American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

Fitness training is where things can get really fun! The first two phases of training prepare kids by correcting muscular imbalances and poor posture, and enhancing strength and proper movement mechanics. Now they are ready to advance their training program with external loads and exercises that will enhance their speed, quickness and power.

This fitness phase is geared to improve current physical fitness levels and sports performance. Activities should include plyometric exercises and games. Plyometric activities should involve jumps, hops, throws and speed games. These exercises provide a distinct advantage for enhancing jumping and running performance in youth.

It is important to continually integrate exercises and skills learned in phases 1 and 2 during this fitness-training program. These are usually best practiced during the warm-up and in the initial part of the workout.

The use of extra resistance will enhance muscular-force production and can be used based on the initial training experience and goals of the youth.

By integrating all three phases of training, you will now begin to see fitness levels dramatically elevate.

Fitness Training Program


Jumping jacks - 15 reps x 2 sets

Skips – 20 yards x 2 sets

Pogo hops – 30 seconds x 2 sets

Circuit 1:

Plank with a reach or toe lift – 30 seconds x 1 set

Bird dogs with a twist – 15 reps x 1 set

Hip circles with one arm – 15 reps x 1 set

Scapular retractions – 15 reps x 1 set

Swimmers – 1 minute x 1 set

Circuit 2:

Walking lunges – 10 reps each leg x 3 sets

Squat jumps – 10 reps x 3 sets

Bear crawls – 10 yards forward and backwards x 3 sets

Box jumps – 10 reps x 3 sets

Rows – 15 reps x 3 sets

Resistance sprints – 30 yards x 3 sets

Medicine ball slams – 20 reps x 3 set

Exercise Descriptions


Plank with a reach or toe lift –Begin in plank position. Reach the right arm out in front of the body while balancing on the left forearm and toes;  pause and return to starting position. Alternate the left and right arm reach. Perform the toe lift by gently lifting one toe at a time off the ground about 1 inch and alternating between the left and right toe.

Bird dogs with a twist - This is the same exercise as the bird dog except you add a slight twist of the upper body by reaching open toward the sky instead of straight ahead with the arm.

Hip circles with one arm - This is the same exercise as hip circles except as you circle with the left knee, while keeping your left hand off the ground and stabilizing the body with only the right arm.

Scapular retractions - Lie on your stomach with your arms outstretched even with your shoulders and your thumbs pointing up toward the sky. Keep your face toward the floor and lift your arms up off the ground so your thumbs lift toward the sky. Squeeze the shoulder blades together and slowly lower back to the floor; repeat.

Swimmers – Begin lying on your stomach with your arms straight out in front of your body and the legs long. Lift both your arms and legs off the floor so that just your stomach and hips are touching the floor. Move both the arms and legs in short little swimmer movements up and down toward the floor.

Movement Training

Walking lunge - Start by standing tall with feet together. Take a large step forward with your left foot, landing on the heel. Gently lower your body down toward the ground, bending both knees until the left thigh is parallel to the ground. Press through the left heel to come up tall and step through with the right foot to take a large step forward and repeat the same sequence of moves.

Bear crawls - Start on the hands and feet in a semi push-up position, hips a little higher in the air than normal. Take a step forward simultaneously with the right hand and left foot. The left knee should almost touch the right elbow. Next, alternate by taking a step with the right hand and left foot, bringing the left knee close to the right elbow. Keep alternating steps and then reverse the move to come backward.

Rows - Attach a light-to-moderate resistance band to a pole or fence and hold onto the band with left and right hands. Begin in an athletic position and extend the arms long toward the attachment point. Next, bring the elbows back and squeeze the shoulder blades together. The hands should come to about chest level and the elbows can be high or out to the sides. Keep an upright posture and repeat this movement.

Plyometric Exercises

Squat jumps ­– Start in an athletic position (chest high, hips back, knees slightly bent, feet shoulder-width apart, small arch in the low back and heels on the ground). Bend the knees and lower the body toward the ground until the thighs are parallel to the ground. Swing the arms back to gain momentum and then explode up toward the sky, leaving the ground. Land as softly as possible and lower back down into the same squat position; repeat.

Box jumps – Use a low box about 6 inches high to start. Keep feet about 2 to 3 inches from the base of the box and perform a squat jump up and onto the box. Be sure to land on the box with feet shoulder-width apart and chest lifted high. Jump or step off the box; repeat.

Resistance sprints - Use a bungee cord or resistance band and safely fasten it around the low waist of the athlete. Have the athlete sprint away from you while fighting the resistance around his or her waist. Focus on having high knees and forward tilt of the body.

Medicine ball slams – Use a light- to medium-sized medicine ball. Begin in an athletic stance and raise the ball high above the head. Throw the ball into the ground just in front of the body and try to catch it on the first bounce. Repeat by raising the ball back over the head and throwing it to the ground over and over again. 

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