Thoughts & Tactics for Training Kids

Garage Gym Athlete
Thoughts & Tactics for Training Kids

Hey, Athletes! Thoughts & Tactics for Training Kids  Episode of The Garage Gym Athlete Podcast is up! 


  • Jerred only podcast today and he is talking about training with kids!
  • He gives his background and why this is pertinent for him
  • He explains why GPP is the most important factor
  • He talks about what he has seen with his on children
  • And A LOT MORE!!

Diving Deeper…

If you want to go a little bit deeper on this episode, here is a link to the study for you: 

    • No study

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To becoming better!

- Jerred

Podcast Transcript

Jerred: This is the Garage Gym Athlete Podcast, and we're here to build autonomous athletes and put phenomenal programming into every garage, basement, and spare bedroom out there. I'm Jerred Moon, and I'm with Joe Courtney. We are strength and conditioning coaches who have turned over 20, 000 people into Garage Gym Athletes over the last decade, and we're here to reduce the information overload that exists in the health and fitness industry today.

We're going to do that by covering relevant science and give actionable takeaways, not only from the data, but from our years of experience. So let's dive in.

What's up garage gym athletes. Just me today, Jared Moon. And today I wanted to hop on to talk a little bit more about training your kids. Because this is something I have three kids. If you didn't know, ages 12, nine and six and the nine year old's about to be 10. Here in a few short months. And I just want to give everyone my thoughts and opinions and tactics on training kids, because I'm obviously seeing a lot of it with my kids being involved in sports.

And so there's some things I definitely want to talk about. And, just to give other people maybe some ideas for training their kids. And yeah, so let's get into it. One thing I'm not necessarily going over is if you have a kid who just doesn't want to exercise or a kid who has a ton of weight to lose I'm not getting into those.

I'm getting into that while I have thoughts and ideas upon that. Again, that's not where my experience is currently. First off, I never really thought I would train kids. I trained, I've trained a lot of people. A lot of average, everyday athletes, I would say. A lot of garage gym athletes. I have trained special operations in person.

I've just trained a wide range of adults, but never really kids. Never been something I got into until my kids started to grow up. And back earlier this year, or maybe even before, I can't remember, when we started. I was asked to start doing strength and conditioning for my son's soccer team because they found out my background and I started to talk more.

I did a podcast on that and talked about what I was doing and you know how I was tackling that, my thoughts and opinions at that time. But I thought I'd give an update because it's gone from doing some of that Strength and conditioning with large group of kids, which is, you're you're at the mercy of what you have available with that many children.

Then also you have to program around lowest common denominator, whatever one's capable of doing, there's not a lot of time for individual instruction, so on and so forth. And I ran into these same things when I did, when I trained large groups in the military. Is you have to develop workouts in a program that's going to work for everybody.

It doesn't mean people won't be pushed at all levels. It just means again, I can't sit there and teach every single person how to squat perfectly for 10 minutes. Each person, you have to give these generalized instructions. It's like the difference between one on one and group fitness, all the pros and cons that come with it.

But now I've gotten into more training, fewer people actually at my house now training my two boys. And then also some of their friends in this more one on one or groups of three or four, things like that kind of environment. So I want to give some updates. And one thing I've noticed is it's crazy what parents want.

I live in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. Football rules supreme here. Everybody wants their kid to play football. Everybody wants their kid in a lot, soccer is massive in North Texas as well. Very competitive here. And everybody wants their kid to be this phenomenal athlete. And I think it's crazy.

I was actually had a professional baseball player. I don't want to mention his name, but he was over at our house. My, my daughter is in dance with his daughter. So anyway they came over and we were talking about this and he was just blown away. He's blown away because his son is about the same age as my middle child and he's playing baseball and he's just blown away at how ridiculous all the parents are.

Yeah. And he was a, he just recently retired, was a professional athlete, a professional baseball player for a number of years. And he's just what are these parents doing? Like having their kids, pitch, six days a week, throwing hundreds of pitches every single day. What? He's talking about the injuries he's seeing in kids who are 11 years old with these adult level injuries and possibly needing surgery.

It is getting ridiculous, and all for what? And this is me poking the bear here. If you're one of those parents who thinks that, individualized sports training for hours every single week is gonna get your kid to the next level what is the outcome there? The chances of them making it into pros are incredibly slim.

