Australia's #1 fitness career site
576 jobs online

Strict Standards: Only variables should be passed by reference in /sites/fitnessc/public_html/blog__/blog-view.php on line 41

Finding Your Fitness Niche: Training Kids

Finding Your Fitness Niche: Training Kids

In life, you can’t be and do everything. And as a Personal Trainer, it’s the same. By offering everything, you’re spreading yourself too thin and, in the long run, it’s not beneficial for you or your clients.

Finding your fitness niche is an important element of starting out. To find this niche, think about what you’re good at, what you’re passionate about, and how you would make it work.

Training Kids

So you’ve decided that you’d like to specialise in kid’s fitness. Great! Now what? While training children can be very rewarding, there are a lot of things you need to consider to ensure safe and effective outcomes.

Just like adults, children are unique. However, the key thing to remember is that they are still growing so workouts and exercises need to be designed around this. On top of this, children are very impressionable, so it’s important to use the correct language and motivational techniques to encourage rather than force. Emphasise the importance of health, fitness and physical activity rather than weight to help put them on the right path.

And remember, designing programs for kids is not simply a case of reducing the severity, weights and reps of the exercises you set for your adult clients. When it comes to kids, it’s a whole different ball game of what’s most effective.

Keep An Eye Out For Injuries

Because children are still growing, there is potential for some exercises to have a negative impact on the growth and development of their bones.

Until their late teens, rather than a fully fused bone kids have a growth plate made up of tissue at either end of their long bones. This means they are at greater risk of injury.
To support growth, rather than hinder it, create fun circuits that encourage bone development using weight-bearing exercises. These include high-impact activity such as jumping and skipping. However, avoid constant repetition of these activities as this will put a strain on their growth plates.

Other things to consider when avoiding injury are:

  • Vary the intensity of the exercises. Include low, moderate and vigorous intensity exercises so the session is interesting and beneficial.
  • Make sure the session uses a variety of muscles and body parts. Children don’t have a long attention span, so mixing it up will help keep them focused and it will ensure they’re getting a full-body experience.

Strength Training

Prior to puberty, muscle coordination is much more important than muscle bulk. A child’s strength is derived from an increase in muscle coordination and motor unit activation. Essentially, exercises that promote these two factors send a signal to the muscle, which in turn strengthens it.

It’s often better to use a child’s own weight as resistance rather than hand weights. Think push-ups, handstands, cartwheels and planks. Skipping, jumping over obstacles and hopping are also great exercises to increase strength.

However, as a child grows and develops, don’t shy away from using weights. Just remember that they’re kids and you need to use appropriate ones. Weight training is only recommended for children aged 8 years old or over, and only up to 3kg can be used.

Also, simple exercises should always be used so that the correct technique can be learned and performed safely. Take your time when conducting weight training to ensure you can correct improper technique.

When strength training, there are a number of things you need to include in your training plans:
A solid warm up of 10 minutes. This should be made up of general fitness activities, and must be conducted before any strength or conditioning training occurs. You can even make this fun! For example, if you have a group then play a game of tag or stuck in the mud.
Make sure you work opposing muscles groups and both sides of the body so there is proper muscle balance. This means working both legs if you do lunges and, if you conduct core exercises, remember to include some lower back ones as well.

Make It Fun

Exercise should always be fun for children. It should encourage a healthy lifestyle, getting outdoors, playing with other kids, and general wellbeing. You need to make any workout fun and engaging so the kids will come back, and remember that many children are also quite competitive, so don’t be afraid to play a few competitive games while training them. Create obstacle courses and amazing-race style activities that encourage the kids to run and jump, and you can even create challenges that have them work together to get to the end.

« Back to Articles