Friday, 04 September 2015 01:01

Beginners Fitball Exercises for Kids

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Beginners Fitball Exercises for Kids

 

                                                                                                                                        

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The importance of physical activity for children has been well documented for many years. Novel exercise programs and routines have been developed and rolled out to encourage children to exercise and stay involved. In recent times fitballs programs have been incorporated into kids exercise routines as a means of challenging their overall coordination and level of fitness. Fitball exercises can also be fun and a cool way for kids to challenge themselves in a controlled and incremental way.

What are Fitballs?

Fitballs (also referred to as Swiss balls, Exercise balls, Gym balls, Body balls, and Gymnastic balls) are large inflatable elastic spheres that are approximately 35-85cm in diameter. The air pressure in the fitball can be adjusted depending on the level of support you require with the exercises you are performing. Fitballs are also used in weight training programs where the ball becomes the bench or seat for different types of weight training activities.

 

 

 

 

Exercises your Children can do with a Fitball

The first thing you should do before your child uses the fitball as an exercising tool is to measure the ball against your child to determine the correct size. To achieve this have your child sit on the fitball with his or her feet on the ground. The correct size fitball will allow your child to sit comfortably in the middle of the ball with a 90 degree angle at their knees and hips and their feet placed flat on the ground.

Once you have the correct size fitball for your child, you can begin with the simple program outlined below.

 

Stability on the Fitball

The first thing you should do before you attempt any type of exercise program with your child on the fitball is stability movements in a stationary position. Have you child sit on the ball with their back straight and their feet planted flat on the ground. As they are sitting up straight on the fitball have your child slowly tilt their pelvis forward and back. This will allow them to get use to movements on the fitball. When they are comfortable with this movement have them slowly lift one leg of the ground and hold for 5 seconds before they place it back down. Have your child complete this exercise 10 times on each leg. This will show your child how instability works and how they need to support their body on an unstable environment.

 

 

 

 

Lying on the Fitball

The next stage of familiarity with the fitball is for your child to move from a sitting position on the ball to a lying position on the ball. This is quite a big challenge and I recommend caution as your child attempts this progressive step. Make sure there is plenty of clear space around the fitball and there are no obstacles like tables or chairs that could cause injury.

Your child starts in a sitting position on the fitball. From the sitting position have your child slowly move their feet away from the fitball and at the same time position the head, shoulders and back onto the ball so they are moving into a lying position. You may need to assist your child through this process by supporting the fitball while they attempt this. As they develop confidence with this movement have them transition from a sitting to a lying positon and vice versa.

Once your child has mastered these movement you can now start incorporating different exercise programs into their fitball exercise routine.

Fitball Squat

Fitball squats are a fantastic exercise for your child to build strength in their legs, lower back and butt. Start by placing the fitball against a flat wall. Have your child place the small of their back against the fitball on the wall. Your child should be standing upright with their feet flat to the floor and their toes pointing forward. Your child’s feet need to be shoulder width apart and your child’s knees need to track directly above the 2nd toe. When your child is comfortably standing in the start position have them slowly sit by bending at the hips and allowing the fitball to move up the spine of their back. A full range of movement occurs when your child’s thighs are parallel to the floor. The key with this exercise is to maintain a straight back and keep the feet flat to the ground and the knees tracking above the 2nd toe. Your child should perform 10-15 repetitions of this exercise.

Fitball Superman

This is where your child can have some fun whilst performing a fantastic exercise for their back, hamstrings and butt. If you want to get really creative allow your child to dress up in their favourite superhero outfit. This exercise starts with your child lying over the fitball with their hips and lower stomach on the ball. Your child’s feet and hands should be able to touch the ground. When they are comfortable have them lift their right arm and left leg into the air so their body forms a straight line between their tips of their fingers and their toes. Once this has occurred have them relax their arm and leg back onto the ground. It is now time to change the combination by lifting the left arm and right leg into the air. This exercise does require a little coordination and stability. You may need to assist your child by supporting the fitball. Your child should perform 10-15 repetitions of this exercise.

 

 

 

 

 Lying Stomach Fitball Crunches

 

This exercise is fantastic for your child to build some strength in their core and deep abdominal muscles. To begin this fitball exercise your child lays on the floor with the fitball placed between their feet. Have your child squeeze the fitball tight. With your child’s head and back flat on the floor have them slowly lift the fitball of the ground and move their knees into their chest. Once their knees have reached their chest have them extend their legs back out and place them back on the ground. The key with this exercise is control and slow movements ensuring that the head and shoulders are touching the ground throughout the movement.  The fitball should remain between their feet throughout the movement. Your child should perform 10-15 repetitions of this exercise.

Fitball Push-ups

The last exercise outlined in this beginners program is the fitball push-ups. This is a fantastic exercise to build strength in your child’s arms, chest and shoulders. This exercise can be scaled up or down depending on the level of complexity and difficulty you want to achieve.

A starting point for this exercise begins with your child kneeling in front of the fitball with their hands positioned on either side of the balls centre mark. The level of difficulty increases or decreases as your child moves their knees closer to the fitball or further away from the fitball. I would suggest starting with your child’s knees closest to the fitball. The exercise begins with your child moving their chest towards the fitball by bending their arms. The key is to maintain a straight posture with the back and head remaining constant. Once your child’s chest touches the fitball have them extend their arms and push back up. If this seems easy have your child move their knees away from the fitball. The goal is to slowly progress to a positon where the knees aren’t touching the ground and your child’s legs are straight with the toes only touching the ground. Your child should perform 10-15 repetitions of this exercise.

Fitballs are a fantastic tool for your kids to use and have fun with. They can be used in multiple ways to build strength and fitness levels as well as scale exercises up or down depending on the fitness level and strength of your child. They can also be used in fun activities like relay races or to play games or can be used for kicking or bouncing to build hand eye coordination and strength in the legs.  Whatever exercises routine you decide on, the key to longevity with fitballs is lots of fun, heaps of variety and constant progression. If you can achieve this your child’s fitball routine is in good hands.

 


 

Read 3759 times Last modified on Friday, 04 September 2015 08:13

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