Full-Body Conditioning Exercises for Kids

Sports have always been the primary ways for young children to engage in regular exercise, but not all children enjoy these extracurricular activities. Some children would rather perform fun exercises that emulate child’s play, including swinging on the monkey bars or playing tag. Children are naturally active and it’s usually not for competitive reasons. They have a lot of energy that needs to be dispersed someway, somehow. With the invention of television, video games, and other forms of electronic entertainment, the level of activity has reduced, unless they go out for sports.

Exercising in a gym is a great opportunity to stay active, however, many facilities do not have kid friendly atmospheres. Even without the use of gym equipment, there are plenty of things your child can do to get in shape and get moving. Here are a few at-home workouts you can perform with your children that are fun and effective in helping them maintain a much healthier lifestyle.

  1. Speed Skaters: A quick cardio intensive exercise that will surely warm up the legs and core.
    • Start in a normal standing position, take a big side step to the right (you can even hop if your athleticism permits it).
    • Swing the left leg behind the right leg while bringing your left arm across your body.
    • Take a similar big step to the left side, bringing your right leg behind the left leg, and the right arm across your body.
    • Continue alternating between each side, increasing speed with each rep. Do this for 20-40 sec, and then rest and repeat if need.
  2. Split Jack. Also known as a split jumping jack, this exercise is another great warm up that requires minimal space but plenty of endurance.
    • Stand up straight with one foot forward and the other extended behind you, so that you form a lunge position. Keep your arms at your sides.
    • Jump in the air from the lunge position and switch your feet moving the back leg forward and the front leg to the back while raising your arms over your head as you jump, just like doing a jumping jack.
    • Repeat jumping from the lunge position while switching your legs back and forth for 20-40 sec.
  3. Plank to Low Squat. This exercise combines two foundational movements into one heart-pounding combo that will surely tone the legs and abdominal region.
    • Start in a standard plank position, with your hands directly on the floor directly below your shoulders and your feet extended back. The body should be in a straight line.
    • Jump your feet forward and lift your upper body up so that you land in a typical squat position.
    • Pause, then reverse the movement to end back in the plank position
    • Repeat for 10-15 reps.
  4. Push Ups. This is the quintessential upper body workout for tricep, pectoral, and shoulder strength.
    • Begin in a plank position, palms firm on the ground and back straight.
    • Inhale and lower your body towards the ground in an attempt to make your chest touch the ground. Your elbows should be directly by your sides.
    • Exhale as you push back up to the starting plank position.
  5. Mountain Climbers. This is a fun, fast-paced, heart-pumping exercise that targets almost every single muscle group in the body.
    • While in the plank position, bring one knee forward towards your chest, keeping both hands firmly planted on the ground and your core tight.
    • Return your foot back to the starting position and repeat rapidly with the other leg.
    • Repeat going back and forth with each leg as fast as you can for 20-40 sec.
  6. Star Jump. Another simple and fun exercise for the legs and shoulders that resembles playtime more than actual exercise.
    • Start standing straight up with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend down to a squat position to begin the exercise. Be sure to keep your knees behind your toes.
    • Jump up as high as possible and extend both arms and legs as you jump.
    • Bend your knees as you land in a squat position
    • Repeat for 20-40 sec.
  7. Inchworm. This is a great low-impact workout that targets all of the major muscles without too much intensity. It helps with mobility, flexibility, and strength.
    • Begin in a standing position, feet hip-distance apart.
    • Hinge forward at the hips and place both palms on the ground Bend you knees slightly if needed.
    • Start to walk your hands forward, with your shoulders stacked above your wrists, until you’re in a full plank position.
    • While in the plank position, start taking steps forward until your feet reach your hands. If you cannot do this, an inverted “V” shape is perfectly acceptable.
    • Repeat for 4-6 reps
  8. Burpees. If you’re looking to burn some calories with a high-intensity workout, or you just want to get the children tired enough so they fall asleep faster, this is the exercise for you.
    • Start in a low squat position, fingertips barely touching the ground.
    • Jump your feet back and place your hands firmly on the ground beneath your shoulders to get into plank position.
    • Do one push up before immediately returning back to the low squat position
    • Jump up in the air from the squat position.
    • Repeat the cycle for 10 reps upon landing back in the low squat position.
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