In the fitness world there is a bit of a debate about the age a child should start working out and what types of activities and exercises he or she is capable of doing. As a fitness trainer it is your job to know these things since eager parents may be bringing you their little prodigy to get them on the fast track to the big leagues. There are many professionals in the fitness world that believe children have no place working out until they reach a certain age, most often 12 or 13, however they have no scientific proof to back their claims. If a fitness trainer is knowledgeable of the human body and how kids develop then there is no reason he cannot develop an age appropriate workout that will help them prepare for sports training as well as develop better motor skills.
When Can a Child Start Working Out? - As a fitness trainer this is a question you will have to deal with on a regular basis from parents. They are going to want to know when their son or daughter can start working out and to them it usually means strength training or lifting. In the past practitioners have discouraged against lifting and strength training for kids because it was believed to harm their bodies and damage growth plates. Since you are the fitness trainer designing the program for them you get to pick what they do and don't do in terms of exercises. Kids around the age of 8 and 9 will be the ones most ready for an introduction to training. Any younger and they won't be able to comprehend what they are doing and won't have to focus or drive to get the workout done.
Introductory training is going to involve mostly body weight exercises and drills to teach them how their body moves, so as a fitness trainer you will have to come up with a safe and effective plan. Here are drills that would be appropriate for kids just starting out in training.
- Push Ups, Pull Ups, Squats, Lunges
- Crunches, Sit Ups, Superman’s, Russian Twists
- Squat Jumps, Star Jumps, Calf Jumps
As you can see all of the drills are either body weight ones or plyometric drills. They will get the kids use to the weight of their own body as well as jumping and developing advanced motor skills. Being a fitness trainer you should have no problem navigating through these drills and adding others to fit the kid's needs.
When you are working with kids a bit older, most likely 12-13, you can add in more advanced drills and some free weights. It is important to make sure they have a solid base and that you don't give them weight that is too heavy or will overwhelm their bodies. A fitness trainer is ultimately responsible if their athlete gets hurt from exercise. Good exercises might be:
- Dumbbell Squats, Calf Raises, Lunges with Dumbbells
- Shoulder Press, Bench Press, Lateral Raise, Bicep Curls
The level and age of the children is ultimately going to determine what they are capable of doing and how soon you can add new drills. Just be careful, take it slow, and pay attention to the child you are working with. He or she will let you know when they are ready to move on to new things.
Article Title: How to Work with Young Kids as a Fitness Trainer