And if you ruin their tendons or give them a bad back before they're 17 years old, because you don't actually know what you're doing, or you've hired improper coaches, the chance of them making a professional are next to none. So best case scenario, you don't have to pay for their college or they don't have to pay for their college.

However you want to do that. They get a scholarship. That's is that maybe best case scenario? Because the real best case scenario is less than 1 percent chance. That you're going to, your kid's going to go pro. And but everyone seems to have that mentality, like that's what's going to happen for their kid, and I think it's crazy, and so did this professional athlete, and when he and I were we're both in this world with the, seeing all the kids in these different sports and how ridiculous the parents are, these parents who, the parents who never played at the next level, like never got off, probably didn't even make the high school team, but their kid's going to do it, right?

It's just hilarious what we're seeing, but everyone's doing it wrong. I'll just go ahead and say, everyone's doing it wrong. They're going to two sports specific. They're trying to get too individualized. They're trying to specialize not only in a sport, but in an activity like pitching, like throwing, or just one specific sport.

And they're training too much. And what comes with that is overuse injuries. And what's crazy is kids are crazy resilient. So people think that they can keep pushing their kids to do these things. But I also have a. Parents whose kids are older going to D1 schools and their kids are just completely burnt out.

They have no, they almost don't care about the sport at all. They would rather just go be with their friends and have a life as opposed to doing all they have to do to be a D1 athlete. And they don't want it. Their parents wanted it for them, they got it, it's achieved. They're on a full ride scholarship, but man, they hate it and they won't play at the next level.

And what's going to happen most likely. I seen this happen to operators all the time is, a special operations. The second they get out, they're so burnt out with how hard they pushed themselves or how hard they were pushed. They gain a ton of weight. And they don't, they're not interested in fitness anymore.

They don't want to run another day of their life. I see that all the time. Sometimes it only takes five, six years of them being pushed in the military. They get out and then they're like, they're done with it. And they gained a ton of weight. They get out of shape. They can't run anymore. And the same thing I've seen happen even with friends I've had who actually played at really high levels.

And then they're just so burnt out. They get in get really out of shape because they're just so burnt out. I would just urge any parent out there who's trying to go down this sport specific world, this sport specific path, where you think that they're going to be the best in the world, or they're going to be pro, or they're going to get to college on a scholarship whatever the case is really check that, just think about it, just think about what you're really trying to achieve.

So anyway, having said that, what's my goal in training my kids? My kids are very into sports. Specifically, the two sports are going to be football and soccer. And they've dabbled in some other ones. They love basketball too, but like the sports that they're seeing, seeming to gravitate towards are football and soccer.

And I think it's cool. I want to support them. And the only reason I want to support them is because they enjoy doing it. I don't care if they get scholarships. I don't care if they play on the high school team. I don't care if they go pro. I really could care less about any of that. So what's my goal in training my kids, even though it is helping them with sports, my only goal in training my kids is to help them find a love for fitness.

Okay, that's it. And what I'm doing right now, because it's a summer at the time of me recording what I'm trying to do with my kids. Is I want to train them three days per week. I want to teach them how fitness works. I want to give a ton of instruction on individual like individual one on one instruction Here's how you properly squat.

Here's how you do a proper pushup. Here's how you run. I want to teach them how to do things properly, give them that foundation in their lives, but I only train them three days a week and they actually want to do more. And I say, Hey, you can do more, but you have to go do it on your own. I like I'll even write the workout for you that you need to do that day.

If you need help with that, because they haven't fully developed a programming skill, but ultimately I want them, if they want to exercise more four days a week, five days a week, six days per week. I want them to go do it on their own. And I'm letting them know that's a goal of mine. And I'm letting them know, like learning to work out on your own by yourself, without me pushing you, without a coach pushing you, without someone forcing you to do it, if you can just go into the gym or the garage or whatever, and do a workout without me having to push you and you made that choice on your own and you actually do it, you have now gained one of the most important skills in your life.

So that's one thing, one goal for me. I have my kids. And the other one is just a love for fitness, a foundation in pushing themselves to some degree in loving the process, the sweating, the just exercise, how it can be so much fun. That's my only goal. That's my only goal for them. And I think you should know that going into like how I.

I'm approaching this because I don't want them burned out. I don't want them to hate fitness at some point. I don't want them to quit exercising. I want them to just think it's part of their daily life, have a love for it and learn how to push themselves even when I'm not around. So with that, I want to talk about the baseline test I've been giving my kids and some other athletes locally who we've been training just to talk about.

