The Many Immeasurable Benefits of CrossFit Kids
Since its inception, CrossFit has earned a reputation for being an effective and proven way for adults to achieve their health and fitness goals. A quick Google search of “is CrossFit good for you” will yield countless success stories – articles and videos about men and women from their early twenties into their late seventies who cured disease, recovered from injury, gained confidence, and generally changed their lives.
So of course, the natural next question is… what about CrossFit for kids?
Is it really kid-friendly?
Is it safe?
Is it worth it?
You may not be surprised to learn (because, after all, this is a CrossFit blog) that the answer to all of the above questions is a resounding “YES!”
What is CrossFit Kids? Is it safe?
CrossFit Kids programming doesn’t stray far from the original “adult” programming. In six-ish words, CrossFit is: constantly varied functional movement performed at a high intensity. And the same can be said for Kids – except one of the main priorities for that programming is to make it both engaging and FUN! Because as parents, we all know that if kids aren’t interested or having fun they aren’t going to want to participate (in any activity, let alone one that requires intentional physical exertion). So while the CrossFit kiddos will still get exposure to and practice with those constantly varied functional movements, they get to perform them under the guise of games, challenges, races, dances, and songs.
As for the topic of safety, as with anything we put our kids in, a sport is only as good and safe as its coach. An uninformed and inexperienced youth soccer coach who over-trains his athletes and coaches sloppy or incorrect mechanics is about as dangerous as you can get. And of course the same can be said for football, gymnastics, basketball, CrossFit… so when choosing a CrossFit Kids program, look for coaches who are informed, experienced, and hold up-to-date credentials.
What are the long-term benefits of CrossFit Kids?
The goal of CrossFit Kids is to prepare its participants for a life of readiness, resilience, endurance, mobility, strength, and all-around healthy habits, including exposure to and a love of fitness. Though I can go into great detail about all of these things, and though the lowest hanging fruit is how fit and healthy CrossFit athletes truly are, I’d like to focus on the two I see have benefitted my two young boys the most:
Readiness and resilience.
And my definition of “readiness” is two-fold. On the one hand, CrossFit Kids absolutely helps young athletes play their absolute best in both individual and team sports. It improves their overall fitness by incorporating various movements from different sports and activities. This can help kids develop a well-rounded fitness base that can be applied to different sports. For example, the program incorporates movements like running, jumping, and throwing – which are fundamental movements in nearly every team sport, like football, cheerleading, soccer, basketball, baseball, and volleyball. Modalities like strength, metabolic conditioning (cardio), and gymnastics are also found in CrossFit Kids programming, which are imperative to develop proficiency in in order to excel in individual sports like swimming, track, gymnastics, and niche sports.
Though the physical fitness benefits are very important – and what most people think of when they hear about CrossFit – it’s the non-gym lessons; the mental growth components that are perhaps the most important benefit of CrossFit Kids, and what instill resilience in growing kids.
Mental toughness: the ability to self-encourage and self-motivate when things get physically and mentally hard is a critical component of growing into a resilient adult. While the CrossFit Kids workouts are accessible, they’re also designed to be challenging; to require kids to push through physical and mental barriers in order to achieve the goal, finish the workout, hit the mark. We want our kids to push boundaries, learn lessons, and surprise themselves – and what better way to do this than by also getting fit.
As a bonus: the CrossFit Kids program also teaches young athletes the value and importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, and humility. The Kids workouts often involve partner or group exercises and team-oriented end-goals, which can help kids develop teamwork skills and drill in what it’s like to work beyond themselves as the program emphasizes sportsmanship and encourages kids to support and encourage their peers during workouts.
The bottom line
CrossFit Kids is becoming increasingly popular as parents and youth sports coaches realize the many immeasurable benefits of teaching children from an early age how to move their bodies well and be physically active.
So if you’re looking for an activity that will help your kids to develop physical literacy, build strength and endurance, improve coordination and balance, foster teamwork and camaraderie, promote a healthy lifestyle, and boost self-confidence and self-esteem – CrossFit Kids is for you. And as always, with the right coach and safety considerations, CrossFit Kids can be a fun and engaging way for your children to get active, love fitness and wellness, and develop lifelong healthy habits.
Which is pretty worth it to me.
If you’re interested in signing your kiddo up for CrossFit Kids – simply fill out this form and our CFK team will reach out to you!