest. For compound exercises, 2-3 minutes depending on how you feel.

As for how fast your movement should be, during the concentric part of the movement where you contract your muscle, typically to get something up, you should do that explosively because that's usually an all-or-nothing deal if you're using heavy enough weights. When you lower the weights though, try to take at least two seconds to do it, up to four seconds if you can, to maximize time under tension, which is great for getting your muscles to tone in a tight schedule, presuming you couple your training with a lot of good fuel. You can afford to take longer on the lowering motion because your muscles are stronger when they are simply resisting stretch as opposed to squeezing explosively when they contract.

As long as you are eating well (eating at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight and eating healthy carbs like sweet potatoes and rice, with vegetables and fruits of course) and sleeping well, overtraining is pretty unlikely for all except maybe professional athletes.

You've got the right idea there, with never exercising the same muscles everyday. Your muscles grow when they are recovering, not when you train them. Doing a split where you get to train every body part once every 3 days, twice a week should be good enough, as you still want to stimulate them enough to persuade them to grow.

Last note, although you wish to focus on abs and chest, remember that abs are just another muscle, so don't fall in the trap of training them everyday. If you want a specific routine, PM and I can give you some pointers if you want.
How many reps and sets you do really depends on your routine and your goals. As mentioned already, if you're just looking to build raw strength you should be maxing out at around 6 reps, probably 5. If you're looking to develop the aesthetic then you should be working in the 8-12 range.

How do you figure out how much weight is too much or too little? You play around with it. Chances are if you're new to lifting if you go pick up 50 lbs to curl you're going to drop it on your foot. What I would do if I were you is decide on your routine and find a day to just go to the gym to try different things out to get an idea.

For instance, the weight you use for a flat bench is probably going to be a little heavier than an incline bench.

But you'll be able to tell pretty easily if something is too heavy or too light when you start lifting. If it's too heavy your form is going to be piss poor and you're going to strain really hard. If it's too light you're going to get to your 6th rep and be like "Durr, donuts".

How long to break between sets? Depends on the routine and your goals. I personally try not to take too long of a break, so anywhere between 30-60 seconds to keep my HR up. if you're doing super sets you may be resting anywhere between 2-3 minutes before doing it again because during that super set you're not taking a break between each exercise.

I would recommend doing your sets slowly. Really, what's the rush? Going slow and concentrating means you have more time to focus on using proper form. Now, that doesn't mean drag along to the point it ******** up your form that way, but quick jerking motions aren't really doing the exercise. Take your time, it isn't a race champ.

Well, potential risk for injury and it slows down your progress. But unless you train the same muscle group every day, or spend 5 hours in the gym just working the same muscle group, you're likely not going to over train.

Form is by far the most important thing in weight lifting. If you take the time to learn how to do the exercises right and then execute them correctly then you're going to be on the right path. So yes, big emphasis on learning how to do the motions right and then taking your time to do them right.

Second, while I know you said you are concerned mainly with chest and abs I strongly suggest you workout your whole body. If not for the fact that it'll make you a much better athlete overall, you want your body to stay proportionate. Seriously, what good is a decent look chest and abs if you're walking around with chicken legs and a plywood back?

Lifting weights is very flexible. You have a lot of room to do what you want. Me personally, I try to work everything. Do your homework, you won't regret it. You may find this book to be invaluable.

You need to sleep.

You need to remain hydrated, probably a minimum of 1 1/2 gallons of water a day.

And most importantly, diet. You need to eat clean and well, you need to eat. You're not going to get bulky without trying, but to put on muscle and to see strength gains you got to eat above maintenance and lift heavy(this is relative). You're still a teenager and you're still growing so you have you eat even more than an adult. Take the time to figure out your caloric needs. They're going to be high, especially considering your current activity level.

Good luck.
Lance_Shredden's avatar

Amateur Businessman

Id suggest get some bulk brah, check me out on my profile.
I was 120 lbs freshman year under weight was bullied and picked on all the time.
Started weight lifting Sophomore year all I did was curls and come incline BB.
Summer before Junior year (6-7 months ago) Learned a lot on bodybuilding forum and started dieting correctly and within 1 1/2 year gained 20 lbs pure muscle mass.
I'm cut as fuark and shreaded
Im going for good bulk with low body-fat like you will want to be.
If you need any help just send me a PM
Stay safe
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5. Nothing special(besides painful recovery) - unless you break something. Then you might have to visit a hospital and get patched up.

6. Never exercise the same muscle is a good thing to keep in mind.
But try to keep synergists in mind too instead of only the main muscle groups.

