Weight Lifting for My DS.

Updated on June 09, 2016
S.W. asks from Birmingham, MI
11 answers

Hello All,

My darling son just graduated middle school. This summer will be somewhat cobbled together with camps and activities, so signing him up for a regular gym membership doesn't really fit with the overall plans.

One of his goals is to build some muscle and lose some weight. He's by no means overweight but he's not feeling confident in his body and wants to make some reasonable changes over the summer. As a family we've always walked and biked together for cardio and he says he wants to continue that, but he also expressed an interest in building more muscle. I've googled this a few times and can only find....I don't even know what to call it...."muscle building exercise DVDs" for adults and those who are interested in competing. I've done my fair share of circuit workouts, and we have the free weights I think he needs to meet his goals, but he won't take a lesson from me or from his Dad. And even if he would, I think something more interesting might engage him more effectively.

He will be home independently for a few short periods over the summer and I'd like to encourage more independence and self-direction. Resources would be a wonderful support in that effort. Are there any DVDs that you or your family enjoy, especially toward the muscle building effort for teen boys? Any thoughts or ideas for resources or specific titles would be greatly appreciated.

Gratitude in advance for your input and consideration. S.

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So What Happened?

Hello again Ladies,

Such diverse and interesting answers. I love the yoga suggestion and he has a buddy who does it regularly since his mother is an instructor. The gym membership wouldn't exactly fit this summer due to transportation barriers. However, I like the idea of a personal trainer, even if it's for only a few sessions. He does play tennis and there are courts biking distance from the house but finding a partner can be a challenge so that usually happens on the weekends with myself or my DH and is more cardio in nature. My brain didn't even go to the YouTube/online video resource, great suggestion. I also love the manual labor idea. Lord knows our flower beds could use a good raking and mulching right about this time of year. Perhaps we can dovetail this with the whole, go get a job question, and he can even make some money in the neighborhood. And I agree that safety is a crucial element. I also agree with the mom that added this is age appropriate and most of us go through this sort of phase.

I appreciate all the considerate suggestions and will talk with him further on it. Thank you Michelle for the validation. All I did was ask a question. Which, if I'm not mistaken, is the purpose of this forum.

Sincerely hoping all of you have a lovely day and I thank you again for the attention and effort. :-) S.

Featured Answers


answers from San Francisco on

I have teenagers/young adults and it seems like anything they are interested in learning/doing is on youtube.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

My son got a great program from his track coach. We were already using approved, food-based supplements and it turned out the coach knew and used the same ones for himself and his kids. So we were able to make some adjustments there for his athletic improvement, so my son could build muscle effectively and safely without getting injured or dehydrated. His body changed so much from freshman year on, and in a good way. But he learned some science behind it as well as some really good nutrition, so it paid off big time in the short run as well as the long run.

Before the end of school, can you make an appointment with the gym teacher or the athletic director (or someone designated by the AD) to teach your son the proper exercises as well as (crucial) the proper body position to avoid injury? That gets you and Dad out of the picture, and lets him work with a qualified person. If there is gym equipment in the school that can be used after hours, your son can get checked out on it.

If you don't get anywhere with the phys ed staff at the school, and if you are a member of a gym, you can probably hire one of the personal trainers there to come to your house and teach your son. Most trainers are looking for more income all the time. Ask for a written description of exercises - most gyms have fitness cards that each person uses, listing the name of the exercise, the weight to be used, and the number of repetitions. Your son needs instruction that heavy weights don't necessarily work better than medium weights and the right number of reps. And if any "newcomer" to weight training gets injured from doing too much weight with bad posture and poor protection for joints, then the whole program goes out the window. I would interview a few trainers first, and I would NOT hire someone who is pushing him to bulk up and go after the ladies! (A woman friend got with one of these 20-somethings as her free introductory trainer when she joined, and he basically body-shamed her about her weight, said her husband would leave her if she didn't get rid of her belly, blah blah. My friend told him to go jump in a lake, but I mention this to you because you don't want your son to get an unhealthy body image or attitude from some big-time body builder.)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

You son is 14? Is there a reason mommy has to figure this out for him? Wouldn't you think that is an obvious "self-direction"?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

You might consider hiring a personal trainer to come to your house at least a few times to teach him some routines and proper techniques. Ask people you know for referrals or ask on Nextdoor.

