Opinions on the benefits of the crossfit training programme for children and the appropriate age at which children should start training are as contrasting as opinions on education for children. At their most extreme, these views can be as divisive as any of the choices parents will make for development of their children and the activities they choose to pursue.
Crossfit for kids is also widely seen as a very under-developed market within the industry. Given that there are potential commercial opportunities that may unduly influence and cloud the message around the health benefits of this training, crossfit for kids has become a sensitive topic for professionals and parents of would be attendees.
Know your Trainer
The most important aspect for any parent of a child participating in crossfit exercise is the coach and the particular crossfit regime they administer. There have been stories of children training to perform Olympic style deadlifts and train for exercises that their bodies are not developed enough to handle without serious risk. Be wary of trainers who only focus on adult type objectives, such as physical performance. Crossfit Sydney trainer Karl Robertson sees tremendous benefits for using crossfit for the physical development of children, but advises that it needs to be approached with professionalism and caution.
“At the end of the day, the kids are participating because they want to have fun – this should be the core objective at the heart of any program designed for children. They are not going to come back if they don’t have fun with it. It is great for them to leave a class feeling like they have achieved something, but a crossfit class for kids should be a lot different than a class designed for adults who want to train seriously. If we can teach them about health and fitness along the way – that’s a big win.”
Nothing brings a family together more than a common interest. The benefits that parents are trying to create for the children shouldn’t necessarily be overlooked as a great opportunity for them too. If a parent can get involved and enjoy the benefits of crossfit coaching, they are not only more informed when making crossfit related decisions for their kids, they have some experience to back those decisions up. Crossfit exercises for kids in reality have been around for centuries, the program hasn’t invented anything new that children haven’t performed before the development of crossfit. The big difference is structure and exercise culture, both of which can have lasting and positive effects on the physical well-being of a child and their personal approach to health and fitness into their adult years.
So how young ?
Most experienced trainers would recommend 5 years old as a great time to start promoting fitness as a lifestyle. Exercises can (and should) be specially tailored for the age of the fledgling athletes. The most important aspect is routine. If kids can participate regularly in a program that promotes health, fitness and increasing self-discipline, it become a part of their life as much as activities like football practice or school. Crossfit is a fantastic supplement activity that can dramatically improve development and performance in another sporting discipline. A holistic approach to fitness will give kids a great advantage when they start to get competitive in any other sport they are training whether it be crossfit centric or not.