For example - when you bench press you're not only doing chest but also triceps(is a synergist, not isolated).
Triceps is a smaller muscle than the chest area so it's wiser to focus on triceps another day.
And of course push ups are out of the question after that etc.
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diIettante
So, I'm 15 years old, I weigh around 130 pounds, and I'm 5 foot 6.
I do a s**t ton of cardio, since I'm on my high school swim team, I average around 2-5 miles in the water everyday. But due to me going on a cruise soon, I will be taking a 2 week break from swimming, and probably just running.

I have a few basic questions, the one who answers them with most detail and information will be given my affection and 10,000g.

Keep in my I want to get toned, not bulky. I plan to exercise all my muscles, but I'll mainly be focusing on my abs and chest.

1. How many reps and sets should I do?

2. What amount of weight should I use? How do I know how much is too heavy/light?

3. How long of a break do I take between sets?

4. How fast should I try to do each set?

5. What happens if I over train my muscle?

6. Is there anything I should be aware of when weight lifting? Like never exercise the same muscles everyday? Or never use too much weight?


Thanks in advance.

Hey man, I hear you on your concerns. A lot of people like to work out a muscle group a day, I'm more of the camp of working the body with more dynamic exercises. So if you can do a dead lift, a military press, front squats, a snatch and some other basic calisthenics you should be fine on your voyage. A routine might look like this
5-10 deadlifts with a moderate weight,
25 push ups .
5-10 front squats
20 V-sit ups
25 push ups
5-10 deadlifts
20 V-sit ups
5-10 front squats
3 minute low plank
3 minute low plank on the left arm
3 minute low plank on the right arm
Feel free to try cardio after this!
Do allow at least one day of rest per week on a regimen of full body exercise. Your body needs to heal to become stronger.
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diIettante
So, I'm 15 years old, I weigh around 130 pounds, and I'm 5 foot 6.
I do a s**t ton of cardio, since I'm on my high school swim team, I average around 2-5 miles in the water everyday. But due to me going on a cruise soon, I will be taking a 2 week break from swimming, and probably just running.

I have a few basic questions, the one who answers them with most detail and information will be given my affection and 10,000g.

Keep in my I want to get toned, not bulky. I plan to exercise all my muscles, but I'll mainly be focusing on my abs and chest.

1. How many reps and sets should I do?

2. What amount of weight should I use? How do I know how much is too heavy/light?

3. How long of a break do I take between sets?

4. How fast should I try to do each set?

5. What happens if I over train my muscle?

6. Is there anything I should be aware of when weight lifting? Like never exercise the same muscles everyday? Or never use too much weight?


Thanks in advance.


First of all, I would like to say that I am getting my PT certification when I graduate from college in a year. I have been lifting weights and bodybuilding for about two years now, and I have made a lot of mistakes along the way and as a result have gained a ton of information through experience and research. Before I answer your questions it's important for you to know that there isn't a formula - each individual is different - we have different body types and different genetics which causes our bodies to respond to things to different ways. So yes you can ask for advice from others but keep in mind you always need to pay attention to your own body and what it needs.

1. Since you are already doing so much cardio, you generally want to do a low volume to build strength and allow your body to recover properly. I would say you should do focus on compound movements (squat, deadlift, bench, push press, and even power cleans for explosiveness which might help in your swimming). Do about 3 sets of each of these exercises, for 5 or so reps each. Look up Mark Rippetoe's starting strength program on google, he will go into much more detail about building strength.

2. Use the weight where you can successfully complete your set without killing yourself (you should feel tired and fatigued, but not wiped out). This only if you are using proper form when doing exercises - do not sacrifice form for extra reps or weight.

3. This, like I said, varies between individuals. If you are more of an ectomorph, meaning lean body, high metabolism, small bone structure, you want to rest a little more between sets, about 2 minutes for those big lifts I mentioned earlier, but if you are doing isolation exercises such as a curl you could wait around 1 minute. Again, listen to your body. If you feel like you aren't waiting enough, give it more time.

4. Control the movement. Do not jerk and let momentum help you. All the tension should be held in your muscles. You can explode on the up movement, but control the negative.

5. You won't. People underestimate how hard it is to overtrain.

6. Don't weight lift on consecutive days. Since you aren't an advanced lifter, you should be fine if you work the same body parts twice in a row, since your recovery ability is high. As you become more advanced and lifting into the 300s or so (if you ever get there), you may need more time to recover. Again, listen to your body. If you are still sore and don't feel ready to hit the same muscle again, give it another day.

Work your legs.