I also agree with the yoga recommendation. I saw this DVD program on Shark Tank and it might be up your son's alley ... it's done by a former WWE wrestler and doesn't look like your typical yoga program.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My sons see a physical therapist since they have a bleeding disorder. One of the things I have asked about is muscle building/strengthening, safely, for an adolescent. She recommended that kids under 15 NOT start immediately with lifting weights. She told me that yoga is a great way to start out and that the Turbo Jam program is a good way to start conditioning muscles for younger people. My son started yoga in school for PE and he actually enjoyed it. He says the plus is that he lost about 10 pounds and feels a bit stronger. Part of the program he was in also incorporates light weights (3, 5, 10 lbs). I think it was a conditioning class. The Y has a similar class and when we join I am hoping he joins in on the class.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Pretty sure a high school freshman boy knows more about what he needs to do to build muscle than his mommy.

What does his father suggest?



2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Google livestrong weightlifting for teen guys. It breaks it down at a safe pace to avoid injury. It starts with exercises using your body as weight, such as push ups, squats, etc. You really don't want him doing certain weight exercises without a spotter.

As to some of the sarcastic "mommy" comments below, there is nothing wrong with a mom helping a young teen get started in a safe exercise routine. If done incorrectly or too much, too soon, he could face serious injury. The boy hasn't started high school yet, so he doesn't have access to their weight program.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Some of this is just his age.
Everyone goes through an awkward stage at some time or another.
He will out grow it eventually.

There's nothing like digging a ditch or garden bed, pitching a bale of hay, mucking out a stall and moving manure, etc - basically any physical labor - for building muscles.
First - the work certainly makes you sweat - and he WILL be sore till he gets use to it.
Second - while you're working - you're not eating or sitting on a couch or in front of a computer.
Third - he might be able to get paid for doing it.

To my way of thinking - sitting and watching a body building dvd is kind of an oxymoron.
When he takes walks with the family - he can wear a backpack and carry everyone's water bottles, or books - not a lot of weight but add some to his walks.
He can also get use to starting his days with some push ups, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Just be aware that there are certain exercises he should know not to do alone (without a spotter or no one home), without a machine/equipment preventing accidental drops of a bar across the neck or chest.

You might have him check into kettle bells. They are all the rage recently, and my husband (who has always been an avid exerciser) says they are one of the best pieces of workout equipment he's ever used. He also love the Total Gym and his rowing machine. But spends time with 75 lb dumbbells, squat machines, bikes and is a runner as well. There are lots of videos on line for kettle bell workouts. Safety should be a priority, of course.

Perhaps you can encourage him to sign up for a weight training class fall semester. In high school, he can take that as an elective course and learn the proper technique for everything.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I'd say that joining a gym would be great for him because he'd have professionals helping plus all the equipment he'd want in any fantasy about muscle building.

I took weight training in college and it was really helpful in learning proper ways to do things. I have a friend right now that is in training for a competition and she's tall and well over 200 lbs. She's lost weight already and is just beautiful but she wants a stronger leaner body. She's working on it in a good way.

You can go out and spend some money on equipment. Like I said about joining a gym, maybe you can pay a day rate and take him for a week every day. So he can try out every tool and piece of equipment and figure a plan on what will build what he wants.

Then you can make those investments in things that are versatile and effective.

For instance. I have an injury in my neck and upper back. If I do much with weight on my arms or use those neck muscles then I'm going to be in a world of hurt and might even have to end up going to the doc for help. Steroids and pain meds...not what I want. So I leave off those exercises that HURT my body.

Being that he's young he's probably not going to find anything like that for himself BUT he might find that some machine feels really good and works the inner core muscles that he wants to work on or he might find that some of the equipment is just too much trouble. Thus saving you money when you don't need to buy that one.

Help him to include more protein in his diet so he'll be able to build better muscle and help him do some research into physiology, where the muscles are, where they're attached, what they control, how they work, and why they're easy or hard to strengthen. Then he will be more knowledgeable about his body and who knows, maybe he'll end up going into physical fitness as an adult.



answers from Portland on

The young people in our family typically go on Youtube or Google what they are looking for online.

My niece for example does yoga off a great website she happened to find. It's a series.

I do Zumba (terribly I will admit) from an online site.

When I used to Pinterest, I found a chart with all your exercises on it - squats, pushups, etc. with basic directions. He could print something like that off and use it to start.

I'm sure they'd have something similar with hand weights.

But if you're concerned about his form and Youtube won't cut it - then making use of those free trials at gyms might be something to look into.

Our local gym has a free program for teenagers during the summers (goal being you'll sign your kids up for membership in the fall). Yours may offer something similar.

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