Whether you’ve got a little basketball player on your hands or an aspiring gymnast, there’s a lot of power that your athlete will be missing if there’s no time spent building up their lower muscles. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways to work on that strength and help him/her progress.
When it comes to children and exercises you’ll want to stick with bodyweight tasks – those that don’t use excess weight. According to Livestrong, bodyweight exercises for kids are ideal, as they will not excessively strain your child’s young muscles and will help instill good exercise habits.
Below, you’ll find 8 leg exercises that are appropriate for kids and ones that will help them grow and develop what they need to become a better athlete, prevent injuries, and build stamina. But also, even if they aren’t training to be a player on the field, these activities will help teach good habits and strengthen a really important part of the body: its foundation.
8 Leg Exercises for Kids
This easy exercise is not only easy to participate in but also easy to incorporate into a workout – any workout! Just go up slowly on your toes and lower yourself back down.
You can also vary the position of your feet to target different areas: feet turned in, out, or shoulder-length apart. The exercise can be performed on flat flooring or on a block/step.
Strengthening the calf muscle is imperative for preventing injuries to the ankle and Achilles tendon as well as shin splints.
Jumping jacks are fun for the kiddos and they’re one exercise that works all the leg and hip muscles well. It also acts as a great cardio workout while paying attention to the upper body too.
While standing, your child will push up off the ground with both feet while raising both arms. Their arms should make a “V” shape and their legs should make an upside-down “V” shape during the motion.
This easy exercise will build up the strength and stamina in one’s lower body. It targets the glutes, thighs, calves, and hamstrings.
You’ll have your child keep their feet shoulder-length width apart with his/her back against the wall. Then, he/she will slide down the wall until they reach a 90-degree angle, or act as though they are sitting in an imaginary chair.
The key here is to hold that position.
Beginning with your child’s legs shoulder-length width apart, instruct him/her to place hands on his/her hips. They will then lunge forward with one foot making sure that their back and knee stays straight in line with the ankle.
It’s important that their knees don’t go in front of the ankle.
Once in this position, they will begin to slowly squat down until the back knee touches the floor. Repeat on both sides.
This exercise will target hamstrings and thighs, gaining and building muscle. It will also help with hip mobility.
Here’s another fun one that the kids will enjoy but will also build power in the meantime. Perfect for gaining more force and strengthening hamstrings, calves, and ankles. You can do these from solid ground or with boxes/benches.
Coming from a squat, you’ll have your kids jump. You can also incorporate a jump rope for even more fun and challenge.
Similar to jumps but without the actual jump, you’ll need a bench or box for this one. And it’s a safe, low-impact way to build lower body strength and power up those glutes too which will help with speed later in the game.
The exercise is really simple. You’re really just climbing steps – or one step – over and over again. Bring one leg up and then bring the other up to meet it – repeat.
Side shuffles are fantastic for aspiring athletes. Not only will they build muscle in the thigh and calf area but they will help children become faster, more agile, and have better endurance on the field, the court, or on the mat.
Whether you have to draw two lines with chalk or you have a court to help you out, kids will start on one side and “shuffle” to the other – going back and forth at a quick pace.
The key here is to stay low and in a defensive position to build that power.
A basic squat is our final, classic bodyweight exercise that will work out a variety of leg muscles. From the quads to the hamstrings, to the calves, this easy activity is the perfect starting point for a child-friendly workout.
Starting with the feet hip-width apart and hands on the hips, have your child sink down slowly into a squatting position. Repeat this action.
Just be sure that their knees never extend over their toes.