Emphasize the PLAY in Physical Activity Exercise 1: Raise the Bar

Feb 28, 2011
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“Raise the Bar! You’re a Star!” I say as I place my hands over top the hands of a child recently diagnosed on the autism spectrum that is participating in his first fitness class. I look in his eyes, provide praise, and together we lift a stick up to full extension in the air.

“Raise the Bar! You’ll go far!” I am introducing him to one the first movements in his warm-up, the first of seven a la carte sections of our Raise the Bar Fitness program.  But my goal is not to just introduce him to an exercise.  I am providing the start of structure, power through personal interaction, a movement that targets and fires muscles in and around the shoulder girdle, and most importantly introducing a playful & fun approach to an exercise.

Raise the Bar is one exercise I like to introduce because of its simplicity to integrate in the child’s daily life, children often have fun and find success in the movement progressions, and it provides immediate feedback to you and the individual performing the exercise.  Face to face, eye to eye, smiles and touching hands, you and the child participating can assist each other to raise the bar higher every day!  Raise the interest in exercise…raise their confidence…raise towards goals and progression in his or her daily health.

Supplies: I encourage parents and clients to keep equipment easy, handy and visible.

A “Stick”

  • A two foot 1-inch dowel rod can be purchased at a hardware store. And yes, please personalize “the stick” with stickers, paint, and allow the child to help in this design.  This will encourage “fun” and “play”.
  • With progression: “Fit-Stik” bar

Task Analysis (Or keywords for coaching cues):

  • Place feet shoulder width apart (place two marks where left and right foot should be placed)
  • Hands grip stick palms facing down
  • Grip is placed shoulder width apart
  • Arms extend in front for initial starting position
  • Arms raise up over head to full extension
  • Arms raise back down to initial starting position

*Recite the chant: “Raise the Bar! You’re a Star!  Raise the Bar! You’ll Go Far!!”

Reminder: Start slowly , breathe and have approach that is flexible, fun, and not forceful.  Give the child “fitwork” with an exercise chart to monitor progress, set goals, and provide a visual.

I look forward to hearing, learning and sharing more exercises from all of you!

Author: suzanne

  • Staffordcom

    This is a wonderful start to encouraging exercise to a child with autism. It’s a fun exercise, and encourages these children to enjoy physical fitness. Thank you Suzanne M. Gray for sharing your experties with us!