Kid-Friendly Core Strengthening Exercises

Having a strong core is essential for daily activities that we often take for granted. Without core strength, it becomes difficult to balance, perform coordinated movements on both sides of the body, sit up straight, or even jump. That being known, it is important to start your children off right with kid-friendly core strengthening exercises. We’re not talking about trying to convince them to do grueling quantities of crunches or anything like that. Instead, we’re offering up a few basic movements that can be fun and offer variations when your child is ready to advance.


Superman

What kid doesn’t want to fly and be a super hero? For this exercise, let your child choose their favorite super hero of the day and have them lie on the floor, stomach down, and lift their arms so that their upper chest comes up. You can make it more fun by having a child reach up for you to hand them pieces of a puzzle or stickers to place on a poster board.

Bridge

Another great kid-friendly core strengthening exercise is bridging. Have your child lie on their back this time, with their knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Have them push through their heels to raise their bottoms off the floor. Be sure they are keeping their head and shoulders on the ground, and have them hold this position for several seconds at a time and repeat.

Plank

For the plank exercise, have a child lay on their stomach with their hands flat on the floor at shoulder level and their toes on the floor. On the count of three, have them push up on their hands to straighten their arms and lift their whole body off the floor. If lifting their entire body is too much, have them drop their knees to the floor for support. Additionally, another variation of the plank exercise can be done on the forearms.

Wheelbarrow

Wheelbarrows are a fun kid-friendly core strengthening exercise that kids often love to do. Once again, have your child lie on their stomach on the floor. While you hold their ankles, have them walk with their hands forward 10 steps and then backward 10 steps. If 10 steps are too difficult to start, try five and let them work their way up. If they don’t like having their ankles held, they can also use a large fitness ball to do a similar exercise. Have them start with their thighs on the ball and let it roll to their ankles as they walk their hands out. Furthermore, you can add a bit more of a challenge by having your child walk forward to pick up a ball and put it in a basket with one hand.

Activities

Some kid-friendly core strengthening workouts can come from good, old-fashioned outdoor play. Here is a list of common outdoor kid activities that will give your child a core workout without them even realizing it.

  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Swinging (on their own)
  • Tug of war
  • Crab walking
  • Climbing on jungle gyms
  • Swimming
  • Bicycle riding
  • Skating

We do personal training for kids too! From athletes to beginners, we have a ton of programs to get your little one enthusiastic about fitness and help them establish healthy habits for life!

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15 Exercise Games and Activities for Kids

In today’s age of smartphones, video games, and YouTube, getting kids away from their screens can sometimes be a challenge. At Elite, we encourage parents to start the healthy habit of keeping kids active early, so that they form the habit and grow to love an active lifestyle. So how do you start? Well, kids like to have fun, so we suggest choosing activities for kids that are so much fun they don’t even realize that they’re exercising. We’ve put together a list of our favorite exercise games and activities for kids that will keep them moving, and have them giggling the whole way through. Continue reading 15 Exercise Games and Activities for Kids

Youth Resistance Training: Should my child start weight training?

By Paul Alexander, Personal Training Director, Elite Sports Clubs-North Shore

Each year, a growing number of children join highly competitive sports. Three-year-olds are playing tennis. By age 8, kids are involved in select soccer. What’s next – golf for diaper dandies? With competitive sports on the rise, it seems everyone is looking for an edge. Parents are hiring performance and speed coaches and personal trainers in the hope their child will make a select team. The idea of competition is healthy, but is there a point of diminishing returns? Thankfully, there is research that suggests when children should begin serious training.

Youth Weight Training Questions

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is considered a leading authority on the science of resistance training. The organization defines it as “a specialized method of conditioning, which involves the progressive use of a wide range of resistive loads and a variety of training modalities (body weight, tubing, machine and free weights) designed to enhance health, fitness and sports performance.” NSCA’s research on youth resistance training focuses on risk factors, health and fitness benefits, and optimal procedures.

In general, children are more prone to injury while playing sports than they are while participating in resistance training. Only three minor injuries were listed in studies associated with resistance training. When followed properly, resistance training ranks lower in injury prevalence than football, soccer, wrestling and gymnastics. Resistance training injuries have often times been attributed to improper loads and/or progressions, poor lifting technique and lack of adult supervision.

There are a number of benefits to youth participating in resistance training, as long as proper protocol is followed. It allows children to build strength and improve athletic performance. When a child gains strength, he or she is more likely to perform well on such field tests as grip strength and long jump. The forces associated with properly prescribed resistance training are less than what occurs during competition itself. Other benefits of resistance training include increases in anaerobic capacity, mental health and bone quality. It also has been linked to decreasing the obesity epidemic.

The NSCA recommends all youth resistance training programs include instruction on proper lifting techniques, safety procedures and specific methods of progression. According to researchers, the ideal approach to resistance training incorporates it into a progressive conditioning program with the volume and intensity of training changing throughout the year. When coupled with individual effort and qualified instruction, strength training outcomes are generally positive. One key point: Children are adolescents – not adults. Adult exercise guidelines and training philosophies should never be imposed on youth.

General Youth Resistance Training Guidelines

There are a number of basic guidelines that should be followed to ensure proper youth resistance training. Exercise environments, for example, should always be safe and free of hazards. Training sessions should begin with a 5- to 10-minute warm-up period, followed by a series of light loads that emphasize correct exercise techniques. When a session progresses, a child can perform 1 to 3 sets of 6 to 15 repetitions of a variety of upper- and lower-body strength exercises.

A number of specific exercises should be incorporated into the program, including ones that strengthen the abdominal and lower back region and promote symmetrical muscular development and appropriate muscle balance around the joints. Cool-down exercises should emphasize static stretching and less intense calisthenics. Once a regimen is established, it can be tweaked with progressively more challenging exercises. One of the most important factors to keep in mind: support and encouragement from instructors and parents will help children maintain their interest in resistance training.


Elite Teen Health Program Ad

Teen Nutrition & Training is required for early entry into the Fitness Center (ages 10-14). Enroll your child in this special program, which teaches safety and Fitness Center etiquette, proper use of weights and cardio equipment, as well as exercise routines geared towards youth. Check out our full youth program & youth fitness at Elite.

Exercise Can Mean Quality Time With Your Loved Ones

By Hans Bremer, Personal Trainer, Elite Sports Club-Mequon

Exercise and fitness are great ways to get out and have a good time with friends and family. Everyone is at different fitness levels, but there are plenty of options out there for everyone to enjoy.

Family Exercise

With your spouse or significant other, if you don’t share similar interests, you can take some general fitness classes together or do some couples personal training or tennis lessons. If you do share similar fitness interests, like the same sport or activity, get out there and do it TOGETHER!

Go on a nice long walk or a bike ride with your parents or grandparents. Nothing beats an inter-generational workout. You might even learn something along the way. Spend time with your children swimming or practicing their favorite sport. Join a facility that encourages children to get involved in exercise and physical activity. Everyone loves to PLAY, so get out and play with your kids! Be involved in their growth and learning about health and nutrition.

Exercise with your friends! Do group personal training, enroll in a boot camp together, or join a sports league. If you’re going to hang out with your friends you might as well have some fun playing and exercising while you do it.

Exercise and physical activity with your friends and loved ones is a great way to have fun and is extremely beneficial to both your physical and mental health at the same time. Grab your friends and family and GET OUT THERE!

Need help thinking of ideas? Let us help you find the right sports league, exercise class, or youth fitness program for you and your family. Or just start by checking out our activities calendar.

What activities do you use as an excuse to spend time with your family and friends? Tell us in the comments!