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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 09-23-2011, 10:27 AM   #1
Heath Shumate
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Fitness for Pre-Teens

I go to church with a single mom who almost let her 12 yr old talk her into taking him to join the local globo-gym. Actually for his 12th bday last week thats what he wanted. She had posted this on facebook and I had commented so she asked me at church ws I being sarcastic or was I being serious when I said "No" I would not let him join. So I told her that his body was not ready for that and there is a popular mis conception when it comes to the definition of fit. So she asked if I could help? He has 5 weeks until his footbal season is over. Until then I asked her to do one thing. Just one! Continue to work hard at practice and cut out ALL sugar filled trashy drinks. Thats it, just sugary drinks. My question is. Can anyone direct me to some resources for preteen bodyweight fitness or something similar?? I want to have some documentation to back up the workouts I would like to lay out for him. Thanks and any tips and suggestions will help also.
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Old 09-23-2011, 10:40 AM   #2
Struan Potter
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Re: Fitness for Pre-Teens

Not answering your question, but a lot of world class Olympic lifters who start early (pre 10 years old) are lifting weights come 12 to 14, if not earlier. So to not lift weights with the excuse of 'his body isn't ready for it' doesn't sit right with me.

If done properly, lifting weights will only improve his performance. Of course he will need to learn to lift properly, but that will only help him in the long run.
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Old 09-23-2011, 10:43 AM   #3
Jason Wallis
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Re: Fitness for Pre-Teens

You advised her not to let her kid join a gym because you believe his "body is not ready for it?" What do you think he's not ready for?
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Old 09-23-2011, 11:05 AM   #4
Andrew Bell
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Re: Fitness for Pre-Teens

This thread should get interesting fast.....

I am under the belief that it is NOT harmful as the stereotype says. As posted above, true Olympic level Olympic lifters start early or pre-teen often. As do most high level gymnasts. I'm not saying start him out with 1RM's, but to introduce his body to the technique isn't a bad idea in my book. After a few months of just drilling technique put some moderate weight on there.
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Old 09-23-2011, 11:08 AM   #5
Kevin Simons
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Re: Fitness for Pre-Teens

Absolutely nothing wrong with a kid lifting heavy weights as long as their form is perfect. Same as anybody else. It is going to give him a huge advantage on the field, and will do wonders for his confidence. I can only imagine what kind of animal I would be if I had started lifting in my preteens!

I just started training an 11-year-old last week on a Starting Strength type of program with short simple metcons. Here is a link to a Google Doc of his training log:

Harrison Training Log WFS

It shows every rep he has done and all of his metcons on one page. I know that the starting weights look high for an 80lb 11-year-old and the jumps seem rather aggressive, but the kid is already really strong (40 strict dips, 30 strict C2B pull-ups, strict muscle-ups, etc.) The bar speed is fast and the kid's form is impeccable. I actually started him much lower than his ability so we could concentrate on technique the first few weeks.

I didn't mean to hijack your thread, but I wanted to show you that training with weights certainly is not out of the question for preteens. If it is done with proper supervision by a trained coach, it can be really rewarding for the young athlete. If the kid has enthusiasm to lift weights, certainly don't discourage him! Help him out or direct him to a knowledgeable coach.
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:05 PM   #6
Jordan Derksen
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Re: Fitness for Pre-Teens

Ya, definitely nothing wrong with it! In fact because his plates haven't closed yet if he starts lifting heavy and flooding his body with growth hormone now he'll most likely be several inches taller because his growth spurts will be bigger. I remember when I started lifting weights in my mid to late teens I thought I had stopped growing; I think I triggered a few more growth spurts and I grew a few more inches around 19 and shot past all my brothers. Now I'm the tallest in the family by a decent margin. I so wish I had started even younger.

It's probably the reason farm boys are all massive dudes. Farming is basically weight training with odd equipment.
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Old 09-23-2011, 08:40 PM   #7
Heath Shumate
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Re: Fitness for Pre-Teens

