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Building Muscle & Rapport Between Parents & Teens!

What better way to build a rapport between parents and young adults than working out together at the gym? Find out why and what exercises you can do together...

[ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ]

    Special thanks to Brian Posten and his son Matthew for taking pictures for the article. Thanks for setting great example.

Are any parents wondering what to do with their teenagers? Has X-Box, Playstation, the Internet and television taken over? It is true, I consider myself part of the "older generation" that used to play outside and I still do. Children and teenagers are no longer playing kick the can, hide and seek or hopscotch.

As a high school teacher and coach, I see inactivity so often. So when do young adults exercise? When do you talk to their teenagers about school, their hobbies, work or otherwise?

Believe it or not, soon these hard to control teens will be grown and out of the house.

What better way to build a rapport between parents and young adults than working out together at the gym? (Brian Posten and his son Matthew shown to right)

The Facts

We've heard the stats, but have you really taken notice? The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Department of Health and Human Services indicates:

    In 2003, a total of 21.9% of high school students had smoked cigarettes during the 30 days preceding the survey; 78% had not eaten>5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables during the 7 days preceding the survey; 33.4% had participated in an insufficient amount of physical activity; and 13.5% were overweight. (MMWR 1).

The behavior for a healthy lifestyle starts now, for you and your children. Be sure your family is eating the right foods, not just proteins, but the healthy fresh vegetables and fruits that are necessary for our bodies' energy and upkeep.

Help young adults by modeling how one strives for goals. It will better not the parent's self-image, and build a positive image so many teens need and desire. Discuss your body, health and self-perception in a positive light so children and young adults learn to do the same.

What Can We Do?

The awkward time of growing, adjusting, and maturing is challenging. Learning to feel good about oneself is essential. So many times I have had students ask me what I eat, what exercises I do and how do I have so much energy. I show them, tell them and hopefully facilitate them on an active path.

Exercise is fun. Indeed, physical activity gives everyone energy and that can make us all be more productive at home, work and school.

If you aren't sure where to start once you both arrive at the gym, start with the basics.

Stretch: Legs, chest, arms, ankles, wrists and back.

Here are some examples stretches:

Chest - T-Stretch
While standing, extend arms out to your sides until they are parallel to the floor. Slowly, bring them back as far as you can and hold for 5-10 second.
Back - One arm-lat stretch
With one arm extended, grab onto something and tug back until you feel a stretch in your lats. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
Triceps - One-arm tricep stretch
With one of your arms bent behind your head so your elbow is facing towards the ceiling, pull towards the opposite arm until a stretch is felt in the triceps.
Quads - One-leg back stretch
While standing, grab one of your feet and bring it behind you as far as possible until you feel a deep stretch in your quad and hold.
Hamstrings - Seated leg stretch
While sitting, extend one or both legs and while keeping your back straight, lean forward as far as you can so you feel a stretch in your hamstrings and hold for a few seconds.

For more stretches, check out Stretch For New Muscle Gains!

Warm Up Cardio: 15 minutes on the elliptical, bike or jogging.

Arms: Basic curls with dumbbells, bench press and push-ups.

    Dumbbell Bicep Curl:

    Brian Posten and his son Matthew.

    Barbell Bench Press:

    Brian Posten and his son Matthew.


Legs: Squats, lunges and leg press

    Barbell Squats:

    DB Lunges:

    Leg Press:

    Brian Posten and his son Matthew.

Abs: 50 crunches, 25 reverse crunches, 25 crunches on ball


    Brian Posten and his son Matthew.

    Reverse Crunches:

    Crunches On Ball:

But it is not just going to the gym. I see many fathers and sons playing basketball together, tennis or golf. Continue to enjoy exercising together.

Working with young adults daily is inspiring. Their eagerness to learn and their talent to teach, is truly amazing. It is important to spend time with your son or daughter. Let them see the discipline it takes to maintain a healthy diet and a steadfast workout regimen. Not only will you get a chance to visit and encourage each other, you will be helping out your son or daughter's self-esteem. They too can motivate and inspire with their energetic youth.

One imperative aspect is: children and adults alike need balance. Many teens I encounter today have had no guidance to basic conditioning, flexibility and nutrition. Be the excellent role model, while working on your body and you build strength through a positive rapport with your teen.

[ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ]

Do You Workout With Your Son/Daughter?
Yes - I Love It.
No - It Is My Alone Time.
No - But I Am Going To Try Now!


  1. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention. Surveillance Summaries. May 21, 2004, MMWR 2004: 53 (no. ss-2): [ Online ].