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Youngsters need to learn the right way to work out before doing it on their own.
When it comes to working out and staying healthy, adults are not the only ones who should follow stringent guidelines. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that all kids ages 6 to 17 get about 60 minutes of active play every day. Additionally, they should perform muscle-strengthening exercises three days per week. Simply sticking to those guidelines will help your 13-year old get a stronger upper body, but you can place special focus on the arms, chest, abdominals and shoulders by encouraging certain types of physical activity.
Install a pullup bar to help your teen strengthen her back, arms, shoulders and chest. To do a proper pullup, grasp the bar with a wide overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and hang with your arms fully extended.
Squeeze your abdominals and pull your body up until your chin is above the bar.
Lower your body back to the starting position slowly and carefully. If you can't do a full pullup yet, start with "negatives," in which you stand on a chair to get your chin above the bar, and then lower yourself in a controlled fashion.
Perform arm-strengthening biceps curl exercises using a pair of 1- or 5-pound dumbbells. Start by holding a pair of dumbbells with your arms extended at your sides and your palms facing away.
Bend one elbow and raise a single dumbbell to shoulder height, keeping your forearm as still as possible. Your palm should face your shoulder at the top of the movement.
Lower the first dumbbell back to the starting position, and then raise the opposite one to shoulder height.
Repeat the motion a total of 12 to 15 times with each arm.
Grasp a single 1- or 5-pound dumbbell to do arm-strengthening triceps extensions. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and hold one end of the dumbbell in both hands, with the hands behind your head at neck height.
Press both hands toward the ceiling until your arms are at nearly full extension.
Lower your arms to the starting position.
Repeat the motion a total of 12 to 15 times.
Perform pushups to strengthen the chest, shoulders and arms. Start by lying face down on the floor with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart.
Tuck your toes in to hold the weight of your body, tighten your abdominals, and then push your body upward, working to maintain a long, straight line from shoulders to ankles. At the peak position your arms should be fully extended and your weight balanced on your hands and toes.
Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor, and then repeat the entire sequence 12 to 15 times. If you can't do a full pushup, practice with wall pushups by placing your hands on the wall instead of the floor, or rest your knees on the floor for an assisted pushup.
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Help your teen come up with an appropriate reward, such as a movie night or new workout gear, when he completes a certain number of workouts. Encourage him to use the calendar to record each completed workout. Create a family calendar -- or help your teen make one on an electronic device -- that he can use to set aside time for workouts as well as track when he completes them.
Also encourage your teen to sign up for a sports team, sports club or a sports camp, during which she can learn new skills, gain muscle and make new fitness-minded friends.