CrossFit, the staggeringly popular program where routines include things like swinging kettleballs and flipping tires also counts kids among its roster of participants. But the kids’ version isn’t exactly like its adult counterpart. For kids, CrossFit is all about functional movements that pair fitness and fun. Jumping, pulling, pushing, and tumbling happen at high intensities, and in the kids’ minds, it’s all fun and games, but in the background-checked CrossFit Kids instructors’ minds, it’s a foundation for lifelong fitness. All coaches who work with kiddos complete a certification course on how to keep pint-sized athletes engaged and safe in the studio.
Checkpoint CrossFit believes in making exercise so much fun, kids ages 5–10 don’t even realize they’re exercising. To that end, after a quick warm-up and workout, little CrossFitters play games for about a quarter of each 40-minute class. Favorites include an exercise-heavy twist on musical chairs called musical wall ball and relay races in the studio’s back alley, where teams scramble to fill buckets with water using sponges. Drop-in classes cost $10; an unlimited month of classes costs $85 ($65 if a parent is a member); additional sibling discounts available.
When: Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4pm
Where: Plano; 210/262-5484 // checkpointcrossfit.com
If your little monkey is itching to learn handstands or forward rolls, head to
CrossFit Remedy where classes for kids ages 7–12 teach gymnastics moves alongside more traditional conditioning practices. Does the prospect of your little lifting weights make you uneasy? The 45-minute classes focus on proper technique, not on adding unnecessary weight. Kids mostly use body weight as resistance and never lift anything heavier than the weight of their backpack. An unlimited month of classes costs $125; a 10-class punch card costs $100.
When: Monday–Thursday at 5:15pm
Where: Frisco; 469/789-9859 // crossfitremedy.com
Get your wee ones ages 5–11 up and moving with workouts disguised as animal movements at CrossFit Alpha 1 Athlete. In each 45-minute class, kiddos get heart rates up doing bear crawls, crab walks and alligator burpees, which marry the traditional burpee with an added gator-like movement on the ground. Plus, here kids exercise more than their bodies, playing hangman and word scrambles to get the minds working too. Monthly rate costs $35 for one class per week and $70 for two classes per week.
When: Tuesday and Friday at 3:45pm
Where: Plano; 469/667-7244 // crossfitalpha1athlete.com
Designed for little competitors ages 5–13, North Dallas CrossFit gives kids an 8- to 10-minute window to do as many reps as possible using a combination of moves and keeping track with tallies and poker chips. Littles then trade chips in for a marker to write their total on the whiteboard. Themes rotate monthly. One month, kids work on deadlifts, the next, nutrition. And each 45-minute session ends with a game with a fitness twist. For example, dodgeball rules include never getting out but doing squats or push-ups when you’re hit. An unlimited month of classes costs $100 ($80 if a parent is a member); for more than two siblings, each additional sibling is half-off.
When: Tuesday and Thursday at 3:45pm
Where: Dallas; 972/567-7111 // northdallascrossfit.com
Instructors at CrossFit Richardson aim to teach young participants correct, safe form to prevent injury. Kids get divided by age: one group of kindergarteners through third-graders; another for fourth through eighth grades. During the 30-minute classes, the younger ones play lots of games, like CrossFit Baseball, where kids run around an indoor baseball field performing a different movement at each base (think burpees and squats). Older kids perform a scaled-down version of an adult class with modifications such as swapping a weighted barbell for PVC pipe. An unlimited month of classes costs $65 ($50 if a parent is a member), an unlimited month of classes for each additional kid in the household is $50 ($35 if a parent is a member).
When: Grades K–3: Tuesday and Thursday at 4pm; grades 4–8: Monday and Wednesday at 4pm
Where: Richardson; 972/234-1376 // crossfitrichardson.com
A typical kids’ class at CrossFit Odyssey starts with a warm-up and the introduction of a new skill such as proper squat technique. Little CrossFitters then add new skills to others they already know in a heart-pumping 10-minute conditioning workout. To keep things fun, there’s usually a game or a window of open play at the end. Classes are small (usually around five kiddos), age appropriate and run 30 minutes for ages 5–7 and 45 minutes for ages 8–13. For the first family member, an unlimited month of classes costs $125 and a month of one class per week costs $75; for the second family member, an unlimited month of classes costs $75 and a month of one class per week costs $35.
When: Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30pm
Where: Dallas; 214/234-0299 // thejourneytoextraordinary.wordpress.com
CrossFit Coppell Central wants kids to be proud of their bodies and accomplishments. Younger kids ages 3–13 attend a 30-minute P.E.-style class where they learn the fundamentals of movement and play games. A favorite is Tarzan, where kiddos swing from a rope and knock over objects. The 60-minute class for ages 14–16 eliminates the games and focuses on friendly competition. Teens keep things interesting by logging their progress to see how far they’ve come. Since studies prove that exercise boosts brainpower, each teen class ends with a 15-minute study hall where they do homework or read articles about nutrition. An unlimited month of classes costs $70 ($60 if a parent is a member), a second sibling is half-off and each additional kid in the household is free.
When: Ages 3–13: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 4:30pm; ages 14–16: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 5pm
Where: Coppell; 214/417-4742 // crossfitcoppellcentral.com
Each hour-long session at CrossFit 24 starts with a warmup where young Crossfitters ages 5–12 repeat movements they’ve learned in previous weeks (such as air squats) to slowly convert proper form into muscle memory. Littles also perform high-impact exercises such as modified box jumps to increase bone density and add elements to games to improve balance such as spinning three times before throwing a dodgeball. An unlimited month of classes costs $40.
When: Monday at 6:30pm
Where: Southlake; 214/412-9266 // crossfit24.com
To make sure that kids are performing a movement correctly, instructors at CrossFit Kids Denton break down the form step by step before allowing them to add weight. For example, if littles are learning a kettlebell deadlift in a particular 45-minute class, they have to demonstrate how to bend over correctly, how to perform the lift properly and how to do several repetitions without weight. Only once the instructor is convinced they’ve nailed the form at each stage can they move on to actually doing the weighted movement. There are two groups: The “Artemis” group for ages 5–11 works on learning the mechanics and building a vocabulary of movements, while the “Atlas” group for ages 12–17 starts using barbells and introduces a weekly lift-heavy-stuff day. Monthly rate is $40 for one class per week, $70 for two classes per week, $80 for three classes per week and $90 for unlimited monthly classes.
When: Ages 5–11: Monday–Friday at 3:45pm; ages 12–17: Monday–Friday at 4:45pm
Where: Denton; 940/206-4944 // crossfitkidsdenton.com
This article was first published in the March 2016 issue of DallasChild.