I love before and after and not necessarily before and after photos, but I love before and after tests. So what can you do now? What can you do after we're training, after we're done training? And so I narrowed it down to running kids through nine different tests. Takes about an hour, depending on how many kids you have, but it's a similar to a military style test.

So I just want to give everyone my my baseline test is for training kids. It's one minute push ups. So just like a military PT test, as many push ups as you can do in one minute. I'm doing hand release push ups with kids because I found that it's very hard given their different sizes and how they want to push themselves to maintain their form all the way.

So hand release push ups, one minute of push ups, one minute of sit ups, and we do ab mat sit ups when we do those. One minute of squats, pull ups, no time limit. Just if you can do one or not. And I actually like to film the kids when they do the pull up to, cause some of them can't even do one. Some hang from the bar and barely can't even bend their arms.

Some can almost do one. And this is just like fresh out of the box. No training. And then I like for them to see progress week to week, or, Hey, you couldn't even bend your arms to try and get your chin above the bar. And now your chin's almost above the bar. Cause what their expectation is very unrealistic.

They're like, I want to be able to do 20 strict pull ups by the end of summer. I'm like, how about we just get one that would be phenomenal goal for the end of summer. So anyway, pull ups and then also filming their progress, just because it could be like, you couldn't get your, you could barely bend your arms.

And now you can, yeah, do a lot more than that. Next we do 800 meter run. I don't see any point in really going any further than that. I think 800 meters is a great amount of time for them to be able to stay focused and then also still push themselves to test their aerobic capacity. 40 yard dash just for fun and really to test some of that top end speed.

We do a sit and reach test just to test some of their flexibility. I do one leg stand balance tests. This is more pass fail. I have them do a series of different things, looking up, looking down, palms up, palms down, on one leg. I test both legs. I like to see if there's any big differences between balance right to left or just any big balance issues that I need to be aware of.

And then the last thing that we do is a 20 meter shuttle run, the beep test. You can get apps on your phone for this. If you, or you can just YouTube how to do the beep test, a great way to test overall VO two max. So another fun one there and that's it. That's what we do for our baseline testing.

And then we get to the training, but. The training that I'm running everyone through is all GPP. So general physical preparedness. And I've had some people ask me like, Hey, why are we, even when I'm training sports athletes, like why all this like general physical preparedness, that is not the exact question they're asking.

They're also asking. Why aren't we only doing dynamic speed and agility? Why aren't we doing like things that are gonna make my kid better at throwing a football or baseball? Why aren't we doing things that are gonna make my kid better at kicking a soccer ball? Why are we doing GPP? and I think general physical preparedness is phenomenal for human beings in general physical preparedness helps you with general life and I think it helps with sports as well.

Fitness is going to help you with basically anything, right? It's going to help you live longer. It's going to help you be healthier and it's going to improve your sports. This is a, like a relatively new idea. If you go back, if you watch the series, the last dance, or you do any research on Michael Jordan, you can see that.

I'm not going to say he was the first, but like around the Michael Jordan era was when an additional like training on top of the sports training, seemed to be beneficial and started to prove itself. And Kobe Bryant was a big part of proving that as well. Like a lot of guys, if they want to be about good at basketball, just played basketball all the time and practiced basketball all the time.

Shooting basketballs. Like shooting baskets at different angles and like trying all these different things, like just practicing the sport, but then they realized, Hey, if we do some speed and agility, if we do some lifting, if we do this, that, and the other, like just generalized fitness stuff, I'll actually get better at basketball, cause they'll be a little bit fitter. They can stay on the court longer, like all these other things start to come into play. So this is all relatively new, right? This is I want to play the sport a lot. Then, Hey, let's add some, some strength and conditioning, some GPP to our program.

Hey, I'm getting better at basketball somehow. How does this work? That's all relatively new. We're talking about like eighties and nineties, but now fast forward to today. And now we're like trying to put kids in these sports specific programs, only speed and agility. But they have no base. They have no general physical preparedness.

Now they can get some of that from just playing the sport in general, but it does depend on the sport. Like you're not going to get a lot of that in baseball. So I'm not going to beat a dead horse on like parents expectations and what you should be doing, but general physical preparedness is going to help children get better at everything.

