When am I going to get bigger muscles?

Last updated on September 11, 2020



I am 16 and I worry about when changes will happen to me every day. I’ve looked so much up on puberty. I’ll spend hours looking at when things happen because I’m really worried about it. On the Tanner development stage test, it says I’m at a 3.8. I’ve taken it so many times you wouldn’t believe it to make sure I have it correct.

I also went for a physical about two months ago. My doctor said I was between stage 3 and 4.

I would like to know if the good changes happen early in stage 4 like my muscles developing and me getting thicker and my penis getting thicker. I’m wondering when I will start stage 4? Right now all of my friends are in stages 4 and 5. I doubt they know much about puberty because they don’t have to worry about it, but they tease me about how skinny my arms are — they all have decent size arms and my upper arm is like the same size as my forearm. I have very thin hair on my legs and it looks like my legs are really long for me because I’m in stage 3, I guess. So I’m really wondering when stage 4 will start, when my muscles will develop in my arms and wherever else, when will my torso grows and I thicken out, when my hair on my legs gets thicker and when my penis will get thicker. Also, what is the difference between low testosterone and high testosterone? I know high means you’re hairier but does it make you go through puberty faster? Is it too late for hormone shots? If it’s not, what would they do for me?

Thank you so much.


It is nice to hear that the results of the Tanner Stage Calculator gives the same answer as a doctor.

Each stage lasts about two years. You are near the end of stage 3. That means you are still growing rapidly, but perhaps not quite as rapidly as before. Stage 4 officially begins when your growth spurt slows down to a childhood rate of growth. Given where you are, you are probably within three to six months of entering stage 4. The various changes occur during stage 4, not when you cross the imaginary line into stage 4.

Exercise prior to stage 4 will make you stronger, but you won’t build large muscles. Sometime during stage 4 and continuing into adulthood your muscles will get bigger when you exercise. Of course, if you don’t exercise, you won’t get bigger even if you are an adult.

The amount of body hair you will have depends more on your genetic make-up. Some men are hairy and others are not.

The fact that you are in stage 3 at age 16 means you are a bit behind the average male, but still within the range that is considered normal. Since you are growing and developing, you have plenty of hormones. Getting extra hormones won’t do you any good. The body regulates your hormone levels so if you get too much, all the body does is shutdown its hormone production, which is something you don’t want to happen.

Testosterone is the hormone that makes males male. Getting extra of it won’t make you more of a male. Actually excessive testosterone causes aggressive and risky behavior in men. Taking extra testosterone can cause your testes to slow down or stop production. You are much better off letting your body regulate its own hormones.

Like many teenage males, you found something to become obsessive over. Worry about your growth and maturation won’t change anything. You are growing. You are developing. I know it isn’t as fast as you want it to happen, but things like this work best when you leave it to God’s own time. The only thing your obsession might do is make you vulnerable to con-men wanting to sell you worthless junk that claims to cause what is going to happen anyway.


I have a few more questions. I hope you don’t mind.

First, let me start off by saying I guess it really doesn’t help me that both of my parents were late starters, but my dad’s 6’3 and I’m 5’10 right now and I’m 120 pounds and we keep track of my height on a wall in my house. I think my growth spurt started at the end of 2010. I’ve grown 5.5 inches up to June this year and have grown very little since then, so does that mean I’m closer to the three-month side of entering stage 4?

Also, I was chubby before I started stage 3 and I know stage 3 slims you down does that mean I’ll be chubby again in stage 4? You said I will get stronger if I work out now but my arms won’t get bigger. Do I get naturally stronger in stage 4, or do I still have to work out but my arms will get bigger?

Last question: Is there something that will happen first in stage 4, so I know I’m in it? I know that it starts when growth stops being rapid but is there something that happens first in stage 4?


You were averaging about 3.5 inches a year during the last 18 months, so, yes, you were in your growth spurt then. That it has slowed down recently is one indication that the growth spurt is over and you’ve entered stage 4.

No, most guys don’t get chubby in stage 4 unless they are overeating.

Somewhere in the next year or so, your muscles will start responding differently to exercise. Not only will you get stronger, they will also bulk up, allowing you to get more strength from the same amount of exercise. If you do no exercise, then there will be no need for more muscles and your body won’t bother to build them. Bodies tend to be conservative in that way.

There isn’t a distinct “first” in stage 4, besides the slowing down of growth. Some distinct signs that confirm you are in stage 4 are:

  • Increased acne
  • Ability to grow sideburns and chin hair
  • Voice breaking and becoming deeper
  • A strip of hair develops between your groin and your navel


Increased acne … I’ve had acne all over my face like badly for quite a few months now. Will it get worse than it is now? I wash my face every day and it still won’t go away. Are you saying that I’m now in stage 4? Will my torso grow more so I don’t look so long-legged and long-armed?

I’m sorry I’m asking so many questions but you’re helping me so much. I really appreciate it!


I don’t mind the questions at all. Yes, the acne is another sign of being in stage 4. Whether it gets worse or not is not possible for me to say, but to have a bad case of acne in stage 4 is normal. In regards to taking care of acne, see: What are the best natural ways to get rid of acne?

Your torso does grow during stage 4; that is where you get your 1 to 3 inches of additional height.