Back injuries are particularly dangerous in children that are still growing. With many children's fitness classes being offered at larger gyms, it's never been more important to instil safe practices when it comes to using correct technique to provide spinal support. Weight training has been proven to help with a child's posture through skeletal and muscular development, however with their lack of experience in the gym it's important that instructors understand how best to approach training. Follow these chiropractic tips to ensure your classes are child friendly and safe.
Bodyweight Exercises Bootcamps
Bodyweight exercises are perfect for children as you are removing external weights that can cause strain on the back, leading to an increased risk of injury. Any adult or children's chiropractor will advocate the need to build core strength, as well as an understanding of how to engage the core muscles before moving on to more advanced movements. Get the children to practice squeezing their abs whenever the squat or push up, so that they get used to making that mind muscle connection. You can also practice breathing techniques and use things like bean bags and light medicine balls or footballs to practice safe lifting.
Children's Strength Sessions
If you're looking at running a child's introduction to weighted strength training, then the next logical step from a bodyweight bootcamp is the resistance machines. These often allow the user to adjust their body position for maximum comfort, and usually have some sort of backrest. This can help when trying to teach them about posture in the back, as it's easy for them to be able to sit up straight and maintain contact with the seat. Whilst technique is still important on resistance machines, they can be somewhat forgiving at times and can build confidence if used correctly. Start off with lighter weights and build up over time, allowing the muscles of the core, particularly the lower lumbar region of the back, the abs and the obliques to strengthen.
Children can definitely benefit from free weight training, however using lighter weights and higher reps is recommended. Again this allows you to check their technique, but also it enables them to gradually build strength, particularly in the lower back. By beginning each session with an introduction to the correct lifting of the weight from the floor, you can develop their technique which will serve them well in future sessions and encourage them to focus their efforts on quality of reps, not quantity.
There are many more benefits to strength training than just increased strength. By following these chiropractic training tips, you can also help to develop a child's posture when sitting down at school so that they maintain correct spinal alignment, which in turn has shown to increase confidence levels and concentration.