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Helping a 4 year old build strength

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Mumto2

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Sep 15, 2017
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Hi,
My son has been going to gymnastics classes since he was 18months. This summer he was picked to train for a place in the team. He broke his arm 5 weeks before training started and was in a cast of just over 3 weeks. His instructor has told me he is behind his peers due to a lack of strength in his arms and upper body and that basically he needs to build strength to get a place in the team (I forgot to mention his arm so I don't know if the preschool team had let her know). He has just turned 4 and came home quite upset about it all - he did start school this week too so he's shattered. He has been hand standing and attempting cartwheels all day and I can see weakness in the arm he broke. We want him to progress if he can but also want him to have fun, especially as he's so young. What are good exercises to help build his strength? Also If we put him back into recreational classes would we be denying him a chance to go for team again?
Thanks for your help
Mumto2
 
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Jard.the.gymnast

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How many hours does he train per week? Does he like doing things with you/ your husband? You could just do push-ups daily and after a few days ask him to do it with you, that way you can have some parent and child time as well. But I don't know your kid. I know I did this as a kid, I am sure not all kids like this
 
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Mumto2

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Sep 15, 2017
4
33
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United Kingdom
Thank you for your reply. He trains for 2 hours a week and also practices at home.
If we exercise in front of him he will join in and he loves my gym mat. He wants to do push ups but he does find them hard - today we've done them against the wall and tried on the mat. We also tried getting him to lift some canned food as weights - his coach suggested this. I was thinking the monkey bars or rings at the park would be good. His strength has improved in the last few weeks as I can see an improvement in his handstands etc but he's just not as strong at the others.
 
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Aussie_coach

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4 year olds build strength through play. If it is hard work and he feels no good, he won't last. The most important aspect of training a 4 year old is keeping them enthusiastic about going to the gym.

Take him to the playground and have fun on the monkey bars, flying foxes etc.
 

Mumto2

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Proud Parent
Sep 15, 2017
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33
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United Kingdom
Thank you, hopefully the weather here clears so that we can get to the park tomorrow. He does enjoy his sessions and is always excited to go. Our main priority is that he's having fun.
 

GAgymmom

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Oct 25, 2010
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Why are you pushing him? He's 4. He has plenty of time to build up strength, right now, let him be a kid.
 
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skschlag

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Jul 19, 2011
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Play, Play, Play. Boys have so much longer, and I cannot imagine a 4 yo being behind in anything. My now L10 15 yo son was still in preschool gym at 4. So, just play with him, and let him have fun. that will be the best way for him to grow!
 

FutureGirls

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May 20, 2017
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Can you get him in a pool? When my girls broke their arms, swimming and playing in the indoor pool helped their weak muscles a lot! Get him playing as a normal 4 year old and his arm will feel better soon! If my daughters coach told us to lift canned food to help with her muscles I would have thought them crazy. She too broke her arm at 4.
 

Mumto2

New Member
Proud Parent
Sep 15, 2017
4
33
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United Kingdom
Thank you for the replies. To be honest we have just let him play and be a 4 year old. He see the sessions as fun and that's how we want it to be. It was a shock to be told he needs to build his strength as we thought that would come with time.
He does swim and goes at least once a week hopefully that will help.
Because he has an August birthday he only had a year of preschool sessions (they can't start until they're 3) and as he's started school they're not an option anymore. Others in his group have had nearly 2 years in preschool sessions as they're just turning 5.
Recreational classes are an option but are always full. We gave up a place in them for this training so I'm not sure if he would get a place in those sessions if this training stops. Hopefully he will.
 
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