T Nation

Children's Training

Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts or suggestions around training for younger children. I’m thinking about my seven-year-old, specifically, who’s a skinny little guy. Any of the parents here have their children doing any sort of training?

As long as it’s kept fun, safe and the kid still enjoys it, I can’t see any reason why not. Man I would have loved to have started training at that age.

[quote]Jereth127 wrote:
As long as it’s kept fun, safe and the kid still enjoys it, I can’t see any reason why not. Man I would have loved to have started training at that age.[/quote]

I was thinking the same thing. Maybe I’m completely wrong but can’t help but wonder if he starts learning some movements and patterns now, maybe he’ll be that far ahead when he’s older and in a position to really start benefiting from real training.

Any ideas on what he could do? Exercises, frequency, volume, reps, etc.? I’ve had him try different things a couple of times a week-Bulgarian Split Squats and Jump Squats (bodyweight - couple of sets, maybe, higher reps), Prone Bridge, Side Bridge… He doesn’t have the upper body strength to do pushups yet, nor chinups for that matter. Too much? Too little? No point whatsoever?

i like where this i going. I do not have a kid but my little stepbrother is 8 and his dad is always asking me what we can do for him. We dont live together and i just keep telling him to let the kid have fun. Yesterday he was bitching because the kid runs flat footed and i told him it may be ankle mobility? ( i have no idea but i dread these convos with him so he accepted it and left me alone.) Now i feel like if he pushes the kid too hard it wont be fun.

I just keep telling him to have fun, the kid plays 3 sports and stays active, and once he hits middle school we can start to focus more on other stuff. Am i thinking too far into this? should I have him start some bodyweight stuff with me when im over there? I think he would find it fun for the sole fact that it was with me, if his dad had him do it i dont think hed enjoy himself…not to be on a high horse but that seems to be how it is with kids lol

NSCA’s view on this:

You cannot treat children like miniature adults, because they ARE NOT miniature adults. Children’s minds and motivations are fundamentally different than that of an adult’s, and their bodies respond to exercise differently than an adult’s.

If your child shows interest in resistance training, then by all means, assist him in trying a few fun exercises - it will help him build an interest and promote sportsmanship and discipline. However, if he is indifferent or is turned off by training, don’t force it on him - you’ll only worsen his distaste of training.

The best thing to do is to let your child decide what to try. If he sees a lift and thinks it looks cool, help him do it. Essentially, let him do his own programming, as the most important part of introducing your child to resistance training is not any facet of conditioning, but to help him develop an interest and affinity for lifting.

Bodybars and PVC pipe can be useful for scaling purposes on BB lifts.

[quote]Xab wrote:
NSCA’s view on this:

You cannot treat children like miniature adults, because they ARE NOT miniature adults. Children’s minds and motivations are fundamentally different than that of an adult’s, and their bodies respond to exercise differently than an adult’s.

If your child shows interest in resistance training, then by all means, assist him in trying a few fun exercises - it will help him build an interest and promote sportsmanship and discipline. However, if he is indifferent or is turned off by training, don’t force it on him - you’ll only worsen his distaste of training.

The best thing to do is to let your child decide what to try. If he sees a lift and thinks it looks cool, help him do it. Essentially, let him do his own programming, as the most important part of introducing your child to resistance training is not any facet of conditioning, but to help him develop an interest and affinity for lifting. [/quote]

this x2

Worst thing you want to happen is you push him to hard and he avoids it all cost because of the pain(i say that loosely).

[quote]Xab wrote:
NSCA’s view on this:

You cannot treat children like miniature adults, because they ARE NOT miniature adults. Children’s minds and motivations are fundamentally different than that of an adult’s, and their bodies respond to exercise differently than an adult’s.

If your child shows interest in resistance training, then by all means, assist him in trying a few fun exercises - it will help him build an interest and promote sportsmanship and discipline. However, if he is indifferent or is turned off by training, don’t force it on him - you’ll only worsen his distaste of training.

The best thing to do is to let your child decide what to try. If he sees a lift and thinks it looks cool, help him do it. Essentially, let him do his own programming, as the most important part of introducing your child to resistance training is not any facet of conditioning, but to help him develop an interest and affinity for lifting. [/quote]

I know big organizations usually get ragged on around here, but this is spot on. Kids usually like to emulate their parents, so getting a kid-sized version of whatever is a good way to go.

