How to Build a Kid's Upper Body Strength

A young kid is throwing a ball.
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Kids often participate in baseball, basketball, tennis or other sports that require upper body strength. Whether you are a coach or a parent, you can help your children to build upper body strength in a safe manner. Strength training helps kids to improve bone density, hand-eye coordination and self-esteem. Additionally, it can help to increase sports performance. However, strength training exercises should never be performed with a goal of bulking up muscles, since this can result in serious injury. Focus on technique and having fun while training kids to build upper body strength.


Step 1

Warm up by walking or jogging for 10 minutes.

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Step 2

Perform pushups with the child. Place your hands flat on the floor directly under your shoulders. Place your toes on the floor. Lift your body into a straight line. Bend your elbows and lower yourself until you almost touch the floor. Straighten your arms and lift yourself back up. Repeat 15 times to work your chest. Have the child follow your lead in doing pushups.

Step 3

Do the smash down. Stand up with your feet hip-width apart and hold a medicine ball in front of you. Tighten your abs. Swing your arms up over your head and stand on your toes. Swing the ball down toward the floor, bending your knees and going into a squat position. Stand back up. Repeat 15 times to work your triceps, abs, shoulders and back. Then have the child repeat what you just did.

Step 4

Complete medicine ball power drops. Set up an aerobic step with six risers. Have the child lie perpendicular to the aerobic step with his or her head next to the step. Step onto the aerobic step and hold a medicine ball. Have the child bend his or her knees and place his or her feet flat on the floor. Drop the medicine ball and have the child catch the ball and throw it back to you in an explosive movement. Warn the child that you are going to drop the medicine ball before dropping it for the first time. Repeat 10 times to work the child's arms, chest and shoulders.

Step 5

Cool down by walking or jogging for 10 minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • Medicine ball

  • Exercise step with six risers


Stretch the upper body after every workout.


Weight lifting is not recommended for kids younger than 7 years of age.

Kids should use a light weight when lifting weights. If a child cannot lift a weight or medicine ball easily eight times, the weight is too heavy for the child.

Always supervise children while they perform strength training exercises.

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