A Fitness Plan to Prepare Your Kids for Summer Sports

Filed under: Tweens, Teens, Activities: Babies, Development/Milestones: Babies, Sports

Each week, personal trainer Reggie Reyes shares with us a child-related health and/or fitness concern that he's been approached with, and how he's helped clients to solve the problem.

Joanna came in with her 12-year-old son, who is an avid soccer player. His outdoor season starts some time in May, which was about two months away at the time. He did not play any winter sports and she noticed that he had put on a little weight around his mid-section. She was concerned that he was out of shape and that he might not be ready for the soccer season. Joanna wanted her son to follow a program over the following two months that would prepare him for the outdoor season.

About the Child (Let's call him Joel)
Joel had an athletic build. The only drawback to his physique was his belly. When I asked him about his stomach, he mentioned that he didn't exercise or play any sports during the winter months. He said he felt slow and weak, and lacked energy. He was looking for a program to get him back on track.

My 8-week training plan for Joel, after the jump...

Initial Thoughts
Unfortunately, excess fat in the mid-section has the highest consequences on one's health status. Therefore, increasing Joel's activity level and improving his eating behaviours were my top priorities.

On a brighter note, Joel's mother was way ahead of the game. Most parents and kids use the beginning of the season to get in shape. This increases the risk of injury, as kids do too much too soon. She was being proactive by having Joel prepare two months before the season -- similar to the schedule of professional athletes.

The 8-Week Preparatory Training Plan
Assuming Joel is relatively healthy and strong, the following program will reduce his risk of injury, trim down his belly fat and ensure he is ready for his outdoor season.

*Note: Parents keep in mind that this preparatory program plan can be applied to kids in most summer team and individual sports such as baseball, tennis, lacrosse and rugby.

Weeks 1-2: Build Aerobic Base, Core Strength and Flexibility

  • Three to four days per week for 30 to 45 minutes: Jogging or biking at a high intensity
  • Five to six days per week for 10 minutes: Stretch all major muscle groups such as lower back, front and back thighs, shoulders, ankles and hips
  • Five to six days per week for 15 to 20 minutes: Complete exercises for the abdominals and lower back such as crunches, superman low back floor extensions and variations of side crunches

Weeks 3-6: Build Overall Strength and Maintain Aerobic Base

  • Three days per week: Complete a full body strength circuit including push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, side shoulder raises, squats, arm curls, close grip triceps push-ups and calf raises. Complete 20 to 30 repetitions for each exercise and repeat the entire circuit two to three times.
  • One to two days per week for 30 to 45 minutes: Jogging or biking at a high intensity

Weeks 7-8: Build Power and Maintain Strength and Endurance

  • Two to three days per week for 30 to 45 minutes: Complete a variety of jumping exercises, short 20 – 30 yard sprints, agility and change of direction drills, medicine ball upper and lower body exercises
  • One day per week: Complete the full body strength circuit (above)
  • One day per week for 30 to 45 minutes: Jogging or biking at a high intensity
Reggie Reyes is a certified kinesiologist and personal trainer. He is the president and founder of pt4kids a company that creates specialized training programs for kids all ages and fitness levels.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.