CrossFit for Kids and Teens!?
By Coach Ashley
The word “CrossFit” can be scary for those who have never set foot inside a facility that provides this methodology of exercise and fitness. Here at The Port, one of the first conversations we have with new members, both young and old, is we are in the business of functional movement. That means we are here to help you achieve a level of fitness that helps you in your everyday life. From helping you keep up with your kids, assist you in your job setting where you perhaps need to lift heavy items from the floor, or daily where you need to be able to sit down on a couch and stand back up. Sure, we do all sorts of other movements during a typical CrossFit class but at the very core of our programming we are here to keep our members healthy, fit, and moving throughout life.
The second piece of that conversation is all about how CrossFit is infinitely scalable. Scalable to keep you safe and to keep you moving at a level of intensity to create change, which means that all workouts are approachable for anyone and everyone. We always operate under the rule that proper mechanics come first, then being able to repeat them consistently, and lastly adding increasing intensity with more and more practice. We certainly wouldn’t want someone trying barbell front squats with weight before being able to demonstrate a good air squat consistently first. This is why we have our fundamentals program and why our coaches prepare for having all sorts of levels of athletes in each of their classes.
These ideas of functional movement and scalability are the same for our younger athletes as well. The goal is to teach them how to move their bodies in different ways to accomplish certain tasks and we start to do that by pairing fitness with fun. For example in our youngest classes, we play “burpee ball,” to work on throwing and catching, we sit on a box and stand up to learn the proper way to squat, we jump on and over plates, hang from the rig, pull sleds, carry wall balls, and practice various movement patterns. Each day is a little different and the best part is that CrossFit Kids doesn’t feel like “exercise.” It feels like a fun challenge or a different opportunity to play.
As children move through each age group, their classes look more and more like a typical adult CrossFit group class. Our Teens program, for example, follows the same class structure with a warm-up, mobility, strength or skill portion, and a workout. The conversation around why we’re here changes slightly to involve a little more goal-focused work. Maybe we want a little more conditioning in the off-season for basketball or need some unilateral leg work and strength for ski season coming up. We start to talk about understanding good habits and how fitting physical activity into your day is something to carry on throughout life.
Coach Justin and Coach Ashley don’t just want your children and teenagers to learn how to move properly. We also want them to gain confidence and leave their classes feeling like, “I accomplished something awesome today!” We hope that CrossFit class is something they want to fit into their schedule and figure out how to manage their time to do that. CrossFit, like other organized sports or social activities, helps children develop other skills you might not think of as well. Sportsmanship, teamwork, camaraderie, listening and having respect for your coach, and an outlet for the emotions that all children and teenagers go through.
So, if you’re wondering if CrossFit is too much, too heavy, too intense for your child, we encourage you to come to check out a class! We currently offer three different classes with different age ranges for our youngest athletes and members. We will be starting up a new 7-week cycle in the New Year but always love having drop-ins and children come in who want to give it a try or can only make it a few times.
Kids- Ages: 5-8
“Big” Kids- Ages: 9-12
Teens- Ages: 12+