In Kids, Videos

January 23, 2009

Video Article

Jeff Martin shows his progression for teaching young kids how to deadlift. Jeff and his wife Mikki run CrossFit Kids. He explains why barbells are less important for kids, how cues like the Angry Gorilla came to be, and why they're so important for teaching kids.

Kids are not just little adults. They don’t think about their bodies the way adults do, so they don’t respond to the same cues. Uniformity, repetition, visual, kinesthetic, and audio cuing are all necessary for teaching kids. Compound that with the group dynamics of a roomful of five to eight year olds, and a special strategy is required.

7min 40sec

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12 Comments on “CrossFit Kids - Teaching the Deadlift”


wrote …

My favorite part of the videos about how to teach kids is that all the ques can be used for adults too!! They work really well for the 'less athletic' adults.



wrote …

Classic Jeff Martin, CFK. I did "Mr. Joshua" yesterday and every sloppy rep on the DL would have been fixed with a "gorilla back"!

My favorite part of the video, though, was when Jeff said "that was a question, Sevan!"


wrote …

"Gorilla Back" is a great cue. As is, "line the bar up with your ankles." Simplicity is genius.


wrote …

Great video. I cant wait until my 2 1/2 year old is old enough to start training with some of the movements you are teaching.
You should see her imitating me with burpies and situps. Its hilarious. She's a future crossfitter. Keep those videos coming.


wrote …

Thank you Jeff, very very useful!

I've tried Baboon and other animal cues for DL's with my adults, but I think your animal of choice is a little more recognisable :-)

Adult cueing terminology is great for explaining, but lets face it, we're in the business of getting people doing movements right... and when their body understands them then explain the science.

Thank you for the time and effort you guys and girls have put in at BrandX for working out effective cues.

I'd be incredibly grateful to see your other foundational 9 movements and how you effectively cue them.

P.S Looking forward to contributing to CF journal in the future as a way of saying thank you!


Jeff Vale wrote …

Great video.
We've been to a CF Kids cert. and we use the cues on our adults ALL THE TIME. They work well on our kids too but we were surprised at how useful they were to teaching adults also. The CF Kids staff is so talented with breaking down the 9 basic movements and making them easy to teach to everybody.


wrote …

We are very lucky to have CFKHQ at Brand X. If you haven't been to a Kids Cert, you should go. It will be more beneficial than you can imagine (and fun!) and the information learned can be used to teach anyone.


wrote …

I used cues learned at a CF Kids cert to teach a kid squats, front squats, presses thrusters and burpees in the weekend. It took about 20 minutes.

I was just going to show her squats, but she kept asking for more so we kept going. Her squats went from basically awful to nearly perfect faster than I would have believed.

Will she remember all I showed her? Probably not, but she'll retain a bit and we'll work on reviewing and reinforcing it, which the certs also cover

Jeff and the team at CF Kids are geniuses.
And if you coach kids and don't go to one of their certs you're an idiot. They're that good.


wrote …

Developed for (and some even by) kids, good enough for adults! Just great! 1 movement down; hit the Cert. for the 8 that are left ;)
Great vid!


wrote …

Hmm..funny.:) of my clients who hated deadlifts, would say "oh no..i have to do the gorilla now" every time she was to perform the exercise././..she loves them now by the way...great vid.


wrote …

Great video. Angry Gorilla for my kids tomorrow!
I too liked "that was a question, Sevan!"

Jeff in SA, TX


wrote …


The way you teach is nothing short of amazing. I have learned so much from your videos. Thank you!


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