Playing With Intervals

By Mikki Lee Martin

In Kids

September 01, 2014

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Mikki Lee Martin explains how CrossFit Kids has made interval training both fun and effective for young athletes.

As a kid, I spent every afternoon playing with intervals—10 minutes of freeze tag, 10 minutes climbing a tree, five minutes of cartwheels—then maybe a game of kickball.

The activities, and the versions of activities I dabbled with, were endless and always fun. My fun.

The sad reality is that this type of physical fun rarely exists anymore for today’s generation of kids. Games and playtime have become more formal—often mechanical. I believe the organic, varied play I grew up with is necessary to ensure our children are consistently exposed to the different stimuli necessary for fundamental motor-skill development. CrossFit Kids has been working on this for a decade.

CrossFit Kids uses traditional and nontraditional forms of interval training. We do not follow a work-to-rest ratio at all times. We sometimes use a work-to-play ratio. Play may be restful at times, and not restful at others, such as when we chase balloons. And we do not always assume 20 minutes is best in terms of a time domain.

The key with kids is not just to find out what is developmentally appropriate and physically best for them but also to provide a template for a lifelong love of fitness. To engage and retain 95 percent of kids, fitness has to appeal to them. For younger kids, this means it simply has to be fun.

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