In our CrossFit Kids/Teens and Youth Weightlifting programs we work with children of all ages, the youngest in our CF Kids program being about four years old and about 8 in our Youth WL program. A major focus with all our clients, but especially with our children, is moving well and enjoying doing it. Movement is empowering, gives us opportunities to express ourselves and interact with the world around us, and keeps us healthy. As I study some of the material for an upcoming MovNat certification course, I can’t help but see the parallels between our philosophies. For example, it is possible to improve work capacity through poor movement while the person never learns to move more efficiently. According to MovNat, efficient movement should, “produce greater performance, greater energy conservation, and greater safety.” We couldn’t agree more, and I’m really looking forward to attending their certification courses next month. We approach movement education the same way and I’m excited to get back to my movement roots with MovNat.
With CrossFit, it’s easy to lose sight of moving well, instead focusing on moving more, getting in extra reps with little regard for form faults, stability issues, and mobility limitations (at least until we injure ourselves and then we take it a little more seriously). As adults, many of us are working to overcome stability and/or mobility issues of some kind, and it’s often difficult to distinguish the difference between the two. Working to improve both mobility AND stability before and after workouts will give you the greatest improvement. However, most of the young children I work with don’t exhibit many of the common movement faults I see in adults, they just need to be shown how to move and how moving is fun. For some, movement comes naturally, but for others only a select few points can be taught at a time, and over the course of several sessions the movement starts to come together as a whole.
As early as fifth and sixth grade I’ve worked with children who are already exhibiting mobility restrictions, and I feel a larger issue may exist with physical education programs in general. I have a great respect for PE educators, as my father currently teaches PE at the middle school level and also has taught PE at high school level too. I do not consider myself to be a Physical Educator, but I do consider myself to be a Movement Educator. To me the roles do not have to be mutually exclusive, but it’s a fact that PE programs often feel the brunt of budget cuts leaving PE teachers to do more with less. All the PE teachers I’ve worked with love what they do and understand they have an important role in the development of their students. However, much of what is taught in PE classes is related to learning how to play sports and other activities that encourage kids to engage in general physical activity. Extremely relevant for sure, but remember I mentioned earlier how work capacity can improve despite lacking basic movement pattern efficiency? That often means that most of our children are learning to play sports, games, and mastering sport specific skills before learning to move well as human beings. The lack of controlled full range of motion movements, if left unaddressed, always comes back to bite. Sometimes as early as middle school as I mentioned before. This is why I believe Movement Education is so important, and how our children may be missing an important piece in their physical development. They’re learning how to throw, kick, and swing bats before they develop the strength, mobility, stability, and coordination to squat, push-up, pull-up, and perform a decent sit-up. The gym or PE class can and should be a place to learn movement, starting simple and increasing difficulty as children develop. Mastery of basic movement patterns builds a sturdy foundation for children that helps them feel stronger, more resilient (physically and mentally), better coordinated, and more confident. Did I mention that when they get on the field of play they are more likely to succeed for the same reasons?
Unfortunately, I do not see the issue resolving itself anytime soon which means we are working to make our CrossFit Kids/Teens and Youth Weightlifting classes more accessible to anyone interested. We have 2 coaches attending the CrossFit Kids certification course next month (bringing our total to 4), we are looking at more flexible scheduling for certain classes to allow better attendance, and we’re even putting together family discount plans (more details to come in the next couple of weeks). Let us supplement your child’s physical education with more movement education and give them the foundation they need to reach their full potential. Remember CF Kids get 2 free trial classes and CF Teens get 1 free trial class. Contact myself or Coach Ruth to schedule your son or daughter or if you have any questions about our CrossFit Kids/Teens or Youth Weightlifting programs!
This Friday CrossFit Code 3 is hosting an informal Olympic Weightlifting Competition in their facility in Torrance. We have close to ten lifters competing, so come down and cheer them on. Ladies begin lifting at 7pm and the men follow afterward. Visit their website for directions.
Bench Press 3×5 or Wendler
Max Reps Toes to Bar
Max Reps Ring Dips
Max Reps Push Ups
*toes to bar reps stop when athlete comes off the bar. Ring dips stop when athlete drops off rings Push ups stop when athlete is no longer holding a plank (no pausing for knee push ups).