November Newsletter

Metropolis Newsletter
November 2017

Should kids do CrossFit?

The other day I was having a conversation with one of my athletes and another coach, and one of them raised the question, “should middle/high school kids be doing CrossFit?” They both agreed, no — Kids should be trying out new sports, and not subjecting themselves to heavy barbell lifting. I know where they are coming from, but happy to be contrarian, I disagreed.

I said, “I think kids should be doing CrossFit, and largely, kids are doing CrossFit, at least those in good schools with enough P.E. time.” With so many CrossFit gyms and CrossFitters spending so much time on barbell lifting, it’s easy to develop a nothing-but-iron mindset, but barbell strength training isn’t even 10% of what CrossFit is about. Don’t forget, CrossFit is also about healthy eating, moving well, and learning new skills. Remember the last sentence of World-Class Fitness in 100 Words? “Regularly learn and play new sports.”

Many newcomers to CrossFit Metropolis come to us with a very limited understanding of CrossFit, in my opinion. They’ll say things like, “CrossFit is circuit training,” or “CrossFit is lifting and high intensity interval training.” I’m happy to correct people, because they’re missing a big piece of the puzzle.

For a whole host of reasons, CrossFit the idea has, for a lot of people, become CrossFit the sport and workout-style. Just to be clear, CrossFit is not a workout style, like bootcamp or cardio kickboxing. If it was, I would’ve been bored with it years ago. CrossFit can be a sport, sometimes, but CrossFit is not a sport. Eating can be a sport too, but if you always ate like Kobayashi, you wouldn’t be a very happy person.

So back to those kids, “should middle/high school kids be doing CrossFit?” It depends on what you mean by CrossFit. In my opinion, the role of physical education in schools is to keep kids healthy, challenge their bodies to move in new ways, and create positive attitudes toward fitness. So maybe they’re not doing snatches and back squats, can they still do CrossFit? How about a week that looks like this:

Monday: Calisthenics warm-up and 20 minute run.

Tuesday: Ropes course.

Friday: Capture the Flag.

Varied? Check. High Intensity? Check. Functional Movements? Check.

Sometimes, when we’re frustrated with our progress, or weary of the process, it may help to think back to gym class, and remember the fun of learning new sports, testing our limits, and competing with friends. It doesn’t all have to be squat cycles and lactic threshold training. It’s okay just to show up and have fun. The basic formula works really well: mix it up, keep it intense, and stick to functional movements. And have some fun along the way!

Upcoming Events

Metropolis Anniversary Party – Saturday, November 11th – Bring your thirst, and start practicing your limbo skills.

Thanksgiving Day – November 23rd – The gym will be closed on Thursday and Friday. We will run a limited schedule on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Upcoming Benchmarks

This month, we’re planning on retesting “Kelly”, “Isabel”, and maybe our mile time. Hit ’em hard and fast.

This Month’s Focus: The Ring Dip


Continuing with our pressing theme, this month’s skill is the ring dip, and we’re going to keep it super simple and try to accumulate some volume this month.

The dip requires way more strength than the push-up, because we are moving all of our bodyweight rather than just a portion. On top of that, performing the movement on the rings requires not only strength but control. Very few people outside the gym’s doors can perform a proper ring dip.

If you can do this skill, great! Let’s try to build up our capacity to do many, and explore performing these with additional weight on our shoulders or between our legs.

If you can’t do a ring dip, then this is the month for you. Here’s a simple progression:

Push-ups, until you can do 10 in a row.
Feet assisted ring/bar dips, until you can do 10 in a row on your tippy toes.
Straight bar dips, until you can do 10 in a row.
Ring dips.

Remember when attacking any progression to prioritize full range of motion always.

We’re going to be doing dips in our cash-outs at least 3 times a week this month. We may or may not have time to do these cash-outs during class time. If you want some Darcy skillz, make sure to get it done and post your efforts on the blog!

Great reads from the web

Self-Monitoring in Weight Loss: A Systematic Review of the Literature – this is a great meta analysis that has a pretty obvious application to CrossFitters: If you care about your results, you need to be recording your efforts.

And here’s a whole slew of articles and one video from Catalyst Athletics that were really worth checking out this month:

The Clean: Don’t Just Fall down

Video: How to Lower Jerks without Dying

5 Ways to Get Better at Weightlifting without Training

Quit Relaxing at the Top of Your Pull

Happy Training!



  1. I want Darcy skillz…