Heh, our country tried to sue this kids father for child abuse!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FKkAdbhYDU&feature=related

Have him do martial arts, he might get bored with lifting…

Dude squat jumps are a no no for a kid! Just let him play around, climb trees, jungle gyms, roll down hills and dig holes. All that kind of stuff. Rather focus on training things like his agility, footspeed, reaction, coordination and visual training now. Besides for a kid it’ll be much more fun

[quote]Defiance wrote:
Heh, our country tried to sue this kids father for child abuse!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FKkAdbhYDU&feature=related [/quote]

Look guys, the Russian kid is pressing without an arch and with his feet up on the bench. And no shirt, to boot.

Better have a fat American powerlifter yell at him and tell him he’s weak.

AmIRite?

Don’t load the spine excessively.

When I was that age, in school we had a thing called Canada Fitness. I loved it, because they would have all the kids compete. We trained, and then competed in:

-long jump (standing and running)
-200m sprint
-push-up
-sit-up
-some others that i can’t recall

The competition was what made it fun. Otherwise, I agree with other random activities like climbing, running, wrestling. Just things kids would enjoy.

Gymnastics also sets kids up nicely for other activities like sports and lifting later in life.

Thanks for your thoughts everyone. I agree with pretty much everything that’s been said. Let me be clear, I’m not pushing him in the direction of training and don’t really care what sort of physical activities my kids do, as long as they do something! Currently, he’s playing hockey and does gymnastics, too. Summertime, he plays soccer and gymnastics. We had him in martial arts when he was 3 y.o. through 5 or 6, but he hated it and asked to stop so we didn’t push anything…

Recently, he’s been asking about working out and showing an interest in it. I don’t have any equipment at home so he’d be limited to what he could do with his own body and outdoors. He’s one of the smaller guys on his team, bodyweight wise, giving up 10-15lbs to most kids, I’d say, and I think he’s slightly intimidated by that.

Anyway, I thought some sort of basic program to help him get a little stronger could help. As a kid, I remember my dad used to take me out to the park and try to get me to do chins on the monkey bars, though I lacked the strength as well.

Dwigs, why do you say jump squats are not suitable, if only a couple of sets for 10 jumps using just bodyweight? He enjoys them, thinks they’re fun. Is it all that different than the burpees they used to get us doing in grade school gym classes through middle school?

Any thoughts on a short, simple, fun routine to be performed at home?

I think Steve Maxwell has some pretty good insight on this issue:

http://www.maxwellsc.com/blog.cfm?blogiD=20

My 7 year old does some stuff. He has seen me do some sledgehammer work, so he tries that without any success. When I go do sprints, he’ll come join me. He does push ups and burpees when I’m doing them. The only training I “make” him do is burpees. When he wants to play video games I’ll make him do 7 burpees before he can play.

[quote]kheaslim wrote:
When I was that age, in school we had a thing called Canada Fitness. I loved it, because they would have all the kids compete. We trained, and then competed in:

-long jump (standing and running)
-200m sprint
-push-up
-sit-up
-some others that i can’t recall

The competition was what made it fun. Otherwise, I agree with other random activities like climbing, running, wrestling. Just things kids would enjoy.

Gymnastics also sets kids up nicely for other activities like sports and lifting later in life.[/quote]

I loved that program in grade school.
Never got the Award of Excellence though, I couldn’t do the body weight hold thing on the monkey bars for enough time to qualify.
We had step ups too, I think it was 2 minutes intervals with some funky Sesame Street music to keep time with LOL.

Dave Tate posted this one last week on FB of his 5 year old

Here’s one in the monolift, the kid came up with the set up on his own!

[quote]jjackkrash wrote:
I think Steve Maxwell has some pretty good insight on this issue:

http://www.maxwellsc.com/blog.cfm?blogiD=20

[/quote]

Thanks for that. I’ll have to check it out.

[quote]RenegadeDragon wrote:
My 7 year old does some stuff. He has seen me do some sledgehammer work, so he tries that without any success. When I go do sprints, he’ll come join me. He does push ups and burpees when I’m doing them. The only training I “make” him do is burpees. When he wants to play video games I’ll make him do 7 burpees before he can play.[/quote]

Burpees before video games is a great idea! Does he do them without complaint or does he have second thoughts about the gaming?