Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Strength Training For Young People

Most of us homeschooling families consider time playing outdoors for "recess" our P.E. class as well.  Over the years, we've enrolled the boys in all sorts of sporting activities and considered that to be an appropriate fulfillment of their Physical Education course.
Now that our oldest is in 6th grade, however, I'm taking this class a little more seriously. Instead of just focusing on the physical fitness aspect of P.E. class, we're branching out and taking a "total body" approach, and calling it "Health and Fitness" instead of P.E.  This concept is connecting well with our semester science study on the human body, which includes nutrition education as well. Whether your kids participate in sports or not, teaching them to take good care of their bodies is an important part of their education.
At age of 11, Ben is at a perfect stage in his development to begin lifting weights.  Jack Medina is a well-known expert in the area of fitness and nutrition.  He has coached Olympic athletes, pro-football players and many more.  He recommends that young athletes (starting around age 10) safely begin lifting weights as a way to strengthen their ligaments and tendons.  Doing so helps prevent injury, strengthens core muscles and instills a sense of discipline and dedication toward lifelong fitness.  The key is to do a high number of repetitions using light weights. 

 This is the workout I developed for Ben using 5 lb. weights and graduating to 8 lb then 10 lb weights (determine weight by the age and strength of the child) He incorporates the program into his school day 3 times per week.

1.  Keep good posture, shoulders back, knees slightly bent.
2.  Do not swing the weights.  Use a slow, controlled motion.
3.  Never extend the knees over the toes.
4.  Raise weights above head, but do not overextend behind the head.
5. Do not advance to a heavier weight until you have comfortably mastered the lowest weight.

Warm Up
1 minute of Jumping Jacks (or jump rope)
15 arm circles both directions
Gentle stretch of quads, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, hip flexors (warrior stretch)

Upper Body Circuit: 
(Do three sets and alternate with lower body circuit.)

10 Bicep Curls

10 Tricep Kickbacks

10 Shoulder Presses (this can be easier with one foot slightly forward and knees slightly bent.)
10 One Arm Rows (each side)
10 Torso Rotations (hold weight at center of chest, twist left/right)

Lower Body Circuit:

10 Weighted Squats

10 Calf Raises
10 Forward Lunges (hold weights at sides)

10 Reverse Lunges with a Shoulder Press (Or you can do a torso twist.)

Cool Down:
Repeat warm-up stretches
Drink plenty of water

1 comment:

  1. Love this! And my son thanks you too. He has been asking me to come up with something like this for a while.


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