CrossFit for children is a functional type of training that develops strength, endurance, flexibility and coordination, adapted to the young age of the athlete. CrossFit is not yet very common among children under the age of 10-11, but recently, many parents are increasingly thinking that their children lack strength and functional training. This has become one of the fundamental reasons why crossfit for children is gaining well-deserved popularity.
Of course, crossfit for children is significantly different from activities for adults – fully formed, well-developed physically people, since there are a number of special age-related contraindications, for example, axial load on the spine or the achievement of anaerobic glycolysis. Before enrolling a child in a functional training class or any other section, it is necessary to consult a doctor about possible health risks and find a sufficiently qualified certified trainer with extensive experience with children .
Crossfit for children: benefit or harm?
The benefits of children’s crossfit, despite the divergence of opinions of different experts, are still undeniable. Moderately intense exercise will help your child to get fit by increasing the overall strength of the body by exerting stress on individual muscle groups and improving the functioning of the musculoskeletal system, as well as developing endurance through regular cardio exercise and improving the functioning of the cardiovascular system.
If you observe the measure of the intensity of the training process, properly recover and train under the close supervision of the instructor, functional training will not do any harm to the growing body.
CrossFit will give your child that strength and functional base, which will be an excellent basis for further athletic success in any sport, be it swimming, football, athletics or martial arts.
Crossfit features for different ages
Of course, training volume and intensity will vary depending on age and fitness level. Conventionally, children’s crossfit is divided into two age groups: children 6-7 years old and children up to 10-11 years old (over 12 already belong to the age category of adolescents).
By the age of 11, the body becomes more adapted to strength work, so many coaches advise starting to work with a little additional weights, and not just doing exercises with your own weight – this way the desired result will be achieved much faster.
Age group 6-7 years old
Crossfit exercises for children 6-7 years old are less intense and strength in nature and in fact are a more advanced option for general physical fitness for this age group.
The basis of the program for children aged 6-7 years is various types of cardio loads, shuttle running, exercises performed with their own weight (push-ups, squats, etc.) and exercises for the development of abdominal muscles. As for the work with additional weights, it is permissible to perform the “rowing” exercise, work with vertical and horizontal ropes.
Age group up to 11
CrossFit for kids ages 8-10-11 may be more anaerobic. The program can include the implementation of basic exercises with a barbell (bench press, lifting for biceps), introduce relatively simple crossfit exercises into the training process (burpees, squats with jumping out, jumping on a box, throwing a ball against a wall, etc.).
For a variety of loads, you can perform exercises with a bag (sandbag), as well as various movements that require good coordination (push-ups in handstand, pull-ups on the horizontal bar and on the rings, lunges with body weight). Of course, the weight of the weights should be minimal , since at this age the articular-ligamentous apparatus is not yet fully formed and is not ready for serious strength work.
Crossfit exercises for children
Below is a list of some of the exercises that are recommended for training children by most children’s coaches and experts in sports and physical education.
Please note that younger children work exclusively with their own weight and cardio loads. Work with light extra weight is allowed no earlier than 11 years. But with the condition of constant monitoring by the coaches and with the permission of the doctor, who will assess the level of the child’s physiological development and determine if there are any contraindications for additional physical activity.
The exercises are given without a description of the technique, since it is no different from the rules for performing the same exercises by adults, and you can find a description of each of them on our website.
Working with your own weight
So, let’s look at some of the most popular exercises from the gymnastic load category, in which young athletes work with their own weight, training muscles and developing strength:
- Push-ups are the most technically simple exercise for developing the pectoral muscles and triceps. It is better for children to start working with a reduced load, kneeling on the floor – this will strengthen most of the muscles of the torso and shoulder girdle, as well as prepare the musculoskeletal system for harder work.
- Bodyweight air squats are the most anatomically comfortable exercise for a child’s body to develop leg muscles. The benefits are clear: developed legs increase strength and coordination, as well as improve posture.
- Handstand push-ups are quite difficult, but extremely effective exercise. It should be performed only if you are sure that the child does not have any eye diseases or cardiovascular system, as the intraocular and intracranial pressure increases significantly.
- Triceps Dips are a basic exercise for developing triceps. Triceps that are strong from childhood will help you make it easier to do various pressing exercises as you grow older. You should start this exercise with your feet on the floor, not on a bench, this option is much better for children and beginners.
- Burpees and jump squats are introductory exercises to anaerobic training. It is worth starting to perform burpees (taking an emphasis while lying down, push-ups and jumping up with a clap over your head) at a pace that is comfortable for the child, you should not rely on the intensity and number of repetitions, you first need to set the correct technique. The story is similar with jump squats.
- Pull-ups on the horizontal bar – “pull” of your body to the crossbar due to the efforts of the biceps and latissimus dorsi. Whenever possible, children are encouraged to do the exercise at full amplitude to engage as many muscle fibers as possible, increase muscle strength, and strengthen ligaments and tendons. If it is impossible to perform, you can replace it with horizontal pull-ups or perform them with the help of adults.
CrossFit competition for kids overview
The most famous crossfit competition for children is the Race of Heroes. Children ”, designed for young athletes aged 7 to 14 years. Her compulsory program includes running, rope climbing, overcoming a vertical wall, imitation of barbed wire and many other obstacles that children really like to overcome. Competitors are divided into two groups: junior (7-11 years old) and senior (12-14 years old). The race is run by a team of 10 people. Each children’s team is accompanied by a qualified adult instructor.
In September 2015, the GERAKLION crossfit club, together with the Reebok training in Moscow parks project, also held a crossfit competition for children and adolescents for the first time. The following divisions were represented: beginner level and prepared level (14-15 and 16-17 years old).
Many crossfit clubs around the world have also made it a rule to hold children’s competitions on a par with adults. It should be said that children turn out to be no less gambling athletes and as eagerly strive for victory as their adult crossfit colleagues.