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SBallerina

Cardio, strength and flexibility - young students

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I am planning a lesson that is going to consist of fun games that encourage strength, flexibility and cardio for young ballet students.

Have you got any ideas or experience with games/exercises they might enjoy?

 

Many thanks! :)

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Crikey.... that's a huge question, I could potentially write a book on this! 

 

In short - if you want to stress cardio, you need to get out of breath. Anything can do this - loads of games, fun activities, silly 'playground' or party games etc etc. If you want to add in a strength component that makes it slightly more challenging, and it largely depends what you really want to strengthen (legs/arms/core). One of my favourites for strength/cardio is wheelbarrow races although it targets predominantly arms and core. Working on flexibility is harder in terms of games/fun exercises - I prefer to focus on active flexibility these days which would be easier to make fun than passive flexibility but I'd need to think a bit harder about that one! To be continued!!!!

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There used to be a section in the old BBO jazz syllabus called free move, which was essentially just running round and following instructions, jump and roll, star jump etc. I still use it as a bit of a wake up (especially with boys classes) whoever gets the instruction wrong has to do a forfeit, varies by age but that could be press ups, plank, burpees, arm circles etc.

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My 10 yr old does a Commercial class and she mentioned they did planks one week. I think jacks/star jumps are good fun for them too.

I took her to a class called Konga (it's harder than it sounds!) The plan was for her to sit and play on her iPod. Initially she claimed to be tired after her P.E lesson but she joined in with most of it :)

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Slightly off topic: is there a good reference for what exercises are/aren't safe for younger kids? I'm thinking in particular of a 9-10 year old.

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Colman this is something I'm going to be working on soon. The general consensus is that strength training is actually ok for children as long as it's not to the point where fatigue causes danger (same as in adults). The major factor to consider at that age is the immaturity of the skeleton (softness, especially at growth plates) and that more bone will develop at sites of strain causing problems later such as bone spurs. My advice based on where I am at with my reading around the topic and understanding so far would be to avoid anything repetitive that causes compression at and part of the body (ankle, spine, hip etc) and focus on building strength in large muscle groups using 'functional' movements such as squats, lunges, crawling on hands and knees or on hands and feet, throwing/catching, pulling/pushing.

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