CrossFit often gets slammed by detractors as being ‘bad’ for you. We’re accused of unsafe workouts, bad form, and insufficient education – all of which has given us a (false, in my opinion) reputation as dangerous. It probably shouldn’t be surprising when those same detractors get their knickers in a twist over kids doing CrossFit. I wonder if these people have ever sat in on a CrossFit Kids class and seen what we actually get up to. Probably not.
These people are the same who encourage their kids to play rugby, football, netball, hockey, or ballet and don’t worry about the hypocrisy.
First of all, let me be clear: kids at CrossFit are not expected to tackle each other or stand on their toes for so long that they end up with deformed feet. Our kids don’t kick things at each other, nor run around swinging sticks. Do they do weights at all? Yes, some. Do they do a lot of reps at a heavy weight in a short amount of time? No.
I don’t have anything against any of the sports listed above. My daughter plays netball, goes to swimming classes, and she tried ballet for a while before deciding she didn’t love it. She’s also a CrossFit Kid.
CrossFit – particularly Kids’ CrossFit – focuses on functional movement. What does that mean? It means ways that we require our bodies to move during an average day. The kids are taught how to pick things up from the floor safely (remember your mum yelling at you to bend your knees?). They’re taught how to squat, how to push, how to pull…all movements you would witness at most playgrounds. But most importantly (to me, as a mother), they learn mental strength and self-confidence.
Prior to CrossFit Kids, my wee gem would cry if it even looked like she was going to hurt herself. She was shy, uncomfortable attempting to make friends, and had zero confidence in her own physical ability to do the things her peers were doing. Now if we say “Give it a go”, she will jump in and do exactly that. And if she fails on her first attempt she just shrugs her shoulders and says “Meh, I’ll get it next time.” We took her indoor rock climbing – an event at which I fully expected to be sitting on the sidelines with her for – and she shimmied her wee way up the wall without a second thought.
Note: nobody will raise an eyebrow at my encouraging my kid to scale a sheer wall where she could have hurt her fingers/hands/knees/fallen/been dropped. Hmm.
Is CrossFit dangerous for kids? Well, sure…in the same way as most physical activities are. If you still question it why not head along and check it out? You’ll probably be surprised at just how much kids love burpees. And how can you be upset about an activity that makes your kid smile like this?: