crazes go, the workout program CrossFit has some of the most
popular, self-directed program, which puts a focus on core
strength training and conditioning, has built a robust online
community, where its participants set goals, share routine
variations and track their progress. They’ve even developed
their own language: the WOD is the workout of the day, AMRAP is
"as many reps as possible" and a C&J is what’s
better known to weightlifters as a "clean and jerk."
It’s safe to say that for many of its followers, CrossFit is a
philosophy, as well as a workout regimen.
Patrick Landry, 48, a former college athlete, discovered
CrossFit while training for a marathon several years ago. He
didn’t feel like he was getting what he needed from his
running and his judo practice and decided to give it a try. He
was so pleased with the results that he opened the CrossFit gym
in January 2012.
know there are a lot of skeptics of CrossFit, and some people
call it a cult," Landry said. "But it creates an
emotional anchor for people, emotionally, spiritually and
physically. People who have never exercised a day in their lives
are learning to control their bodies, to move better and have
better flexibility, better coordination and stamina."
fall of 2012, Landry took what he thought was the next logical
step: starting a kids program. He has four children of his own
and wanted to give them options besides team sports. He now has
about 30 children who participate regularly and semi-regularly
in the program.
Novotny and his daughter Ainsley, 12, are part of a CrossFit
family that goes to Landry’s gym. She uses the training as a
supplement, to help her build endurance for cross-country
running and the other sports she plays.
think the majority of her soccer team does CrossFit as an
extracurricular activity," Barry Novotny said. "We try
to go as a family as many nights a week as we can. There’s a
real community aspect to it, which makes it more fun for the
primary goal for Landry: that the kids participating in the
program aren’t seeing it as one more thing on their already
way I teach the classes, you can drop in and out, and you don’t
have to be here every day," he said. "There are too
many sports where kids are told they have to be there, at
practice, at the games, and they get overcommitted."
The gym is
one of the 1,800 CrossFit facilities that teaches the CrossFit
Kids program. According to the program’s website, the aim is
to "provide an active alternative to sedentary pursuits,
which means less childhood obesity and all-around better health
for our children."
CrossFit Kids program is structured so that it builds mechanics
first, then consistency, then adds intensity, which Sara Colley
said was a good way to prevent kids from performing exercises
before they’re prepared. She added that a big concern with
growing children are growth plate injuries, which can result
when children try to do exercises they’re not ready for.
physical therapist with UPMC Sports Medicine and the Centers for
Rehab Services, said while she has some concerns about
inexperienced children possibly injuring themselves with some of
the ballistic movements in CrossFit’s weight-lifting routines,
like snatches and clean-and-jerk lifts, there are plenty of
positive things they can gain from the program.
can be fun, and there’s no emphasis on ‘winning,’ which is
a great idea," she said. And, CrossFit can provide an
alternative exercise for kids who are involved in only one
sport, which can lead to repetitive stress injuries, Colley
they’re doing CrossFit while they’re taking time away from
their sport, that’s a good thing," she said. "And
any time you can boost a kid’s self esteem, that’s good,
too. But that requires a good coach."
that was an area of concern for her because according to
CrossFit’s website, the training to instruct children consists
of a weekend session and a criminal background check but no
additional certification or degree, which Colley doesn’t think
said he has a good rapport with the kids in his program, which
he agrees is crucial to their participation.
don’t know how to connect to kids, they won’t respond,"
he said. "I want it to be fun for them, for them to want to