CrossFit gets the kids off the couch, builds confidence
March 12, 2017
CrossFit Kids in Weld County
» CrossFit Helix
2970 W. 29th St., Unit 16
Helix Pre-K (age 3+): 9 a.m. Thursdays
Helix Kids (age 6-11): 4:45-5:30 p.m. Mondays & Wednesdays
To register: http://www.crossfithelix.com or call (970) 396-7994.
» CrossFit Endure
687 Gyrfalcon Court, Unit B
FitKids (age 5+): 10:15-11 a.m. Fridays, June 3-July 29
Pre-teen and teen classes also offered throughout the year. Call for more information.
To register: http://www.crossfitendure.com or call (970) 460-6123.
Climbing rope, crab-walking, crossing monkey bars, jumping rope, doing sit-ups and pull-ups.
At times it looks like what you'd do on a playground or in a gym class at school.
But it's CrossFit Kids, a program at CrossFit gyms across the country that helps kids experience the fun of fitness. More and more CrossFit gyms are incorporating CrossFit Kids programs into what they offer, including a couple facilities in Weld County.
It's different from CrossFit for adults, a high-intensity training program that combines elements of weight lifting, gymnastics, circuit training and aerobic conditioning.
"The general principle for kids is that the high intensity piece is taken out," said Jamie Dennis, who owns CrossFit Helix in Greeley along with her husband, Chris. "The emphasis is on fun and helping them develop a lifelong love of fitness."
Founded in 1995 by former gymnast Greg Glassman, CrossFit has grown from one gym in California to a worldwide network of more than 11,000 "boxes," which is CrossFit speak for gym. Adult CrossFit is done in small classes, usually no more than 10-15 people, all progressing through the same workout at their own pace. Workouts vary day-to-day, keeping things fresh and interesting. The camaraderie creates a healthy sense of competition but also provides encouragement.
CrossFit trainers have to obtain an additional certification to teach CrossFit Kids. The program is similar to adult classes in that movements are functional — things kids would do every day like running, jumping, pushing, pulling and lifting. Kids' workouts are also done in community with others just like the CrossFit for adults.
The 30- to 45-minute classes appeal to both the athlete and non-athlete for kids ages 5-11. Classes usually include short segments of climbing, squatting, jumping, push-ups and other exercises, followed by a fun group game at the end. The focus is on doing the exercises properly, not on the intensity of them, said Lauren Longanecker, a coach who teaches kids classes at CrossFit Evolve in Fort Collins. Kids lift very little to no weight at all in the classes.
It also can complement the many sports programs kids do such as soccer, gymnastics and baseball, as well as prepare them for athletics down the road.
"We want to support the specialists but also reward the generalists," said Dennis, whose gym offers kids classes, including one for preschoolers. "So whenever kids are ready to start competitive sports, they already have confidence in their ability to do some of these things."
CrossFit Endure in Windsor offers a kids' program during the summer and a teen class throughout the year. The teen class turned into a program for girls that is as much about building confidence and self-image as it is about fitness.
"It started as an offseason training program for athletes," said Jenn Barnett, co-owner of CrossFit Endure. "But it's turned into powerful experience for these girls to gain much more confidence in themselves."
The kids' program at CrossFit Evolve in Fort Collins includes nutrition education, and the one at Barnett's facility incorporates an integrity and character piece.
Most of the kids who attend CrossFit Kids classes have parents who are involved in CrossFit already, so the concept of the program is familiar to them.
"They see their parents doing CrossFit, and they want to do it, too," Longanecker said. "They feel cool doing the same kinds of things their parents are doing. It becomes a family activity everyone can enjoy."
Even for kids whose parents don't do CrossFit, the program is beneficial because it gets and keeps them moving.
"More than anything kids get an energy release," Barnett said. "They are turning off their electronics and entering this physical world and learning what it feels like to move and have fun."