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Warm Up for Younger Children?

I am trying to incorporate some of the excercises from the M2 and Inside-Out Warm Up routines into my swim program. The children that I am responsible for are ages 11-14. Now I know that some of the excercises are difficult but I carefully went through and selected only the easiest excercises.

Tonight was the first time I tried to incorporate them into our dryland training. Well lets just put it bluntly and say it was a total disaster. I blame myself mostly because I do not think that I did a great job of “coaching” and a lack of concentration on their part. However, I feel that they were completely lost and therefore did not care to concentrate. So once again I blame myself.

My first question would be if those warm-up routines appropriate for that age bracket? I thought that I could take it slow and introduce only a couple of the very basic excercises each night but it just did not work out the way I planned.

Second does anyone have any ideas or information to point me in the right direction to better “coach” these warm-up excercises?

Maybe break it up and only do one half or even one third of them at a time while the rest swim, at least until they’re trained up on the movements? That could help you by not having to coach as many at one time.

[quote]cjs1034 wrote:
My first question would be if those warm-up routines appropriate for that age bracket?[/quote]
I could’ve sworn I’d read that kids have a significant amount of joint laxity and excessive stretching isn’t always the best thing for them. You may be better off with a super-general warm-up. Maybe something like a push-up, squat, jumping jack, burpee circuit for their age in reps on each movement.

It might sound like a great idea, on paper, to have your swimmers doings an excellent active warm-up, but especially at that age, attention span can be a program killer. Keep it (everything) simple to learn, and it’ll pay off in the long run. Dan John had a recent article discussing training groups. Could be worth a read, for some great general principles.

Cressey, Hartman, and/or Robertson would be the best to answer (obviously). I’d try to catch any of them in their Locker Room threads.

[quote]Colucci wrote:
cjs1034 wrote:
You may be better off with a super-general warm-up. Maybe something like a push-up, squat, jumping jack, burpee circuit for their age in reps on each movement.[/quote]

I am not a fan of the jumping jack at ALL. It confuses the nervous system. See Thomas Kurz-Science of Sports Training, I believe. In one of the warm-up sections, if I’m not mistaken.

Use something else or drop that one. Next to worthless. In fact, go order that book now, as it has good information for younger kids, although it is only in passing, that little info is really worth the price of the book. Also some of the Russian manuals. See Elitefts.

Attention span is going to be a killer. If you are going to do this warmup

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
I am not a fan of the jumping jack at ALL. It confuses the nervous system.[/quote]

I’m not sure how it “confuses” the nervous system, so I may look into that book. But, a few things…it certainly isn’t any magical exercise, so it can be a take-it-or-leave-it issue, no problem. But, it’s insanely simple to teach, works the entire body into a mildly aerobic state, and can actually be “fun” for the kids to do, especially if paired with “Jumping Jills” (arms and legs go front to back instead of laterally.)

So, I’ve never had problems from incorporating them, but if you’re not into them, that’s cool. Interesting side note, I’ve noticed that most adults don’t do well with them, but kids rarely have problems. This could possibly be a bodyweight issue (the heavier you are, the less friendly the movement is).

[quote]Colucci wrote:
cjs1034 wrote:
My first question would be if those warm-up routines appropriate for that age bracket?
I could’ve sworn I’d read that kids have a significant amount of joint laxity and excessive stretching isn’t always the best thing for them. You may be better off with a super-general warm-up. Maybe something like a push-up, squat, jumping jack, burpee circuit for their age in reps on each movement.
[/quote]

I don’t think kids really need a warm up, I don’t know if it’s joint laxity or constant, all-day movement, or what, but I just don’t think it’s necessary.

Thinking back to when I was a kid, we played sports and games and did physical activity all day long. I would get up Saturday morning, eat a bowl of cereal, and run full speed down the block and jump right into a game of street football. I’ve never heard of a kid pulling a muscle due to lack of warm up.

On the other hand, I know kids are more sedentary than ever these days, so something simple and general(like the jumping jacks and push ups mentioned above) probably wouldn’t do any harm. But with kids it usually has to be very simple.

I coached youth football for 4 years and during my first year, I would have a team member lead the rest of the team in 5 different exercises of his choice. This accomplished a few things. It satisfied the parents that thought there needed to be a warm up, it gave me some time to set up, it gave every team member a chance to lead in something, and by having the kid picks the exercises, chances are all the kids already knew them.

Although, during my second season, I dropped doing warm ups altogether. I just thought it was a waste of time. Football is a complicated sport and I only have the kids for a total of 3 hours a week of practice. I decided it wasn’t worth my limited time to waste it on useless warm ups. Again, maybe it’s just me, but I have never heard of and lack-of-warm up related injuries for kids.

Best of luck