And it's going to help instill that love for fitness that I'm ultimately going for. And what it really does, what I love about general physical preparedness is the way I program it is similar to how we're programming our IWTs on the hard to kill track right now. And except I wouldn't have kids, I'm not having kids like do heavy squats and deadlifts and then do something else, but I will have them do, let's say, lunges or have them do a pushup.

And then after the lunge or after the pushup, run for two minutes and then rest. We'll rest for two or three minutes and then we'll do a These generalized interval weight training structures are what is how I'm choosing to train the kids that I'm training. And the reason being is because they are getting a strength benefit to what we're doing, and they are getting some dynamic strength to what we're doing, but they're also getting conditioning.

And I think it's way better to combine these things because I think one thing that you have to take into account, and I've always said this, it doesn't matter if it's a professional athlete, regular athlete, or a child athlete, it doesn't You have to keep them engaged mentally. They can't have them check out.

Like my middle son, who's really into soccer. Would it be really good for him to greatly increase his aerobic base? And so maybe going on five, six mile runs and like really getting better, a better aerobic base. Yeah. That would probably be phenomenal. Can you get a nine or 10 year old to go run six miles and actually enjoy that?

Probably not. Unless they just want to do that. They're like really into running somehow. That's not my kids, and so what I think that you have to think about is like, how do I get them to love to do what we're doing, but still train for an hour, and moving around frequently with interval style training, I think is the best thing, like running for two, three minutes with another exercise and then some rest built in.

So they have the rest, so they're not getting defeated mentally that they're just going to get beat down for hours and hours. There's that portion of it, but they're also changing activity. Like we might do one or two intervals, say, push up and running and then rest, and then we're going to move to lunges and maybe using the skier that we have, Things like that.

We're moving around constantly. So it's also changing modalities. So they are able to stay engaged mentally. And so that's just something I think everyone should be taking into account is not trying to force this. Like you have to do what you hate. I just really have to be careful with how you're training the kids.

I know when you become an adult the discussions around discipline, like we talk a lot about discipline and how we just have to be more disciplined, how we have to kill comfort, how we have to just do things that we don't enjoy, and there's a time and a place for that to teach your children, but if you put them in a fitness based scenario and you say they train with you for an hour and they hate it, just say they hate it the whole time because you're really, you're just pushing them constantly, you're trying to make them.

Over exert themselves, all these things, and again, what are you trying to achieve? Yeah, their fitness is going to greatly improve, but will they hate fitness and not really want to do it when they get older? A hundred percent. I know when I had talked to some other parents years ago, and they would, one of the ways that they would punish their kids was actually physical exercise.

It would be like, and this is not what I do with my kids. So don't send me emails about it, but they'd have them like do wall sits or planks or burpees as punishments. Like they, their kids did something wrong. And so now they have to go do a hundred burpees or whatever. And I just, I thought that was just such a slippery slope, it's maybe that works great in the military, or maybe that works great in some sort of sports setting for collegiate athletes, or, again, military based training, but I That's not, I don't ever want my kid to associate burpee with punishment.

Punishment is a bad thing. Not that anyone ever is going to probably associate a burpee with being an awesome thing. But ultimately they should know that a burpee is predominantly for improving your fitness. Or a wall set is improving your strength and isometric contractions. Like I want to know things like that and not have this association with Oh, you, it's punishment like that's what exercise is you use it for punishment or to punish yourself It's no and it's to make you better.

And so GPP goes a long way in helping balance them finding a love for things Staying mentally engaged still having the ability to push themselves. It's a little bit shorter So making sure that you're switching from one exercise to the next and then also building in a good amount of rest and one thing I'm constantly asking all the kids You that I train is I'm getting my, their own subjective gauge on where we're at.

So I'm always like, Hey, scale of one to 10. We just finished that interval. Where were you out on that? Some kids are like I was a four and I'm like that's awesome that you were a four, but that means you could probably run a little bit harder. Like we could get up to that seven. And then I'm making sure kids aren't at a 10.

I don't need kids thinking that they're at a 10 That means they're trying as hard as they possibly can. I don't need that for every single interval, every single time. But I might throw that in there now that after they have these baselines of okay, I did that one. That was a seven. That was a five.

