Upper-body conditioning

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My daughter is 10 years old and lacks upper-body strenghth. She hates push-ups and pull-ups. I've explained that if she would just buckle down and do them they'd get easier over time but she's not convinced!!

Does anyone have any other exercises that can help her build strength? I'm not very creative so I've been unable to come up with any alternative for her.
What about good ole' fashion handstands? A lot of upper body strength can be built...

up against the wall
handstand push ups
press handstand
chinese handstands (even my boys love trying these)
etc. etc. etc.

in the meantime, keep encouraging her to do the pull-ups - spot her if at home & never make her do more then 10 at a time even with a spot. (you can purchase a pull-up/chin up bar just about anywhere). Have her focus on 1 a week, then 2, then 3 etc on her own - she may enjoy it more if she does not feel like she has to a bunch of repetitions to reach her upper body strength. It is amazing how strong they get over even a short period of time.... gl
What is a Chinese handstand? I have never heard of them. How do you do them?
gymgramma--I was wondering the same thing!

Ingymmom listed some excellent ideas! You could also have her work on shoulder shrugs--do a handstand against a wall and shrug the shoulders--be sure to keep the arms staight. Start with 10 or so at a time and build on as she progresses.

Another fun one is what i call head tappers---do a handstand and pick up one hand--touch it to your head, then repeat with the other hand. Do about 20 to start (10 with each hand), and once again build on as she progresses. I always enjoyed doing this exercise because it wasn't a typical one.
Thanks so much....

These are great ideas!!! I'm curious about the chinese handstands too.

I didn't even think about spotting her on the pull-ups. She gets so frustrated because she can only do 2 in a row. I'll start spotting her and have her focus on adding 1 a week.

She'll love the handstand exercises. She's on her hands more than her feet as it is. Her poor brother and sister haven't learned to watch out for her. They're always getting a foot to the head.

Thanks Again!!
For the Chinese handstand - Found a pic with a simple explanation, it is a sort of press handstand... just trying these can make you stronger. LOL. All of my kids love to do variations of handstands - they like to compete against each other.


Our coaches always spot chin ups until the girls can do 10 on their own. They are pretty difficult to do & I can see how it would get frustrating fast. Good luck to your dd :)
Ingymmom -
Thank you for the pix of the Chinese Handstand - I think I will show it to my grandchildren for them to try....hmm, maybe I will give the boys a "head start" on doing it since their sister is the gymnast.....they'd love to "beat her" at something physical for once.
upper body strength

Try press handstands and climbing the rope. Don't despair if your dd can't do more than one press hand stand. You can spot her and she will get the advantage of most of the exercise. Eventually she'll get stronger and will be able to do more reps. On the rope, she can be spotted up to your own height and do it repeatedly to simulate a 12 foot climb. Eventually, she will want to do this with good form, that is with her legs parallel to the ground.

What your daughter needs to recognize and accept is that one does not get better without hard work. But she can have fun while she does it. Have her watch some well conditioned girls at your gym do their conditioning. I think your dd will easily be convinced when she observes another young gymnast train properly. She will see both their hard work and enthusiam. It is infectious.

Good Luck,


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