View Full Version : Teaching methods for kids

Steve Shafley
06-08-2007, 09:18 AM
I'm trying to teach my 13 year old to swing a kettlebell, perform a deadlift, and a squat, and I cannot get him to maintain a neutral back position.

In fact, I have an extremely hard time even getting him to bend at the hips, rather than at the spine.

Does anyone have any teaching methods they use for this and others for individuals completely unfamiliar with any kind of exercise?

Robb Wolf
06-08-2007, 09:29 AM

This seems to be a really common situation. I've found that a little Glute-ham bench work and reverse hypers "wakes up" the awareness of the hips and low back.

Standing broad jumps can be a nice unladen method for firing those movement patterns as well.

Steve Shafley
06-08-2007, 09:34 AM
It's frustrating. He has a difficult time doing even a goblet squat without curving his spine over. I don't want to start him on the pulls and swings (which he does ok sometimes) without first making him aware of this.

I don't even want to talk about the upper body strength of your average American 13 year old. Let's just say that 'girl' push ups are challenging.

Ron Nelson
06-08-2007, 10:13 AM
Dude, we have too much in common. I can't even get my 13 y-o daughter to lift her ass off the couch, let alone deadlift. I have taken her to the gym a couple of times and showed her the DL. Girls seem to get the neutral spine easier than boys, who want to use the lower back to lift everything.

I might use the Dan John method of teaching the RDL. Hold a pole behind him and have him stick his butt out to touch it. Keep moving it back and have him stick his butt out farther. Eventually, he'll get it.

Allen Yeh
06-08-2007, 10:23 AM
The 12 year old has no interest in what I do, but then he begs to use the bowflex (my wife's) so he can get buff. Drives me nuts, so I set a rule down that he has to be able to do certain thigns to standard before I even let him touch a bowflex i.e. pushups, pullups squats...etc

The 8 year old is very interested in all of it and as long as I remind him he can squat and do swings without rounding his spine. When he does squats I always remind him to sit back like sitting into a chair. With swings I tell him to keep his shoulders back (as opposed to huncing over) and to sit back.

Greg Everett
06-08-2007, 11:07 AM
the ghd extensions are good. even starting with a superman to get that feeling of contracting the glutes and erectors in a virtually no-movement, easy position. then standing, trying to set the back the same way and incrementally leaning over farther and farther. have him stick his hands in the creases of his hips (pinky sides, like he's judo-chopping himself) to provide input on where he should be folding.

finally, reinforcement. when he does it right, give him a cookie. when he does it wrong, hit him with the kettlebell.

Rick Deckart
06-08-2007, 11:36 AM
Demonstrate the technique and let him copy it, do it often, very often, be the model. With respect to the swing teach it like rocking a swing, very little amplitude first, think centimeters, the movement is pretty much self-correcting.

Rick Deckart
06-08-2007, 11:40 AM
BTW did you loose the rights for www.powerandbulk.com, doesn't look today like I know it...

Steve Shafley
06-08-2007, 12:40 PM
I don't know what's going on with it. Apparently there ARE some issues, and I'm going to have to go check out what's going on with the folks who are doing the tech service stuff for the forum.

Ken Urakawa
06-08-2007, 04:50 PM
I've sometimes had people start with just a waiter's stretch to get that glute/ham awareness. Sometimes if they're really struggling I'll have them standing with their back to a wall or door, so that they can push their hips back to rest against it while I mess with their body position if necessary. Once they can do that and feel the stretching and activation, they'll progress on to the supermans, BE, etc., that everyone has already mentioned.

josh everett
06-09-2007, 12:43 PM
As a college strength coach I get about 150 new students each year. Some just do not get the arched back/hinge at the hips motion(sometimes for 2-3months). Couple of things that help...
I have them physically locate their hip joint with their hands, move thier knee up & down then expalin that i want them to bend at thier hip joint not their waiste.
Another trick that works is to have them place thier hands at the crease in their hips (think karate chop position with the hands) then lift thier knee so the hand is pinched. Now ask them to hinge at the hip, bend over & fold themselves over thier hand. Not sure if I'm giving a very good visual or not.
Lastly what seems to work best is goodmornings with a pvc pipe. For whatever reason many kids will keep the arch & hinge at the hips on a GM when on an RDL they were not even close.

Mark Fenner
06-29-2007, 06:23 AM
Can you do overhead squats (with pvc) with much forward rounding? I've tried, but OHS lends itself to massive back arch. Might give that a try.

Also, for myself, I've found that squatting on a step (on the staircase, stand on the floor and sit on the bottom stair) or on a small milk stool/step, pushing the knees out, and then focusing on big-chest/buddha belly both helps stretch my hip flexors and also reinforces proper hip/back positioning. My legs are basically static; I can toy with my upper body.


Craig Snyder
07-12-2008, 05:01 PM
I was going to start a new thread, but this one is close to the topic I was going to ask...so I resurrected it.

My 6 year old has shown an interest in oly lifting. I was wondering what kind of challenges I am going to run into training him (or any child of that age)? I am used to training teenagers, so my usual cues for body positioning aren't going to work on him. What type of supplimental exercises would benefit him? The regular programing exercises such as squats, pulls, RDLs, presses, etc, or should it be more of a gymnastic based training (which is basically what we are doing already anyway)?

He is fairly athletic already, 3 dead hang pull ups, 15 push ups, working on his planche (he uses his knees to support his elbows still) and he can deadlift more than his bodyweight.

Thanks for the advice.


Jared Buffie
07-12-2008, 09:33 PM
I`d like to hear about this as well. My son turns 5 this week, and is already a strong kid - he can pull himself up, and he deadlifts my 54lb kettlebell (almost 1.5x bodyweight) with ease.

For him at least, there has to be fun involved for him to stay focused.

A little off topic, but it`s kind of related...

Since I saw that exercise is better for depression than antidepressants, we have a new rule in my house for anyone who is whiney or grumpy (including my wife and I): recite 5 things to thank God for, then 10 burpees with a smile on your face. You should see my 3 year old daughter pound out the burpees - chest and thighs to floor, big jump... she can go all day!

sarena kopciel
07-12-2008, 10:10 PM
awesome.. can see the news now.. burpees cures depression. oh how this will help all those kids with high chol and alleviate the need for statins!!:)
why cant all parents be as smart as you are??

Craig Snyder
07-13-2008, 07:05 AM
awesome.. can see the news now.. burpees cures depression. oh how this will help all those kids with high chol and alleviate the need for statins!!:)
why cant all parents be as smart as you are??

I just about died when I heard about that report. The side effects alone of the cholesterol lowering drugs should be enough to not give them to our kids.