Due to our hosting a CrossFit Kids Trainer Course, the gym will be closed this weekend, but we will have a park WOD Saturday at 9:30. We will be meeting on the Myrtle side of Jane Steele Park (formerly Hamilton Street Park).
The CrossFit Kids program isn’t a “watered down” version of CrossFit, instead it is a highly thought out training program that takes into account the changing physical and develomental needs of children and teenagers. In fact, more than a decade of research had gone into creating this program that not only helps to instill proper movement mechanics, but also foster a love of physical activity.
CrossFit runs in the Cassidy family.
Mom Annemarie joined the popular fitness community four years ago because she wanted to boost her muscle mass and bone strength. She was soon addicted. “I love the sense of accomplishment … and the social nature of CrossFit,” says Cassidy, 44, a former Air Force pilot living in the District of Columbia.
About a year and a half ago, her preteen sons jumped on board.
“I like how it can be really competitive, but it’s also really fun,” says 11-year-old Ian Cassidy, a moppy-haired and boisterous rising fifth-grader who attends three classes each week in the District, like his 13-year-old brother, Connor. “And I absolutely love burpees – burpees are the best.”
Ian may be among a growing number of children as young as 3 who not only know what burpees are, but also love them, thanks to CrossFit Kids, an offshoot of the strength and conditioning program known for its devoted following, bare-bones gyms called boxes and high-intensity, full-body movements like burpees, which involve a squat, a push-up and a jump.
“A lot of times in school these days they’re not quite getting the same level of activity that maybe they used to get or they should, and I think CrossFit is a great way to introduce kids to simply moving,” Annemarie Cassidy says. It’s benefited her too: A recent scan revealed her bone density was “excellent” – even for a woman half her age, she says. Plus, she can climb ropes and hold handstands. “I can now do anything physically that my boys can do,” she says.
Adults Versus Kids
The CrossFit company launched in the 1990s out of Santa Cruz, California. It has since expanded to more than 10,000 gyms nationwide where CrossFit-certified trainers are on staff. CrossFit Kids, meanwhile, has been offered to kids between ages 3 and 18 since 2004 at more than 1,800 gyms and 1,000 schools worldwide, according to the program’s website.
The philosophy of the programs is the same: Build overall fitness – including endurance, strength, flexibility, speed, coordination and balance – by performing a variety of movements at a relatively high intensity. But in practice, CrossFit across the ages can look a lot different.
When adults go to a CrossFit “box,” for instance, they might lift 150 pounds overhead and squat 10 times. They might sprint 800 meters and climb a 15-foot rope. Then, they do it as many times as they can in 20 minutes. “What can sell [CrossFit] to a certain group of individuals is the absolute intensity of it,” says Jon Gary, a CrossFitter in the San Diego area who teaches seminars on the CrossFit Kids methodology.
But when kids do CrossFit, that intensity is appropriately scaled-down – similar to how it should be for a first-time adult CrossFitter, Gary says. “You can have an adult be a CrossFitter and their relative high intensity is working with 3-pound dumbbells, and someone else’s might be with a 75-pound barbell,” he says. “It’s very inclusive.” Child CrossFitters, meanwhile, might run a few meters, squat without weights and push a wooden box across the room. They play tag, high-five and throw foam balls. In the kids’ minds, it’s all fun and games. In their coaches’ minds, it’s a basis for lifelong fitness.
The youth programs at the Balance Gym in Glover Park in the District, the Cassidy boys’ gym, are designed to be safe, educational and fun, explains coach Andrew Shniderman, who directs the gym’s youth programs and is certified to teach CrossFit classes for kids and teens. ”Who can say that’s a bad thing for kids?”
To continue, click here.