As adults, we understand countless hours at a desk take a toll on our bodies. Tight hips, sore backs or elbow pain are frequent complaints. In order to alleviate the stiffness, we may walk to the breakroom to stretch our legs or find time for weekly massages. In the same manner, countless hours at a desk during a school day has the same effect on our children. I know my 10-year-old gives little thought to her posture as she is sitting at her desk. Children do not understand the importance of proper movement and stretching.
So how do we train proper movement patterns to kids who developmentally do not understand its importance?
Back to Basics. Building a foundation of proper movement starts with body weight exercises. The more a child can understand what proper movement feels like the better chance of the movement being executed correctly. Breaking down movements such as squats, deadlifts or pull-ups into small ranges of motion allowing the child to feel their muscles contracting offers a greater chance for a successful lift. Throw in cues specifically designed for children such as, “show me your zombie arms?” makes learning a new movement easy and fun.
What about adding weight? Depending on the age, throwing a training bar on a kid’s back and expecting them to perform a squat with precision is a ridiculous ask. During the course of Kids Unplugged, proper movement patterns are practiced repeatedly before any intensity i.e. load is utilized. Focus is on correct form over intensity. Through positive reinforcement and fun challenges, kids will be engaged while learning the proper mechanics which will help them move well throughout their day!