Core Strengthening Exercises for Kids

There are many benefits and ways of encouraging core strengthening exercises for kids. A simple definition of core strengthening exercises for kids are performing body muscle exercises or activities that promote strength and stability in the back, stomach, hips, and shoulders. These types of exercises not only build core muscles but also develop core strength, core balance and most of all; core stability.

Our everyday activities are based on moving our bodies in many directions along with holding ourselves up against gravity forces, they require a solid foundation from which movement occurs-that foundation is called the core!

When these core muscles are weak, children may have difficulties with skills such as handwriting, proper posture, coordination, balance and even the ribcage may be unstable which can influence a child’s breathing.

Why Is Core Stability Important for Kids?

Take a moment to experience why core stability is so important. Slump down in your chair – really slump down low. Now try lifting your head up to look forward or reaching your arm forward. See how it is difficult or inefficient?

Now trying sitting up tall. Have your eyes focus forward and reach with your arms again. See how it is more comfortable and easy? You are able to move off of your stable hips in many different directions whereas when you are slumped you are “stuck”.

Core stability allows the children’s body to support the head, arms and legs to do their jobs freely. Core strengthening exercises for kids can help to improve core stability making it easier for children to participate at school and during play time. These are the two most important jobs of children – school and play!

Lifetime of Core Strengthening

Did you know that core strengthening actually starts at birth? Right after a baby is born they have to use their core muscle to hold their heads up. When babies lie on their bellies it is an amazing core workout.

Have you ever seen babies on their backs playing with their toes? Wow, what an abdominal strengthening exercise! It is not a workout for them – it is play time!

Core strengthening exercises for kids promote core body conditioning in children during all stages of growth and development.   It is an important aspect of childhood fitness that should not be overlooked at any age since these muscles are strengthened depending on the demands placed upon them throughout life.

It may be challenging to add core body conditioning into a child’s fitness routine since they often do not have the same motivation level when it comes to exercise. It is important that you adjust their approach by introducing playful activities that they will enjoy so that at an early age, your child can reap great rewards from being healthy, fit and energetic!

Examples of Everyday Core Strengthening Exercises for Kids

There are many core core muscle strengthening exercises for kids to choose for children whether they are preschoolers or in the primary grades.

For example, floor time play naturally provides core strengthening for babies versus being is a container like an infant seat.

Preschoolers climb playground equipment, go down slides (excellent core strengthening to sit up and go down a slide in control) and more! All everyday activities that they enjoy anyway.

Toddlers love to climb and play outdoors. These are excellent examples of core strengthening exercises for kids.

Fun activities such as climbing trees or playing on the playground equipment strengthens the core muscles more than other exercise workouts since they allow your child to move in many directions which provides resistance training benefits by using gravity resistance forces against movement.

As children get older, it can be more difficult to find natural expereinces to build the core muscles. Swimming, yoga, gymnastics, and martial arts are excellent examples of activities that encourage core muscle strengthening.

Read more on everyday core strengthening activities for children here.

Two Important Core Strengthening Exercises for Kids

The Core Strengthening Handbook

Below are two important core strengthening exercises – The Plank and The Bridge. These exercises should be practiced with correct alignment in order to get maximum benefit from them. Remind children to maintain proper posture throughout the exercises.

How to Do the Bridge Exercise with Kids

Instruct the children to:

Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor under your knees.

Tighten the belly and bottom muscles by pushing your low back into the ground before you push up. (Imagine a penny on your belly button and lower into the ground).

Raise your hips to create a straight line from your knees to shoulders.

Squeeze your core tight, pulling your belly button back toward your spine.

Hold for 3-5 seconds, and then return to your starting position. Repeat several times.

Want to watch it? You can view the bridge exercise here.

Need to add in playtime? Ask the children to raise their hips and you will drive cars or roll a ball underneath them. Make it a game. How many times can you roll the ball under while they hold their hips up?

How to do the Plank Core Exercise with Kids

Instruct the kids to:

Lay on the floor on your stomach. Put your hands down with forearms and toes on the floor. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders.

Push up into the plank position holding your body very straight and keeping your toes and forearms/hands on the floor. Relax your head and look down at the floor.

Keep your belly muscles tight pulling your belly button toward your spine.

Your back should be straight and your hips should not drop down. Keep your shoulders down and not up by your ears.

Hold this position steady for 10 seconds. Relax back down to the floor.

Need to make it fun? See if you can balance stuffed animals on the child’s back as they hold the position.

Summary on Core Strengthening Exercises for Kids

Each day our children need to move their bodies in many directions along with using their brains to learn new information. This requires a solid foundation from which movement and learning can occur-that foundation is called the core!

They need strong core muscles to breathe, speak, sit upright, use a pencil, play at recess, participate in gym class, and so much more! Encourage core strengthening exercises for kids at an early age through play and training as children get older.