For an overview of Children's strength , see our article 'CHILD STRENGTH OVERVIEW'.
In the above article it concludes that, since there are huge health and emotional benefits to increasing the strength of children, parents should try to reverse the trend in recent decades of falling child strengths by deliberately making sure children participate in activities that help in this regard.
Here is a list of potential strength exercises for children. We have split them up into fun exercises and classic ones. Our advice is to prioritise on the fun ones and throw some classic ones in now and again just as a change. As always, keep safety in mind too.
In terms of frequency, a few times a week or every other day is plenty. Always have a rest day. Mix it up and keep it interesting. Work on all body areas e.g. chest, back, arms, shoulders, legs.
Fun Strength Exercises for Children
Here are some fun exercises for kids which help strengthen their muscles:
- Crawling: have your child make an obstacle course at ground level in the garden with a start line and finish line and then ask them to crawl from one end to the other.
- Tummy Play: Ask your child to read, play with toys or cards or even watch TV while on their tummy. Spending time develops good shoulder and core muscles.
- Monkey Bars : Many playgrounds have monkey bars which are great fun but also do a fantastic job of strengthening the upper body. If children master it, ask them to do it with knees lifted.
- Balloon (or Ball) Feet : Sit on your bottom / butt and have your child do the same next to you. Then pass a balloon or ball from your feet to their feet without the balloon touching the ground.
- Bar Hanging: Sometimes children do not have the strength for a full pull up so get them to see how long they can hang down from a pull up bar without dropping.
Strength improvements in your child will manifest itself in better health and overall self esteem and wellbeing. Encourage it and have fun!
Have your child make an obstacle course at ground level in the garden with a start line and finish line and then ask them to 'crab walk' forwards or backwards or both from one end to the other. If they need breaks in between that's fine! To know how to walk like a crab, see this video.
Have your child make an obstacle course at ground level in the garden with a start line and finish line. With your child in the press up position at the start line, get another child (or you can do it yourself) to lift their ankles so they are effectively in the plank position and walk them round the obstacle course. See if they can make it to the finish line. Multiple pairs can even have races or you can race against the clock. For an example, see this video.
To work your child's legs, have them squat down to a 'sitting position' (90 degree bend at knees) with feet slightly wider than shoulders width apart and back straight. For an example, see this video.
Ask your child to lie face down on the ground. Then put their hands near but outside their shoulders then push with hands against the floor to lift themselves up while keeping legs, back and head in alignment (i.e. not creating an angle at the bottom/butt). Then with keeping legs, back and head still in a straight line, the elbows are bent down to go back down to the original position but not quite touching the floor. For an example, see this video.
The full adult version is to hold the bar about a shoulders width apart with palms facing your body and to drop down slowly so that the arms are fully extended, then to pull the body up so that the chin is above the bar, then drop down slowly again. Children are more than likely not going to able to fully extend their arms so should only drop part way down at first.