Workouts for Kids: Davida, fitness pro

Workouts for Kids



A family that plays together stays healthy together! Currently I have a few mothers with their teen daughters enjoying my weight lifting class. I love when I have two or three generations of families come to my group fitness or yoga classes. It seems the moms are trying to set a good example with creating workouts for kids while the daughters want to encourage their mothers’ desire to get in shape. We know busy moms take care of themselves last, so kudos to the daughters and hooray for the moms being good role models!

In Zumba classes it’s more common for women to bring their daughters and mothers. This happens a lot during the summer and school vacations. Sometimes one of my clients brings her sister, granddaughter and 88-year-old mother to dance. They all have a great time laughing and giggling as they followed along. The great-grandmother can keep up with the steps just as well as the granddaughter, although at a lower impact.

Many don’t think about workout for kids at the gym, other than dropping them off at the daycare service so they can go do their own thing in peace.  It begs the question of when can you safely introduce weight lifting and cardiovascular conditioning to your children?

Most gyms don’t allow children to participate in classes or use the exercise equipment until they are about 12-years old, which is a good minimum age. Any younger and most kids simply aren’t ready or lack the coordination to safely use machines or participate in the classes. I’m often amused, when teaching a class with kids, how quickly they become tired and take way more water breaks than the adults.

Fun Workouts For Kids!

School aged children should be getting some physical activity for 60 minutes every day according to The American Academy of Pediatrics.

Unfortunately most schools have decreased physical education funding and students are lucky if they have it once a week. Hopefully, parents can allow them to find a sport, dance or other activity to participate in after school. If not, then going to the gym or local recreation center together is an opportunity for the parent to bond with the child over exercise. It helps to focus on a variety of workouts for kids.

Workouts for kids 12 years old or younger should mostly include:

  • fun games like soccer,
  • racquetball,
  • Frisbee
  • or just throwing a ball around.

Encourage your child to run, throw and jump. This will help develop hand-eye coordination and get the heart muscle pumping.  I highly recommend dance for tall kids, like myself. Not only did I acquire great balance and coordination for my long lanky arms and legs, but also it helped me develop good posture. I dislike seeing tall girls and boys hunched over, hiding their height and elegance.

When it comes to children lifting weights there should be a little more consideration when planning workouts for kids.

  • The first question is why or what is the goal?
  • Studies have not shown any long-term disadvantages to kids lifting weights other than injuries from not doing it correctly.   
  • That is why they should be at least 12 or 13 years old and have proper guidance.
  • Then ask, what are they trying to gain?
  • Better performance for a sport is an admirable intention.
  • An adult then needs to guide them through exercises that target those muscles and keep them focused on that goal.  

If a teen simply wants to get bigger or stronger then they most certainly should have a mentor and be deterred from trying any short cuts such as using steroid supplements or high-risk weightlifting activity. They must be coached on proper form, consistency and patience as well as the need to properly warm-up before exercising and then cooling down and stretching at the end.  

Weight training exercises for children should be kept simple and preferably using free weights or tubing.

Machines can be awkward for their smaller bodies thus making them more susceptible to injury.  Using free weights or body weight they can do six to ten exercises targeting the major muscle groups such as the arms, shoulders, legs and core. The load should be light to moderate weight for 10-16 repetitions and performed one to three times.

Finally, children need to be cleared by their doctor for weightlifting or sports activity to ensure their heart is strong and they are not suffering from any illnesses that could be made worse with heavy exertion.  

As a young reporter I covered a few sudden deaths of children with undiagnosed cardiomyopathy, who dropped on the field  having their heart stop while playing soccer or football. It was a sad lesson for parents and school administrators who now require health clearance from athletes’ doctors.

Unless there is a medical condition deterring exercise, make your kid your gym buddy and get fit together. Or if your child independently gets the urge to exercise, by all means safely encourage it. Focus on different workouts for kids!


Strength Training for Children:



About Davida Wright Galvin

Davida is a fitness professional and former award winning health and science television reporter. As a mother and wife she juggles the daily challenges of raising three children, working and staying active. She likes to make fitness fun and helping people find joy in exercise so we can cure the obesity epidemic in our country. --------------------- UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, BACHELOR OF ARTS, Journalism; Certifications (Present and Past): AFAA Group Training, BodyPump, Zumba, Balletone, SCW Personal Training Certification, Turbo Kickboxing, YMCA Personal Training Certification, Vegas Stiletto Fitness, Reebok Core Board Training Certification, CPR/AED & Infant CPR; YMCA Fitness Instructor Certification -------------------- If you’re in the Denver area find her class or fitness events at Have fun, feel fit #withDavida!

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