Strength training through games for kids

Here's a video of a little bit of tug-o-war that my boys love to play. Forget about sled pulling for strength training; here's brother pulling! I filmed about a minute of it, but they usually play this for a very long time as each one loves dragging the other around.

By the way, for those who don't speak Chinese, there's a part that I found funny when my youngest son, Aaron, say's "Dad! My butt is peeking out!" as he pulls his pants up.

"play as way"!


Kids tend to have an incredible amount of endurance and are very strong for their size. They have these attributes due to highly functional bodies and a lot of play. I always wondered at what age were we suddenly conditioned to feel that doing reps and sets of an exercise was fun? If you made young children do a lot of reps and sets, they would be bored out of their mind.

I'm curious if this conditioned mentality is something that is mainly found in modern westernized society. I am curious if you went to some primitive tribe in the jungle and had those people do reps and sets of exercises if they would actually think that was fun.

Bolo I disagree that people actually do think of exercise sets/reps as 'fun'. I think fun is more about novelty (eg surfing a wave; winning a longjump) ... the grind of reps/routines (paddling out; leg pressing) is more something you make yourself do in order to reach a goal.

That said, back on the topic of kids & exercising: I've got mine (6 and 8) into the habit of doing pushups, squats, handstand pushups, and chinups whenever they want to persuade me of something. "Can I have an icecream?" and they know I'll probably say yes, if they first do reps (up to the number of their age) of those four exercises . Or perhaps more.

Those are our standard exercises, though I change it up too by throwing in a sprint, or 2 minutes of punching-page, or shrimp up and down the hallways, or tossing back and forth a medicine ball, whatever. Occasionally they moan at me and my crazy requirements, but most of the time they find its no big deal, just the 'normal thing' they need to do. I usually do it with them at the same time too, which they find very encouraging.

(They've also noticed on their own how much stronger they are than their little friends, and how much better climbers they are, and like it. They also like showing off their ripped little muscles for me too, which is very cute, and makes Mum & Dad proud :)

As an MBF practitioner, I have worked with many forum members. I am very surprised when I tell clients to go do something fun and the number of people who say, "I want to lift weights."

I would guess they were actually thinking "I need to lift weights to get stronger/better", rather than "i want to lift weights for fun". However, of course you were there, not me.

I think lifting barbells and dumbells is boring. Lifting sandbags sounds like it could be fun though. Also, competitiveness could be creeping in. If someone has a competitive streak, they might consider that aspect fun even if the activity itself isn't.

Bolo would it be possible to devise a manual labor "routine" that would give comparable strength benefits to a weights program? Is any specific type of manual labor very good?

The strength developed from weight training is different from the strength developed from manual labor. I have seen numerous times in which people who lift a lot of weights are dying when they do extensive manual labor. I find that strength from manual labor is unrelenting while the strength from weight training tends to exhaust itself much sooner.

One important thing to remember is that no man made exercise can replace the effect that natural movement has on the body.

There isn't any specific type of manual labor that is better for the body than others. It's all good. But also keep in mind that the human body was designed to move in many different ways. In some situations, manual labor creates imbalance because do person does a repeated movement over and over and does not balance it out with other movements. That is why is also important to have a variety of different types of movement and activities.

Landscaping wouldn't be a bad job, lots of variety as long as they don't ride a mower all day.

I worked for a moving company for a few years and that was probobly the most intense and varied form of physical activity from manual labor that I've ever done. There are so many different actions, ranges of motion, speeds, etc...used it's ridiculous.

I could imagine that moving furniture for a couple hours would be some pretty intense weight lifting!

Definitely! There's the jumping up on the back of the truck, grabbing stuff (boxes, etc...), pushing, pulling, lifting, climbing, stair walking. There's times where you move quickly with relatively normal posture and there's times where you move very slowly in contorted positions (such as when carrying a sleeper sofa up a winding staircase or up a trinity). After a while, you get past the point of being tired and your body tries to find the most efficient way to do things to save energy.

It can be a very interesting and fun way to explore excercising if interested in that sort of thing. Otherwise it's a pretty good way to make a decent paycheck, lol.