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    Educational Philosophy, Home Education

    Swedish Drill How-To {Part 2}

    August 31, 2016 by Dawn Duran
    Are you read to add FIVE new exercises to your Swedish Drill repertoire? Instructions and videos and encouragement from Dawn.

    Have your children been having fun practicing the drill exercises reviewed in my last post? Perhaps they’re ready to move on and learn some new ones? Let’s get to it, then!

    This time we’ll be adding five new exercises to your drill repertoire. By the end of this four post series you’ll have learned the fundamental positions and enough exercises to comprise two entire drill routines. I’ve created a tracker for you to use to help you remember which exercises your children have been taught and mastered. You can download that here.

    Remember, your child should be instructed not to demonstrate the movement until he hears the cue indicating that he should do so. In other words, don’t follow the example my children set in the videos here to a “t.” They were intentionally filmed during the learning phase rather than upon perfection of execution. In the introductory class of movements we will learn Foot Placing Sideways and Lunging Forward. We’ll begin with Foot Placing Sideways, which looks like this (when you’re 5 years old, at least):

    This is really merely a preliminary movement that will be required when performing more complex movements, which is why it is reviewed in the Introductory section.

    Instructions for this movement are as follows:

    Wing Standing.
    Hips – firm.
    Foot Placing Sideways.
    Left foot sideways – place.
    Recover – place.
    Right foot sideways – place.
    Recover – place.”

    Next we’ll discuss Lunging Forward, which is an excellent exercise for balance as well as for strengthening the hip and thigh musculature.


    The back should remain steady and stable while the legs do the work. The child’s knee should not extend in front of the toes of the forward leg; rather, the child should sink into the movement such that the front shin remains relatively perpendicular to the floor. The child can be cued to use his gluteal (ie butt) and quadriceps (ie thigh) muscles to push back to upright upon the return from the lunge position.

    Instructions for this movement are as follows:

    “Hips – firm!
    Lunging Forward.
    Right forward lunge – place!
    Recover – place!
    Left forward lunge – place!
    Recover – place!”

    Continue to alternate legs until your child has completed 5-10 on each leg.

    To make sure he or she is really listening you can give instructions for 2-3 repetitions in a row on the same leg rather than alternating. This is a good trick to use when you notice your child’s attention lagging and he or she starts to operate in rote mode.

    In the Arch Flexions class we will learn Trunk Bending Backward.

    This is an exercise with great potential to counter the negative impact that our lifestyles often lead to – ie the forward head and rounded shoulder posture. Please note that this exercise targets the upper back far more than it does the lower back. The goal is not to bend backwards as far as you can at all costs; rather, it is to open and lift the chest. Your child should be instructed to maintain the position of his head on his neck as if there is an apple under his chin which he is gently holding against his upper chest. The action is one of bending up and over a large exercise ball as if rolling backwards over the top of it.

    Instructions for this movement are as follows:

    “Wing Standing.
    Hips – firm!
    Trunk Bending Backward.
    Trunk backward – bend.
    Upward – stretch.
    Trunk backward – bend.
    Upward – stretch.”

    Repeat 5-10 times, with only 5 repetitions initially until proper form is executed each time.

    In the Heave Movements class this time we have Arm Stretching Forward and Backward.

    Emphasis with this movement is on keeping the trunk still and steady, without any rounding or arching of the back, while the arms move independently from this firm foundation. This dissociation of movement of the arms from movement of the trunk is an important distinction in terms of injury prevention. The action of reaching the arms up overhead serves to stretch our back musculature while reaching the arms backward mindfully can stretch the front of the shoulders and the chest when one emphasizes the shoulder blades gliding together during performance of this action. Finally, the palms should be turned so that they are facing the body such that when lifting the arms overhead the thumbs will be pointing towards the back wall. This will minimize impingement of the rotator cuff musculature as our arms reach above our heads.

    Instructions for this movement are as follows:

    “Arm Stretching Forward and Backward.
    Arms Upward – Stretch.
    Arms return – stretch (or lower).
    Arms backward – stretch.
    Arms return – stretch.”

    Repeat 5-10 times.

    Finally, the exercise we’ll work on in the Balance category is called Knee Raising.

    You’ll notice in this video that my oldest son, had a difficult time maintaining this position, as it was the first time he had performed it. While I anticipated that this would be a very easy exercise to perform, I quickly realized that it was not – especially for young people. My solution is to minimize the hold time for this position. You want your child to succeed with this movement, and you can eventually stretch out their time spent with knee raised. Initially, though, give the command to recover almost as soon as the knee raise has been performed. This prevents them from losing balance quickly and over time they will be able to lengthen their hold time as balance improves.

    Instructions for this movement are as follows:

    Wing Standing.
    Hips – firm!
    Knee Raising.
    Right knee – raise.
    Knee – lower.
    Left knee – raise.
    Knee – lower.

    (Repeat ~5 times each side, then…)

    Now – go forth and instruct your children in these additions to your Drill repertoire. You’re well on your way to implementing a complete drill routine!

    Would you prefer the Swedish Drill information found in past and future posts in one easy to read place? My eBook Swedish Drill Revisited is 50+ pages of Swedish Drill information, a complete open-and-go curriculum that will assist you in instructing your children two complete Swedish Drill routines. It’s entirely self-contained and has everything you need to make Swedish Drill happen consistently in your homeschool or co-op. Click here to read more or click here to purchase.

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  • Reply Laila January 7, 2022 at 5:02 pm

    Hi, Dawn. I really love to see these videos but I can’t watch them on vimeo. Have you post them on YouTube somewhere? My government (Indonesia) banned vimeo, unfortunately. Would you please consider another option for us?

    • Reply Dawn Duran January 8, 2022 at 12:22 pm

      Thanks for your interest in Swedish Drill, Laila. I did move the videos to YouTube, and links to them there are available in the first Swedish Drill manual. I did this several years ago when I first learned that some people weren’t able to access Vimeo.

      • Reply Laila January 28, 2022 at 10:03 am

        I own Swedish Drill manual, but can’t find the link to YouTube videos. Everytime I click the video icon on my pdf, it brought me here. Would you please show me where it is?

        • Reply Dawn Duran February 3, 2022 at 2:25 pm

          If you send me an email, Laila, then I can send you a list with all of the YouTube links.
          For any user in need of these, once we have confirmed your purchase we can share this list as well.

  • Reply Jen Snow August 31, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Yay! More drill! We started doing this, using the exercises in your last post, when we started our new school year a couple weeks ago, and they are loving it!

    • Reply Dawn August 31, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      Oh, I’m so glad to hear that my friends are having fun with it. It really is a wonderful way to squeeze in more PE time in addition to your already established morning walks, Jen. Hooray!

  • Reply Heather M August 31, 2016 at 5:38 am

    I love this! I’m learning so much! How long do you think these lessons should be? Do you do them daily or a couple times a week? Thanks for the visuals!!

    • Reply Dawn Duran August 31, 2016 at 8:27 am

      I’m so glad you are enjoying this series, Heather.

      I think that the time you spend on Drill will depend on the ages of your children. Mine are nearly 6 and nearly 9. We spend about 5-10 minutes on Drill when we include it in our day, and it can be done daily. The more repetition the children get the better their muscle memory, etc. Drill alone won’t be sufficient for a child’s physical education demands – especially at the beginning when they don’t know enough exercises to perform even one complete routine. It must be supplemented with lots of running, jumping and climbing out doors to fulfill that need.

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