CrossFit is the fastest growing fitness craze in history and for the teens it’s starting to make an even bigger impact. With its “specialty” in everything fitness and not just one particular modality; we have seen more teenagers becoming involved in the sport.
So the question is, what are the best movements that teenagers should be focusing on in Crossfit workout?
These are my top 5 movements (in no particular order).
These 3 movements are where you build your foundation. Under proper supervision and trained professionals, these movements are your best bet in creating a solid base and adding strength. The squat and deadlift requires you to incorporate your entire body to perform the lifts; therefore, engaging the largest muscles in your body. The more muscles activated at one time can naturally boost testosterone levels, promoting lean muscle mass and fat burning potential.
It is also the best way to develop a stronger posterior chain (glutes, quads, hamstrings, etc.).
The bench press, in my opinion, is the best way to create upper body strength because you can overload your muscles more also while engaging your lats, triceps, and glutes. That’s right, it’s not solely a chest workout.
How to execute a proper squat:
How to execute a proper deadlift:
How to execute a proper bench press:
Achieving their first strict pull up is a huge feat for many teens. Building the strength needed to achieve this bodyweight movement is great to incorporate at the younger ages. Doing exercises such as scapular retractions, negatives, tempo pull ups, and strict pull ups for developing strength in the lats, along with the biceps, triceps, and shoulders can help to add overall strength in other movements.
Tempo Pull-Ups (similar to pull-up negatives but more advance and everything is controlled.):
We keep talking about building a solid foundation, but your foundation is only as strong as your core, your core IS your foundation. In order for a teenager to be able to handle the stresses and demands of CrossFit, weightlifting, and even unforeseen events in life, I would have my teens employ several plank and/or hollow rock holds in their program. The better they can control their bodies and weight, the more efficient of an athlete they will be. They will be less likely to develop injuries and strengthen the area that surrounds and protects their spine! Doing countless crunches or sit-ups are not going to develop strength in your core nearly as effective as the plank and hollow rocks
To perform an effective hollow rock hold:
To perform an effective plank:
Handstand holds are a great exercise that, just like the planks and hollow holds, can be practiced anywhere. It’s a great exercise to help teenagers build strong shoulders by supporting their own body weight. Especially at the age where teens are still growing, it is very common to see shoulder injuries in active teens. So the stronger we can build the stabilizing muscles in their bodies the better we lessen their likelihood of injuries.
Russian swings are an exercise I like to use with teenagers to help build strong lats and shoulders, but also help develop an explosive hip drive. Unlike the American swing, the Russian swing is only required to bring the bell chest level as opposed to above your head. This allows more weight to be held, engaging the lats more, and increasing the intensity. Also, with the shoulders being the most unstable joint in the human body, too much stress to an already growing and fragile teenage body, could cause unnecessary damage. So this is why I prefer the Russian over the American swings for teenagers.
How to execute a proper Russian swing:
Again, these are just my opinions of great exercises that I would definitely recommend teens to incorporate in their CrossFit training! Of course there are numerous other exercises that would have been great for the list, but weighing out the options and looking at building a great foundation, these are my top choices. Each movement will definitely put your young athlete on the right path! Good luck and have fun!!!