The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Muscular Strength Strategies for Youth

Posted in
Fit Tips

Monday, Feb 05, 2018

  1. Med Ball Rainbow Squats:
    1. Assume the ready position wherein the exerciser stands up straight with shoulders retracted and the lower extremity joints (hips and knees) in a soft position. With both hands on the medicine ball, extend the elbows and hold the ball approximately one foot away from the body.
    2. Begin the squat and ensure that the back remains straight and the knees are over the ankles. Place the medicine ball in front of the right foot. The medicine ball is transferred in a rainbow like motion between squats. See video.
    3. Addition of the medicine ball allows for more core activation during the squat.
  2. Traveling lunges with a Weighted Bar:
    1. The exercise begins in the ready position as described previously. The exerciser holds a weighted bar slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
    2. Begin the exercise by lifting the bar towards so that it is parallel to the floor and the ceiling. Take a long step forward and lunge until the forward knee is at approximately 90 degrees and the back knee is 2 inches off the ground. The core rotates slightly and the exerciser places the weighted bar next to his/her body and parallel to the floor. See video.
    3. This exercise is designed to work on lower body strength and core activation. The difficulty of this exercise is greater than the Med Ball Rainbow Squats. Therefore, teachers should ensure proper progression of exercise.
  3. Row, Curl and Press:
    1. Assume the ready position. Begin the exercise by performing a hip hinge while maintaining a straight back.
    2. The exercise consist of three phases: 1) bent over mid row, 2) bicep curl, and 3) shoulder press. Between the mid row and the bicep curl, the exerciser will perform a hip extension. It is important that all of these movements are separate from each other. Perform the exercise slowly and avoid rushing through the movements.
    3. This is a great way to incorporate most of the upper body muscles into one exercise.
These are just a few suggestions for improving kids’ musculoskeletal fitness, specifically muscular strength. Always remember that while youth strength training is safe and effective, the intensity should be on the lower end and all progression is very gradual in nature.

For more musculoskeletal fitness blogs/fit tips see:
Strength Training for FitnessGram, Appropriate Warm-Up, Plank Variations, One Exercise-Whole Body, and Cardio Circuit Strategies.