CrossFit Kids: Safety

By Jeff Martin

In Coaching, Kids, Videos

March 24, 2011

Video Article

Jeff Martin of CrossFit Kids says young lifters require constant supervision. In this video, Martin discusses exactly how to keep kids safe and explains his guidelines for preschool, kids and teen classes. Based upon the research introduced by Dr. Jon Gary in his previous video Weightlifting and Kids, Martin shows how to run a safe and effective Kids program.

“If we know that a kid gets stronger from learning to do the movement correctly and not from loading, and we know that we can’t trust a 3-to-5-year-old kid to do the movement correctly and safely every time, why would we load them?” Martin asks the group of athletes attending his CrossFit Kids Seminar.

“We don’t load the kids,” he says of his preschoolers.

Loading is first introduced in kids classes. Martin describes his rules to keep everyone safe. In teen classes, weightlifting is carefully coached, and the athletes are organized by their ability to move well. This workout set-up constantly reinforces and rewards proper movement.

“I know that my adults from week to week will hold their position,” Martin says. “Kids won’t. (With) little kids it’s from rep to rep … . Teens can have a great squat one week, come in the next week and it’s absolutely horrible,” he says.

According to Martin, that’s why constant vigilance on the part of the coach and slow steps forward are necessary for safety.

14min 24sec

Additional audio: CrossFit Radio Episode 31 by Neil Anderson, originally aired Feb. 10, 2009.

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4 Comments on “CrossFit Kids: Safety”


wrote …

In the Teens Class, how old are these kids? By the time I was 17 I felt more than capable of following my own program and setting PR's when the time was right. The day it comes time for PR's you know it's coming, not so much as being told to set one that day.

I feel as if telling someone so uniformly as to when they will set a PR, what weight they'll start at, what weight they'll go to next will hinder their own progression. Maybe that one day they were fired up and ready to max, but instead the other 4 kids were just focusing on form, then when the day comes that their supposed to max, that kid is sore or isn't ready, or didn't eat well or any other factors that would effect his ways of setting his absolute best PR.

This could inhibit his working sets and his progression especially if his sets are worked from a percentage.


Jeff Martin wrote …

In the teen class the kids range from age 10 to 18. We have 12 year olds in the class who have been CrossFitting four times a week for 7 years. We describe in detail at the cert how we go about having the kids pr. In brief, the kids on the heavy platform, pr almost every time they come in on either a 3-5 or 7 set and when the time is right a single. We have had an amazing safety record at the same time our kids are lifting loads adult CrossFitters are proud of. I am not saying a kid couldn't program for himself and do well, but we are talking here about 15 year olds with 400+ deadlifts, 14 year olds repping over 300 and 12 year olds with flawless technique pulling double body weight. Parents trust us with their kids, we decide when their ready to lift heavy. We have developed a pretty good method to keep them safe as well as maximize their potential.


Chris Sinagoga wrote …

Thanks Jeff. This is a great video and I'm definitely gonna start using the horseshoe technique. The overwhelming majority of the people we train are teens in high school. When we train, we usually have a standard that each rep must be completed with perfect form, especially with our kids who are serious about their sport(s). Now obviously, perfect form for one kid might not be the same as perfect form for another, considering flexability and range of motion issues. So in other words, they can go as fast as they can, while maintaining perfect technique. And if the technique breaks down, then we slow them down. Is this similar to how you train your kids during a workout? Or do you usually go with the 80% good form/20% bad form rule?

This summer, we are considering having a mantra like "90% at 90" with our advanced teen group (middle-of-the-horseshoe kids). Basically, 90% of the workouts, they will go at about 90% speed to make sure their form is spot on. Then if a certain benchmark workout comes up like Filthy 50 or Fight Gone Bad or whatever, we'll let then have some fun and go all out. Any thoughts?


Thor Falk wrote …

Jeff, more of those. Your work with kids is great!

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