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12 Essential Exercises To Get the Whole Family Working Out!

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A recent issue of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal featured an article boasting a high intensity circuit training that only lasts 7 minutes!  The circuit comprises of 12 different exercises that should be performed for 30 seconds each and with a 10 second rest between the exercises.  The idea is that you go at it hard and really push yourself to the max knowing that it will be over in 7 minutes.

If you are worried that your child isn’t very active, this may be the perfect way to get them started. It’s also something you can do together and help encourage each other to do. Intensive endurance training has been proven to be effective in children as young as 8, and the following exercises have been adapted from the original ones to make them more child friendly.

1) Jumping Jacks

This is an exercise that works on total body coordination, motor planning, and endurance.

2) Wall Sit

Lean against a wall and slide down till you are in a sitting position. Holding this position will work your thighs and bottom. Try and encourage your child to hold this position for as long as they can and ideally build up for the full 30 seconds.

3) Push-ups

If you have a younger child you may want to adapt this to a wall push up to make it a bit easier. This will work the abdominal postural muscles in the upper back.

4) Abdominal Crunch

Most children should be able to do a sit up but if they are finding it difficult, hold their feet.  Strong abdominal muscles are important for posture and balance.

5) Step-ups

You can change the height of step depending on your child’s ability. Encourage them to repeat as many step-ups as possible in the time, and to alternate their leading leg.

6) Squats

Encourage your child to bend their knees and squat down as low as they can before rising up again.

7) Triceps dips

Triceps dips are hard to master for children so I would encourage them to sit with their legs out between a pile of 3 books each side of them. Then ask them to place their hands on the books and lift themselves up off the floor and repeat. If that is too hard, just hold the position.

8) Plank

I don’t know anyone who finds this easy, so for children I would adapt it to get into 4 point kneeling and raise opposite arms and legs, holding for 15 seconds and then switching.

9) High Knees Running

Encourage your child to get their knees up as high as possible whilst running on the spot.

10) Lunge

The lunges can be done holding onto a surface if your child finds it difficult to balance.

11) Push-up and Rotation

I think this exercise would be too hard for most young children, and instead I would recommend your child to lie on their tummy on a bed or sofa with their hands on the floor. With half of their body supported, ask them to give you ‘high 5’s’ with alternate hands as quickly as possible.

12) Side Plank

This exercise is very difficult and I would recommend that your child keep their hips on the floor and just props up their upper body.

This quick routine can easily be fitted into everyday life and is a great way to get the whole family exercising together. You can even add in a little competition to get them motivated! Our physiotherapists would be more than happy to show you the exercises and adapt them for your child. Contact us today on 020 7884 0374 or email

Post by Victoria Healey, Head of Paediatric Physiotherapy at Physiocomestoyou.