Eat right.
Ryuto Nagi's avatar

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1. You should probably do something like 3 sets of 8-12 reps

2. Find a weight that makes you tired around 11 reps and try working with that but be sure that you can perform all 3 sets with it. If not, it never hurts to start lighter and work your way in

3. For hypertrophy (muscle development) most people seem to reccommend 60-90 seconds rest between sets but some people are saying it doesn't matter and that you should rest until you 'feel' ready to tackle the weights again

4. A bench press (just for example) done in proper form should be lowered and raised at the same speed which is about 2-3 seconds up, 2 seconds at the peak of the movement and 2-3 seconds down. NEVER LET IT BOUNCE OFF YoUR CHEST AND NEVER USE MOMENTUM TO EXERCISE FOR YOU else you'll be wasting your time.

5. You might get a bad case of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and your muscle growth will stagnate or even atrophy because they failed to recover.
Muscle growth happens because the tissue you destroyed in the gym is rebuilt but stronger. If you fail to give the muscle sufficient time to recover then it won't grow.
It's a good idea to dedicate certain days of the week to train certain muscle groups. Right now I train 3 times a week. Day 1 is Push (Upper body movements that involve pushing), Day 2 is Legs and Abs and Day 3 is Pull (Upper body movements that involve pulling)
Aside from giving your muscles time to recover, they also help develop all parts of your body equally.
So try to find a plan that trains you 3 days a week. It should look something like this:

Monday - Body group 1
Tuesday - rest / light cardio
Wednesday - Body group 2
Thursday - rest / light cardio
Friday - Body group 3
Sat & Sun - Rest / light cardio


6. Nothing I can think of.
Starting out, it might be a bad idea to train your triceps before you do the bench press. Triceps are one of the muscles involved in the bench press and if they're fatigued it might well affect your bench press / dumbbell press form.
Also remember that form is always more important than weight. If you can't perform an exercise properly with the weight you're using then deload (remove some weight) until you can.
BUT don't use that as an excuse to slack off. Muscle development is fuelled by proper nutrition, sufficient rest and progressively adding more weight.
When you reach the 'tone' you want then you can stop adding weights and train with to maintain the size.
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diIettante
So, I'm 15 years old, I weigh around 130 pounds, and I'm 5 foot 6.
I do a s**t ton of cardio, since I'm on my high school swim team, I average around 2-5 miles in the water everyday. But due to me going on a cruise soon, I will be taking a 2 week break from swimming, and probably just running.

I have a few basic questions, the one who answers them with most detail and information will be given my affection and 10,000g.

Keep in my I want to get toned, not bulky. I plan to exercise all my muscles, but I'll mainly be focusing on my abs and chest.

1. How many reps and sets should I do?

2. What amount of weight should I use? How do I know how much is too heavy/light?

3. How long of a break do I take between sets?

4. How fast should I try to do each set?

5. What happens if I over train my muscle?

6. Is there anything I should be aware of when weight lifting? Like never exercise the same muscles everyday? Or never use too much weight?


Thanks in advance.


Alright, let's get down to it! Firstly I want to say that you don't need to worry about getting bulky, getting bulky is hard and you're not going to do it by accident. Secondly I would like to caution you away from concentrating on chest and abs. To explain why, allow me to drop some bro-science on you.

All your muscles are connected, all of your major lifts involve multiple muscles. I can't imagine working on your chest without the use of a bench press. So, assuming you're using one you should keep in mind that you'll be including the use of your triceps, shoulders, lats, and a variety of smaller support muscles. Building these muscles on their own will help you achieve your goals without injuring yourself. I would recommend full body training, but that's just me.

1. Ok, so you want to get toned. There are only two ways to do this. You can either build muscle or cut fat. Judging from your appearance in your signature I'm going to assume you'll be mostly building muscle. People are going to say you should do a combination of lighter weight and high reps. This is bad advice. High reps doesn't increase muscle tone, it increases endurance, which while great for sports, won't help you reach your appearance goals faster. For your lifts, you might want to try something between heavy/low reps and light/heavy reps. I tend to do three sets per exercise, 4 exercises per muscle group, sets go: 4 rep max, 6 rep max, 8 rep max. That'll probably be your best bet.

2. A weight is too heavy if, on your first set, you can't rep it at least 3 times and get a spot on the fourth. You don't want to be a powerlifter, no need to max out all the time. It's too light if you can do 12 reps, unless you want to build endurance, which is perfectly reasonable. Again, just based on your goals.

3. Just don't let yourself cool down. I typically break for 1-1.5 minutes using a stopwatch on my phone. Powerlifters will wait anywhere between 3-5 minutes and people running a circuit (which you might consider because you can burn fat better this way) will wait maybe 45 seconds tops.

