In Kids, Powerlifting, Premium, Videos

October 14, 2009

Video Article

You can lecture a kid about deadlifts and lumbar and thoracic extension, or you can just tell him or her to show you the “angry-gorilla back.”

Jeff Martin of CrossFit Kids speaks a language kids understand, and he uses it to help young CrossFitters get fit safely. In this video from a CrossFit Kids Certification, Martin teaches attendees how to get children to deadlift properly with very basic instructions.

Martin has developed a simple deadlift progression, the key piece of which comes from the zoo: saying “angry-gorilla back” helps kids envision exactly what they need to do each time they pull anything off the floor, whether it’s a barbell or a backpack.

Video by Again Faster

6min 19sec

Additional reading: Will CrossFit Make American Kids Smarter? by Lisa Bakshi, published Jan. 26, 2009.

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8 Comments on “Teaching the Deadlift to Kids”


wrote …

Did CFSB DL in the gym yesterday. As I got higher on the weight, and as I got further into the high reps I was chanting in my head "angry gorilla...angry gorilla."

Getting in touch with your inner child through CF Kids!



wrote …

Couldn't you find matching shoes Duncan?

Jeff always makes this stuff look easy, and then you find out when you do it the way he teaches, it is. Great stuff.
I'm not sure that it's correctly labelled though, adults love being taught this way too.


wrote …

I use a few "crossfit kids" cues with my adults. Gorilla back for sumo pulls and for picking up Kettlebells and the Super Hero pose to keep a tall chest in the squat. The simplest cues are always the best.


wrote …

I also use the angry gorilla cue as much for adults as for kids and they suddenly 'get it'. Just some of the kids still have no idea of the rounded lower back,or the fact that they're on their toes,a lot of it is cos of lack of flexibility,cos they all play football(soccer)and do very little flexibility after,also how would you cue a kid to maintain the angry gorilla stance as they come up at the start,as a lot lose it then ? like Jeff says the don't have the body awareness,and these cues make it so much easier .


wrote …

I liked the two cues of lining up the laces with the bar and the ankles with the object... that way it's truely FUNCTIONAL fitness... kids have to lift things all the time... I think that by engraining the proper position to take when trying to lift something you'll always put yourself in that relationship to lift and therefor greatly minimize the posibility of injury,. as well as increase the physical benefits of everyday lifting, and the efficacy of the movement.
Great demo.. WOW you've got your son super dialed in by the way.
Great stuff.
I work on the squat with my 2 & 3 year old and they love it.. I just have to keep it SUPER short.. I'm working on getting their arms out and up right now, even though they don't need it, it'll keep their lumbar curve and head up in the future.
Thanks for these posts.
I think that these cues can totally be used for super beginers as well. Position is position.


wrote …

Great video, great mental and visual cues for the children.


wrote …

As always Jeff, you make it look so easy, but I know it has taken experience to get where you are. What"s great about all these kids cues, is they work very well for the adults. Keep spreading the kids fitness.


wrote …

Even many adults are lost when a trainer tries to set them up on the DL by talking about regions of the spine. Just use "angry gorilla back". It works great and brings some fun into the session.

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