This is a six. And then I could be coaching them on a run. If they're on the treadmill and be like, Hey, I need you to we're about done. This is the end of the session. I want you to take your run last 30 seconds up to that 10 out of 10 threshold. And they're starting to learn where that's at. They're starting to be like, okay, yeah, I remember what a seven is.

I remember what an eight was. That means I'm gonna have to try really hard. I'm gonna go for a 10 and they finished and they're tired. And so like I've helped them learn on their own, what pushing themselves is and what they might also realize what I think will happen over time. I haven't fully ran.

Experiments on this is that they're going to realize that they're 10 out of 10 may have not even been a true 10 out of 10, right? They're going to learn Oh, I just ran so much harder because he told me to go 10 for the last 30 seconds, but I think I may have been able to go even harder and faster.

And these are the things that they're going to learn about themselves. Again, these are my goals. And so that's ultimately my take in what I've been doing. So if you're looking to train your kids. 100 percent I have a great baseline test. I think it tests them in a lot of different areas. We are staying away from loaded activities for the most part.

I'm trying to teach them good form on barbell movements with a PVC pipe. It'd be a long time before they touch a barbell because there's still a lot of ways to be explosive with jumping and plyometrics. And then also a ton of, low hanging fruit with just doing body weight exercises takes a long time to exercise or to max that out before you'd have to truly move on to weight.

And then even after that, it would be really light kettlebell stuff. And anyway, that's the progressions I'm taking them through. But then also just starting to think if you are looking to train your kids, think GPP, general physical preparedness, we're going to be doing mixed modality stuff.

We're going to be doing intervals. We're going to be changing up exercises frequently. We're going to be changing up duration of what we're doing, and we're going to let them self guide on their effort and help them learn over time. What. You know where they should be pushing themselves because you got to be patient with these things But if you're like me and the ultimate goal is like hey, how do I get my kid to love fitness?

Learn how to push themselves learn how to exercise on their own even when i'm not there These are the principles that i'm following right now and I said the first time I recorded one of these episodes and I say again like I will continue to update everyone on this podcast of how this is going and what I'm doing because it is just all kind of an experiment.

But one thing I'm not doing is sport specific training, speed work every single day, trying to get them faster. Get that 40 times faster every single week. I just think that those things are so unnecessary. And if I have any parents listening who are like that, Just be careful with what you're doing to your kid.

You might burn them out. You might be heading them down the path of overuse to where they're going to hurt their knee, their back, their elbow, their shoulder, their ankle, whatever, because to be honest, you don't know what you're doing, even though you might be hiring coaches, like I we've seen plenty of coaches in this area pop up who may have coached at a high school or had some sort of experience somewhere, but then they come down to this level of training, eight, nine, 10, 11 year olds.

And they're trying to get him to do what would basically be like a collegiate level strength and conditioning program, not okay, like I just don't think that stuff is necessary. And, another conversation I had with this professional baseball player recently is he said what he noticed the guys who he did run into growing up who were like that, is they would they would max out early on where the rest of them would keep going up.

Meaning. These guys who did specialize super early on, they'd be way ahead of everyone at the age of 13, 14, 15, 16, but then everyone else would just catch up. But they hadn't been pushing themselves to that level. They still have a lot left in the tank. Their bodies are starting to mature. They're actually getting the hormones needed.

And now they're starting to surpass these guys who were too serious, too early. So whether or not your kid's going to be a professional athlete, is it relevant? In my opinion, whether or not they're going to get a scholarship is irrelevant. You just need to help guide them in what they are looking to do.

And then ultimately help learn, help them learn to love fitness in some capacity. That's my take on training kids. Right now but that's it for this one for all the garage gym athletes out there doing the training and trying to get your kids Involved. Hey, it's awesome I've always said that I want my kids to go to other people's houses and be confused when there is not a gym in the Garage or in the house somewhere like I want them to be confused I want it to be normal that you wake up and you exercise every single day and that you push yourself I want these things to be normal.

This is the great experiment. I've been running with my kids And I hope to continue to do so for a long time. And all the garage gym athletes out there setting the example, showing your kids, what you're doing, letting them watch, they don't have to participate. Let them sit in the corner of the gym and learn.

And just by seeing you do it, you have no idea how impactful that can be on their lives. For anybody who's looking to get involved in this community and what we're doing, you can go to garagegymathlete. com, sign up for a free trial. We would love to have you, but that's it for this one. Remember if you don't kill comfort will kill you. 

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