Archive for “Planes” Tag

Making Strength Training Fun for Young Athletes using Resistance Bands

Making Youth Fitness Training Fun with Resistance Bands

Speed and Agility Training Program 3

A t least once a week, I am asked about youth fitness training using bands, and in most cases, all I can envision is kids being put through a grueling workout using big bands that literally throw them around like a human slingshot .

OK, maybe I am a little off, but I see a lot of things on YouTube that scare me when it comes to training young athletes.

So here’s a tip on how to have your athletes naturally enjoy training:

If you really want to make youth fitness training fun, start making the training game-oriented.

My goal with any young athlete resistance band workout is to get them to train instinctively because when they reach that level, they are as close to a game situation as they possibly can be. At that moment, training becomes fun because athletes are thinking about competing, not training.

Over the past several years, I have had the chance to test some resistance band training games with youth fitness training and wanted to share some of these simple training games with everyone in the IYCA.

Video – Partner Zigzag training for Young Athletes
Young athletes need direction and a target. I find cone drills like a simple Zigzag drill to accomplish both of these. The key to this drill is making sure athletes have a good understanding of how to shuffle or backpedal and how to hold for their partner. Once this is accomplished, Zigzag drills are very easy to implement. Within about 2 minutes, you will have taught and trained a young athlete how to decelerate in the frontal and sagittal planes while developing good reactive strength from their trunk, hips, and quadriceps.

 

 

Video – Ricochet
Ricochet is a drill I developed to teach deceleration in youth fitness training. It has become a training game because athletes can compete while performing it. It can be used for all band locomotion drills but can also be effectively used for strength training drills as well. The video below demonstrates how it works with locomotion. It is used for strength training drills in essentially the same way, with athletes alternating back and forth during the strength exercise. This format is great for developing teamwork, but it is also very effective at improving strength endurance—especially when done for a 2-minute time interval.

 

 

Video – Partner Reaction
This drill is where athletes get to test their partner, who now is their opponent. Athletes face off where one is offense and one is defense. Defense must react to offense and try to mirror them during the drill. Best drills for this are shuffle or turn-and-go drills. Also, 2-step deceleration drills work well with this setup. This is also a coaching favorite because you allow the kids to dictate the start and stopping point of the drill.

 

 

1-Minute Partner Challenge
The 1-minute partner drill is fun because you can do it with 2, 3, 4, or 5 athlete teams. You can do all the same exercise or you can have each athlete do a separate exercise for 1 minute. The goal is to get as many reps as possible in 1 minute before transitioning to another exercise. My favorite band exercise for this are:

  • Band Push ups
  • Assisted pull ups
  • Split Squats
  • Squat Jumps
  • Front Squats
  • Overhead Press
  • Turn and go (touching a cone)

To make this entire resistance band training game experience just a little more motivating, all these games can be played anywhere because bands are so portable. This means:

  • Kids can train at their practice site and not have to go into a smelly weight room
  • Trainers can have athletes train outside where it is much more enjoyable to do
  • Coaches can throw these types of drills into practice any time and supplement conditioning with strength training

To be a successful youth coach, you must find ways to motivate young athletes starting from a very young age and continuing throughout their high school years. Resistance bands can provide a definite change of pace that athletes find fun and challenging at the same time.

 

Getting BETTER with BANDS

 

Dave Schmitz

 

P.S. On this final video, I thought you would enjoy watching 2 very special young athletes have some fun competing while training in bands. Pay special attention to the laughing that comes along with this type of training. To this day, Kenzie and Carter Schmitz (yep these 2 are mine; I thank God every day) still talk about this experience and when they will be able to do it again. This is yet another reminder that youth fitness training doesn’t have to be filled with boring, routine drills; competition is a great thing!

Video – Kids Getting The Best of Some Fitness Pros

 

 

 

If you are looking for a fun and exciting new component to add to your training programs that will have your young athletes performing their best then check out the IYCA Resistance Band Course. In this course you will learn how to use one of the most versatile, and effective, training tools for young athletes!

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http://iyca.org/bands/

Youth Fitness Professionals: My Job Is To Equip You

 

 

Youth Fitness Professionals

There is no real danger in kids performing machine based training under the proper supervision and appropriate guidelines. Many studies done the world over have concluded that strength based training programs done on this kind of fitness equipment is very safe for young children (again under appropriate guidelines). My issue is not whether or not kids CAN perform this kind of training, my question is WHY they need to.

 

Back tracking for a second, I have watched (as I’m sure we all have) a very young baby struggle to get to their feet. In terms of strength output, this equates to a near maximal load. No one seems to be concerned about it until that child becomes eight or so years old and wants to lift weights… Then people want to call the police on you because you had the ignorance to let a child perform strength training! The bottom line is that kids CAN handle strength training based loads… heck they do everyday – hopscotch, tag, bowling, ANY sport – all these things require varying degrees of strength.

 

Now the question of why. I just have never been convinced by any article, book or study championing child strength training that kids SHOULD use machine based fitness equipment. The reality is that sport AND life are based on the functionality of movement. Juan Carlos refers to it as the Four Pillars of human movement; Paul Check has a similar model which incorporates six stages.

 

My point being that whether you are dealing with a young athlete or just a young fitness participant, your goals as Youth Fitness Professionals should involve obtaining health and/or sporting proficiency on a useable level. Machines provide support (I have trained so many young athletes who simply cannot produce stability in all three planes), and the force application is both pre-set (which just begs for biomechanical dysfunction) as well as pre-guided (unfortunately sport and life are not).

 

My other concern with machines is that they inhibit two very important concerns when dealing with young athletes (actually when dealing with anyone):

 

1. It is very hard to train unilaterally when using machines (one side of the body at a time). Unilateral training, in my mind, is one of the most crucial components of developing young athletes.

 

Youth Fitness Professionals

2. You simply cannot train (either produce force through or learn to stabilize) the transverse plane. As referenced in many Kinesiology based books, over 85% of our core musculature is oriented horizontally or diagonally – we are designed for rotation, yet machines don’t allow for it.

 

My suggestion for working with young athletes (and this is based on several factors including age, emotional maturity, current physical proficiency) is as follows –

 

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