Is it too late for my child to max out their flexibility forever? How will this affect their sports performance as they grow? Regardless of how youth gain strength, it is important for them to maintain flexibility in the presence of their stronger and potentially larger muscle mass. Research shows that flexibility is greatest in childhood and declines with age, especially if exercises to maintain flexibility are not included in their fitness routine. This is important for both boys and girls, both for static and dynamic flexibility involving large and small muscle groups.
If you want your children to be the best possible athletes that they can be and have the lowest chances of injuring themselves, flexibility training MUST be a part of their repertoire.
I have been studying this for many years and feel very passionate that whatever your child’s sport(s) of choice is (are), they need to complement it with flexibility training. This is why my program is a fusion of turning inward (meditation) in a fun way, yoga training, strength training and games that increase agility/endurance.
It is very important that the kids have fun while they are incorporating all of the prongs above. For example, I love to have my kids wear their favorite hoodies/ put up their hoods and remain quiet while they turn inward.
I also like to incorporate items from their sport of choice to help keep them focused. For example, the hockey players use their sticks for meditation and flexibility training (the lax players use their lax sticks and the soccer/ basketball and baseball player hold their soccer/basket or base ball, etc.). I have created specific yoga flows incorporating each of the balls that the kids love.
After the kids max out their focus, I like to go into an active warm up. Teaching them how to run and jog is a go to of mine. Agility is also extremely important- games like red light green light and steal the bacon are very popular amongst my teens.
Next its bodyweight training. Kids are not adults and this training must be done in a way that helps the kids accrue bone mass. Like flexibility, kids will max out their bone density by the time they reach their mid-twenties. It is important for them to do the correct weight bearing exercises which include running, jumping and dancing.
Give your child the gift of bone density- by their 20’s its too late
During puberty, bone mineral content accrues at a faster rate than during earlier childhood. During the early stages of puberty, bone is especially responsive to the benefits of weight-bearing physical activity. These activities stimulate bone mineral acquisition. It will also help them to “land properly”. If their bone density levels are not fully reached, kids can risk broken bones just by landing from a jump. If you want to max out bone accrual during the years when it matters, weigh bearing exercises are a must.
My adolescent groups love to have jump rope contests
Jumping rope is great for bone density formation. It’s an inexpensive tool for kids to use on their own outside.
Stability ball training is also a good way to incorporate fun and flexibility training.
Lastly, I love putting the kids on stability trainer and having them hold poses and catch balls.
Check out this article: LeBron’s extra edge: Cavaliers star’s devotion to yoga training helps keep James healthy
Balance is so important for youth athletes. Check out LeBron’s secret yoga bubble workout- This is one I love to duplicate with my kids. They enjoy it tremendously.
What can you do to help your kids? Do you have questions? Let me help you.
Try getting your kids to do these activities- 60 minutes a day should be spent on this. On average kids spend 5 hours a day on computers and televisions. Help them not to make this a habit. Kids who enjoy training grow up to be healthier adults. Form good habits now.
Visit with me over Skype or at Dynamic Personal Training (by appointment only) monday-fridays 3-5:30.
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