We are all aware of the ever growing problem of obesity and the general lack of fitness of our younger generations. The reduction of regular exercise programs previously seen in physical education classes and general play activities in our primary and secondary schools, coupled with the ‘internet’ phenomena, has accelerated this decline in fitness and movement education.K Giles, L Penfold and A Giorgi (2005) A Guide to Developing Physical Qualities in Young Athletes
With the unprecedented events that we are all currently facing, the need to stay active for our mental and physical health is paramount, especially as we cannot get out as much as we would like or hope.
However, there seems to have been an uproar in the physical education community that home workouts being completed and advocated at home by fitness “celebrities” are taking the E out of Physical Education. But you could argue that by simply doing, we are learning. Learning to move efficiently/proficiently should be the starting point to the E in Physical Education, supported by strong resources/tools.
This leads me to my next point – the home workout. If home workouts are the way forward for the foreseeable future until we are out of lockdown, they should incorporate the foundational movements of the Push, Pull, Lunge, Brace, Rotate, Hinge and Squat.
These movements should form the basics of any sound athletic development program and should look to be included in home workouts. Along with a sufficient heart raiser activity. This could come in the form of (bearing in mind we are in a lockdown) high knees, side shuffles, forward and backward jogs. An activation task for muscles, pike walk, multi-directional lunges some crawls.
Mobilisation activities, such as Inchworms, Lying hip rotations and Leg Swings, lastly followed by some form of potentiation of the nervous system, vertical/horizontal jumps, Medicine ball throws and sprints, again if possible. All of these form a great start for a warm up and in the process, starting to put the P back in PE. We have an opportunity to also highlight the E, we can certainly use this time to educate our young students of the benefits of a warm up.
All of a sudden we can progressively and systematically look to build some home workouts that build overtime, using a broad base of movement vocabulary all in a progressive manner with purpose, not rushed and not just ‘prescribed’. The matrix below could be used to help build a strength base for all and one that isn’t rushed – consistency is key as is gradual progression.
If you don’t have access to the correct facilities or resources, choose the key activities and movements that can be done within your own context and space. Complete it two to three times a week, rest every other day and watch how much stronger one will become. We certainly need to put the physical back into Physical Education. But we can also use the Physical elements to expand upon the technical aspects of the foundational movements. In turn, we’ll help children to become better movers and subsequently better learners, when it comes to sport specific skills later on in their own physical development journey.
In the meantime listen and watch out for the podcast that I hope to be featuring on with Rob Anderson from @athleticevouk based in Scotland.