Back strengthening exercises for school children

26/08/2016

School bags and sports bags and long hours spent at the school desk negatively affect children’s backs and posture. That is why it is necessary to prepare for the new school year in good time. Instead of constantly repeating, “Hold your back straight!” it is much more effective to teach your pupils a small set of exercises aimed at strengthening the shoulder and back muscles, straightening the slouching and hunched shoulders –  characteristic of people having a sedentary lifestyle –  and preventing postural asymmetry.

It is advisable to do the exercises every other day; they would take only 15 minutes but the result will be noticeable within a few months.

Here are the recommendations of the physical therapist of the Orto Clinic Margarita Krauze-Drozdova who specializes in improving children’s back health and developing good posture.

What is necessary for the exercises: A gymnastics stretch band (available at sports stores) and a ball.

The exercise is begun in a sitting position. Both arms holding a stretch band should be raised straight above the head with the palms pressed close together. Then the arms should be lowered sideways (on both sides) – keeping them straight and stretching the band – to shoulder height.

For greater effect, the thumbs should not be kept distended on both sides while lowering the arms but they should be positioned to the rear.

The band should be kept stretched out for 3 – 5 seconds and then the child should return to the starting position.

At the beginning, it is advisable to repeat the exercise 10 times in 3 runs. With time, the number of repetitions and runs may be increased.

What is achieved by the exercise: The exercise strengthens the lower trapezius muscles and prevents the child from hunching up its shoulders.

The exercise is begun in a sitting position. Both arms holding the stretch band should be raised straight in front of the child at shoulder height. Then keeping the arms straight, the band should be stretched on both sides to full arm opening.

For greater effect, the thumbs should not be kept up while extending the arms but they should be positioned to the rear.

The band should be kept stretched out for 3 – 5 seconds and then the child should return to the starting position. At the beginning, it is advisable to repeat the exercise 10 times in 3 runs. With time, the number of repetitions and runs may be increased.

What is achieved by the exercise: The exercise strengthens the rhomboid back muscles located between the shoulder blades, makes the back straight breaking the hunching habit of the child.

The exercise is begun in an upright position with the knees half-bent. The back should be kept completely straight with the buttocks protruding. The chin should be tensed and kept close to the chest but the neck should be straight. Both arms holding a ball should be raised straight in front of the child at shoulder height.

Holding the ball in both hands, the child should raise it over its head and place it on the back of its neck. Then the ball should be rolled down the back and caught with both hands from the rear in the sacral region. Finally, the child should return to the starting position and repeat this exercise 10 times. With time, the number of repetitions may be increased.

What is achieved by the exercise: The exercise strengthens the large flexor muscle along the whole length of the spine. Several other muscles are involved in doing the exercise. That is why its effect is complex and has a positive impact on the child’s posture.  It particularly prevents the development of postural asymmetry.

The exercise is begun lying down on the stomach. The stomach is pressed to the ground. The feet are tensed and placed at shoulder width, resting on the toes, and the knees should not touch the ground. The forehead should rest on the ground. For comfort, a pillow may be placed under the forehead. Both arms holding a ball should be raised straight above the head.

Then the ball should be placed into one hand. Both arms held straight should make a wide swing sideways and then they should be joined on the back in the region of the tailbone, placing the ball into the other hand. After that, both arms held straight are returned with a swing sideways to the starting position. The exercise should be repeated 10 times.

Then the direction of moving the ball is changed and the exercise is repeated again 10 times. With time, the number of repetitions may be increased.

What is achieved by the exercise: The exercise strengthens the muscles of the breast part of the back and the muscles of the shoulder girdle. Several other back muscle groups are involved in doing the exercise. That is why its effect is complex and has a favourable effect on the child’s posture.


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