4. Keep your joints in mind, weight lifting is high impact joint movement. Exploding your rep is good but keep in mind you don't want to be hammering your joints either. That'll lead to taking some time off for healing.

5. You'll look like a freak with stick legs and giant pecs, haha just kidding. If you're over trained just take an additional rest day but it's unlikely to happen honestly.

6. Reaching your fitness/physique goals is 40% diet, 50% training,  rest. You're 15 years old so let's say 20% because you can probably eat whatever you want and not put on any fat. But, keeping your protein intake high is super important. The Paleo diet will get you ripped up, it's worked wonders for me. We've covered training so lets move on to rest. Let me give you a personal example, my bench press routine goes like this 250x5 (I can't do 4 with 255), 230x6, 210x8 on days where I am rested I move on to inclined press from there and my first set is 210x4, on a Saturday morning after a night of raging at the bars and maybe some extra curricular activities afterward my regular bench is the same but that inclined press becomes 165x4. Because I'm whooped. So make sure you get your rest. That also means taking a rest day. You can't work out 7 days a week without hurting yourself in the long run. Most serious lifters won't hit it hard for more than 3-5 days in a row.

Make sure your form is correct. There are tons of instructional video's on this on youtube. Watch them and make sure you don't break form or you will hurt yourself.

Work out competing muscles on the same day. E.G. chest+upper back, biceps+triceps, legs all in one day, shoulders+traps.

Want to get your abs ripped? Do a three day rotation. Day 1, 150 repetitions of dynamic upper abs. Day 2) 150 lower abs Day 3) obliques. Abs get used to a workout quick, keep it dynamic to continue building them.

Ok, let's talk about degrees of motion. Building tone has a lot to do with degrees of motion. Which means how free you are to move during a rep. A machine only goes up and down, a barbell goes up, down, left, and right, and dumbbells can move in 360 degrees of motion. Degrees of motion build your support muscles, which will help you tone faster, and with less over all bulk. That's why you can press more on a bench machine than you can on a regular bench press, and even less with dumbbells. I wouldn't say do exclusively dumbbell work but definitely don't waste time on machines until like your fourth exercise.

Finally, don't ignore your legs man. I know, you probably don't care about them, the girls don't care about your quads. No girl has ever looked at me and said, "Wow, how much do you squat!?" But I ignored them for years and now, at 24, I regret doing it. Strong legs are just so... functional. I've noticed so many aspects of my life get better since I started working on my legs. Work on your legs, you'll be rewarded for it.

Hope that was helpful!
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Good physique bro. Am jealous if your sig pic.
diIettante
I want to get toned, not bulky.
Muscles rarely become too big by accident. If you accidentally grow a muscle bigger than you want it to be (poor boy) cease working it and it will shrink down to a more desirable size. This is nothing to worry about.

diIettante
I'll mainly be focusing on my abs and chest. 1. How many reps and sets should I do?
When you begin with lighter weights, higher reps are good to work to. As you become stronger, you can eventually use fewer reps. Sets are up to you. Some swear by 1 set to utter failure, others do several sets but stop short of utter failure on the first.

diIettante
2. What amount of weight should I use? How do I know how much is too heavy/light?
This depends on what movement you're talking about. Weights I find very light for rowing or pressing are too heavy for curling or kickbacks.

diIettante
3. How long of a break do I take between sets?
That's up to you. If you're progressing, you don't necessarily need more than 1 set per movement. If you're doing 2 moves in sequence that use some of the same muscles (perhaps, deadlifts then chins) then a significant rest period would be good.

diIettante
4. How fast should I try to do each set?
Not too fast. Eccentrics should be slow since dropping the weight is dangerous. Concentrics should be moderate at first, you want to avoid lifting so fast that momentum takes over and you lose tension. Later in the set, you will be too tired to worry about intentionally moving slow. When nearly done, you can try to lift quickly, but you will not be able to.

diIettante
5. What happens if I over train my muscle?
You injure yourself. Not fun.

diIettante
6. Is there anything I should be aware of when weight lifting? Like never exercise the same muscles everyday? Or never use too much weight?
Too much weight is relative to how strong you are, so yeah, that's something to be aware of, but I can't give you a number. Aim for a certain rep range and that will dictate the weight you use.

Some people can make progress working the same muscle every day, but they usually don't train to utter failure. The more intensely you train (the further into failure), the more rest you will need. How much rest not only depends on intensity, but recovery. Like how much sleep you get, and if your nutrition is good.

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