All these replies are great. So many things to consider here. Maybe this wont be too lenghty but Ill give it a shot anyways. I am not opposed to lifting. But what I am opposed to is what the globo-gym mentality is. An 11 yr old kid doesnt need to be doing glamour workouts. He needs to be building a foundation for what is just around the corner. Which would be middle school football. When I say his body isnt ready, what I mean is, until he can do some basic stuff: pushups, pullups, squats, situps, speed and agility drills, jump rope and things of such nature. Then he has no business in a gym with some muscle-head giving him some false idea of what "fit" actually is. Would you build a house with no foundation? The kid is a 3 out of 10 when it comes to atheleticism. Hes slightly overweight and he has slow feet. I am hoping he follows my advice and cuts the sugar out between now and the end of football season. Maybe this will spark some weightloss and light a fire under his tail to go thru the winter and possibly be ready for spring football. I myself have a 13yr old son that is an 8th grader. I have seen all these kids in his class grow up. And as we all know, all kids do not go thru puberty at the same time. Some of these kids cant even bench 30% of there bodyweight when they show up for summer workouts. Its very dissapointing. There are some though that are above the curve. Always are. Whos to blame? Is it our PE teachers in elementary and middle school? Is it our youth league football coaches? Is it poor nutrition? I work nights so I am very involved with my kids and their atheletics. Example, I go pick up my 13yr old from a summer football workout. I see loads of kids going to the store across the street for something to eat and drink. They roll out of there with nothing but garbage. Gatorades, chips, soft drinks and you name it. Junk. It drives me crazy. Shouldnt the football coaches know better? What about the parents? I had one parent tell me he saw absolutely no reason for his kid to be workin out that he was getting no benefit from it. Well to each his own but my son has made exceptional gains. Largely due to having a good foundation when he started lifting. Thanks for the input and I welcome more. And talking about those farmboys. One kid on my sons football team works at his fathers tire store during the summer. My word, the kid is in the 8th grade and is totin some guns. Totin tires is a great workout im assumin.
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Old 09-23-2011, 08:47 PM   #8
David Meverden
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Re: Fitness for Pre-Teens

I just erased my reply after seeing you new post.

I think we misunderstood you some. You aren't worried about him getting strong, you are worried about the globo-gym being a bad environment for him to develop in. I think that's legit. I started "working out" (read: doing whatever gave me the burn or looked neat) in highschool and while it made a difference in how I looked and felt, I was never strong, nor particularly fit. I didn't understand that at the time, though (ignorance is bliss? meh).

I think the solution here is clear: Coach the kid yourself! Get a barbell, put him on a basic lifting program (starting strength, maybe even Pavels power to the people routine), and get him started right!

Last edited by David Meverden : 09-23-2011 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 09-23-2011, 09:03 PM   #9
Heath Shumate
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Re: Fitness for Pre-Teens

Here where we live you can be in the 7th grade at 12 yrs of age and still play youth league football. Some kids choose to forgo their final yr of youth league and make the jump to school ball. They do not let 6th graders participate in spring drills. Albeit legal they say they are not ready and have them show up the first week of June for summer workouts. Some kids are ready for it and some not. My son decided to forgo his last yr of youth ball. At first i was worried but he ended up being way ahead of where i thought he was. thanks for listening. Something else just came to mind. I have been studying and following Crossfit for a good while now. Not really sure how long but ran across it on a motocross website and have been hooked eversince. So last summer when my son summer workouts I was chomping at the bits to find out what they were going to be doing. Bigger Stronger Faster used to be huge around here. Low and behold, they are doing Crossfit and dont even know it. I once asked the coach and he said he had never even heard of it. Actually said he didnt have the internet. Flippin tires, O-lifts, sprints, med-balls, 2 inch ropes, plyo boxes and they even have a glute ham developer. I was blown away. I dont know what his method is for deriving his workouts. But I was really shocked at what they were doing. Man I could talk all night. Hers a testiment to there program. 2007 they were state 3A champs. 07, 08, 09 they were runner up, last year they went very deep into the playoffs and this year they are off to a good start. Wow that speaks volumes to me.

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Old 09-23-2011, 10:15 PM   #10
Andrew N. Casey
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Re: Fitness for Pre-Teens

numerous routes to go here, but the good news is that the kid has an interest in getting better since he wanted to join the gym. perhaps you could invest a little time with the young man to show him the ropes. give him a program. show him some videos of stuff online. find out what the coaches have the high school athletes doing and then make it so he can copy. perhaps get the mom to by a home gym for the kid so he can work out on his own. buy him a book (or books) or video series that show proper weight form and explain the principles of exercise. if you have a gymnastics coach in the area, they would be a good resource for bodyweights exercises that will help with strength, as well as flexibility and such. also make he knows that lifting isn't a replacement for other stuff. if sports are his goal then his program should be built around sprinting and speed work. there is no substitute for speed and quickness. and i also agree with your idea the it would be good to ensure his mom and him have his nutrition right.
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