Monthly Archives: October 2013

Oct 31

What’s Wrong With Doing the Best Ab Exercise Ever for Kids?

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Here is a demonstration of “the best ab exercise ever“.

Supposedly, researchers measured the muscular force of 30 individuals performing different types of sit-ups. And this one measure the highest muscular force ratings.

image of kids doing sit-ups

One way to work the abs…and bond with friends

If you don’t want to click on it, it’s a crunch and bicycle kicks (alternating straight leg to bent knees) with a twist bringing your shoulder towards the opposite knee.

It’s a good exercise for kids, athletes and adults.

But best exercise ever? Don’t do anything else because you’re wasting your time is what’s insinuated. And that would be a big mistake, especially for kids.

One exercise is never going to do everything for everybody. And even if it did, kids would get so bored with it they would throw it out like split-pea soup.

Athletic kids (and adults too) need a lot of variations in their exercises. They need variation to work different muscles groups. They need variation to work different muscle fibers. They need variation to prevent injury. They need variation for rest and recovery.

And they need variation to keep their minds active and engaged. There’s nothing worse than a bored athlete whose checked out.

This bicycle sit-up with a twist is a good exercise because it works the lower, upper and oblique abdominal muscles. It might be too hard for some athletes…or adults. You could make it easier by breaking it up into three different exercises:

Crunches
Bicycle kicks
Twists

Also, you could make it easier by raising the legs (shown in the video) or you could make it more difficult by doing on a bench. Or add a medicine ball and have them throw it to a partner. Or attach resistance bands to the legs to make them work even harder.

The video recommends three sets of 10. That’s OK…fairly average, typical recommendation. But how about mixing them up with some leg work (squats, lunges or jumps)? And then add some push-ups for the upper body (and core) and a 25 yard sprint for cardiovascular and sports specific training. That would start to be a good workout.

The take-away from this is always have kids do a variety of exercises. Don’t pick on perfect exercise. Variety is the spice of life.

Oct 30

Right Shoes for Kids Sports

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

image of legs kicking a soccer ball

Having the right equipment can be very important for sports improvement and participation.

Last weekend, I got my son to go on a hike with me. As I’m his step-dad getting him to go with me can be difficult. Most of the time, he’d rather stay with his mom.

But I guess he could only stand so much indoor time. So we grabbed the dog and went for a hike up in the hills of Los Gatos. There’s lots of places and distances to go. I chose the second easiest. It’s probably about two miles and about half of it is uphill.

I love it and it’s one of my favorite places to go. As a matter of fact, my basketball buddies and I love it too. But kids…not so much. He said he was bored (his favorite thing to say) but we made the hike with no tears, injuries, falls or disasters. I thought it was pretty successful.

On the way back, I thought I’d pick up a soccer ball for him. I have one I use for Adapted PE but I keep it under inflated so that I don’t have to chase errant balls. Then after we got the ball, I figured we would go off to a park and kick it around a bit.

While in the store, he said he didn’t have running shoes. Three times a week he does running club at school and he’s been doing it in his Vans. Well, no son of mine is going to be running in Vans. So no questions asked we found a pair of Nike’s he liked and fit him.

He was blown away at how light, fast and how much cushion they had. And he was excited about trying them in running club.

Since then, we’ve been kicking the soccer ball quite a bit. And he added a mile to his two mile runs which is pretty good.

Having the right equipment whether it’s a soccer ball or running shoes can really help improve sports performance. And family bonding.

Oct 22

Teaching Youth Athletes to be Tough and Resiliant

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Image of a whirlpool

Sometimes things can spiral downward for a team. What can you do to help your athletes cope and become resilient?

One of my favorite sites is T-Nation. It’s gone through some changes over the last ten years but it still produces some great articles on fitness, strength, body building, nutrition and athleticism.

The articles can be hysterical, sexist and definitely not politically correct. The authors are either fitness pros who have years of experience and sometimes they let some newbies come in and guest post.

Chris Shugart is one of the editors. His articles typically aren’t about fitness…they are usually motivational and inspirational. I love reading them. His new article is entitled “Embrace the Suck” and it got me thinking about my fitness and life as well as how could I apply this to coaching or parenting kids.

His main point is that somethings are hard. They are difficult. Painful even. To accomplish something is going to take hard work, failure and disappointment. The more worthwhile the task, the more likely it’s going to “suck”.

The marines use this phrase when they know they will be in a bad position. It could be in mud, out numbered, under supplied or just working your butt off for days on end in a dangerous situation. They call it, “The suck”.

Any sport or endeavor that kids do at some point is going to “suck”. They need to be prepared for it, mentally and physically.

Here are three tips for getting your athletes ready for difficult times.

1. Prepare them. Make sure you talk about how hard something is going to be and some of the emotions they may feel during the difficult times.

2. Give them similar situations but less difficult. Just as you don’t go from zero to difficult physically, don’t do it mentally. Give them slightly difficult situations and then increase them as the season progresses.

3. Emphasize the rewards they will get for achieving and surviving. Don’t use extrinsic motivators like ribbons or money. Talk about the feeling of self-worth and accomplishment. Bring up how it will make them a better team and individuals.

What are you doing to help your athletes become resilient?