Summer is a great time for kids to get outside, be active and develop their bodies athletically. There are typically strength and agility camps that are available in many communities, but these exercises can be done at home, without breaking the bank!
Below are 5 simple activities with some coaching points that kids of any age can preform to develop their strength & agility.
5 Simple Strength & Agility Exercises Everyone Can Do
A lunge is a total body strengthening exercise. The primary muscles worked in this exercise are the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and lower leg musculature. At the same time the upper body helps stabilize the body. This is excellent for developing coordination, single leg strength and both stability in the upper body as well as mobility in the lower body.
Coaching Points: Do not let knee go over the toe or turn in. Step out so middle of the thigh is parallel to the ground. Push through the heel when returning to the starting position.
SETS X REPS: 3 x 10 each leg, add weight in hands as you can properly perform exercise and get all reps.
*Note: Athletic shoes recommended.
Pushups and Pullups
Pushups are also excellent at engaging the muscles from the hips to the head. The primary muscles strengthened are the chest and arms. When done properly with a flat back a pushup will also develop the muscles that help stabilize the spine.
Coaching Points: Keep back flat. Work toward touching the chest to the ground without the back swaying. Progress from wall pushups to modified to traditional.
Start – Modified Pushup
Start – Traditional Pushup
Pullups engage all the muscles of the upper back, specifically the Latissimus Dorsi, and stabilizer muscles are used to help prevent swinging during the movement.
Coaching Points: Go through a full range of motion and get assistance if necessary.
SETS X REPS: 3 sets of maximum amount of reps possible each set
These drills hone an individual’s ability to accelerate, decelerate and change direction. An individual can set up the cones in multiple configurations and even make it into an obstacle course for younger children. The primary movements to use are shuffling, backpedaling, and sprinting in any combination. The videos below demonstrate a few examples, but use your creativity to create more.
Coaching Points: Run in straight lines. Plant on the outside foot when preparing to change directions. Turn eyes and bellybutton to the next cone to help quickly get hips around.
Perform drill until proficient at proper movement then time how fast it can be done properly.
These require an area where you can draw ten 12”x 12” squares in a line. This is an excellent method for developing foot quickness that can be done anywhere. The videos below demonstrate a few example patterns, but use your imagination and create your own.
An example of what a drawn agility ladder would look like.
Coaching Points: Accurate footwork before speed. Quick and quiet feet.
Perform as many patterns as you desire with a minimum of 10 patterns in a session.
Planks and Side Planks
These exercises engage all the muscles of the abdominals, lower-back, hips, and glutes to build muscle endurance and strengthen all the stabilizer muscles around the spine.
Coaching Points: Keep back neutral and keep hips level, or in line on the side plank. Maintain a straight line from head to heel throughout the exercise.
SETS X REPS: begin with 30 sec. for plank and 15 sec. for each side plank. Continue to add 15 seconds as the exercise can be done with proper technique for the entire time.
Play games with friends (i.e. be a kid)
Before we worried about our children being kidnapped and screen-time was not the norm, kids played outside for hours. No adult was necessary to play basketball, wiffle ball, soccer, or just tag. Many fundamental athletic skills are learned through playing sports. Tag and soccer teach a child how to change direction as well as acceleration and deceleration mechanics. Basketball and wiffle ball work on fundamental hand eye coordination needed in most sports.
The five previously listed activities will help a child become more fine-tuned in motor development, but sometimes the easiest exercise is to get them off the couch with friends playing something they enjoy. Will they become the next million dollar athlete, no, but they may find enjoyment in an active lifestyle which will carry on for the rest of their lives regardless of their athletic prowess.
One final expectation thought. Remember that each child is different in their ability so adjust your expectations accordingly. For example one child may perform ladder drills correct right away, but can barely do a modified pushup correctly. Another child may be able to do ten traditional pushups, but trips all over on the ladder drills. Encourage the child to develop both and be patient and keep trying where they are less naturally skilled.
For more information on these exercises and more feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.