The Future of Fitness

Take a good look at some of those numbers...

What would you say if I told you that a 145lb seventeen year old Boy has a 230lb Clean?  I bet  you’d have to see it to believe it, right?  Well, fill your boots then: Click HERE

(The video is only 48 seconds long, so go ahead and click on the link, and I’ll wait for you to come back…)

That’s a video of Keegan Martin, from CrossFit Brand X, also known as the original CrossFit Kids Affiliate.  Keegan is the son of Jeff and Mikki Martin, owners and operators of CrossFit Brand X/CrossFit Kids, located in Ramona, CA.  I had the pleasure of meeting him this past September, and he and his brothers blew my socks off.  I was able to watch them take on, and BEAT, some big adult men, and learned a lot from their talks and interviews during the Kids seminar.  Keegan has been CrossFitting since 2004 (from what I remember!) and is living proof of what hard work and dedication learned from a young age can accomplish.

I’m making this post with the upcoming CrossFit Games qualifiers in mind.  Given the astonishing performances from the competitors last year, combined with the mind-blowing difficulty of the WODs at the 2010 Games, it is clear that the bar for ultimate elite fitness has been raised.  I got the following information from a post on the 2010 Games Site, and it struck me as worth sharing.

We have to ask ourselves, what training backgrounds produce the fittest people?  At the Games site, they have explored this question by compiling data on the top 5 male and female athletes at each CrossFit Games. With CrossFit competition still in the beginning stages of development, it has been determined that it’s too early to draw steady conclusions about the sport.  But we do know that, up to this point, athletes have been able to reach elite levels of performance in less than the decade or more of training that it often takes in more established sports such as football, gymnastics, and swimming. The average length of CrossFit exposure for the top competitors has been just under two years.

As CrossFit athletes become full-time, professional athletes, and the level of skill and fitness tested in the CrossFit Games increases, will the amount of CrossFit-specific training that it takes to succeed at the Games increase as well?  In a decade, will athletes who have been CrossFitting since they were in elementary school be dominating the Games?  (Based on what I’ve personally observed, something tells ME that the answer just might be “yes”…)

To examine this question, Jeff Martin of the CrossFit Kids program weighed in with his opinion.  Contrary to the popular impression in the CrossFit community, CrossFit Kids is not only a fun program for young kids, it’s a “feeder program” for adult, as Rx’d CrossFit training.  In Jeff’s words, it’s the “little leagues” for the CrossFit Games.  This aspect of CrossFit Kids has gone “under the radar” up until now.  Jeff sees several dynamics, though, that will bring CrossFit Kids into the forefront of the CrossFit community.  (**Please remember that this kind of intensity of training has to be decided upon by the child, parent and trainer, and is not taken lightly!**)

Connor Martin (Keegan’s older brother) and David Shanahan (Connor’s friend) were the core of the first wave of CrossFit Kids.  Now they’re both 19, with 7 years of CrossFit training behind them.  Connor has achieved impressive results such as a 2:14 Fran, 275 lb. overhead squat, and a 405 back squat, while David has used his CrossFit-developed fitness to play soccer for Manchester United’s youth development team and the La Jolla Nomads, one of the best youth soccer programs in the country.  Already though, the second wave of CrossFit Kids is beginning to surpass what the first wave accomplished, and at an earlier age.  (Does anyone remember 14yr old Kallista Pappas, a much talked about competitor from the 2008 CrossFit Games?  If not, watch THIS. )

For example, Keegan Martin, Connor’s younger brother, recently competed in the Next Level Invitational.  At 17 years old and 145 lbs. body weight, Keegan snatched 180 lbs. for 2 reps within 20 seconds.  Keegan has also back squatted 345 lbs. and box jumped 54 inches.  Jeff believes that athletes like Keegan who have CrossFitted since they were young will have several advantages when competing against athletes without such a base.  For one, athletes like Keegan have been exposed to the techniques of CrossFit, from the olympic lifts, to double unders and handstands, for years.  They have developed a very high level of technical efficiency in their movements that athletes from other sports will struggle to obtain.

Secondly, athletes with CrossFit Kids experience have an uncommon level of mental toughness and discipline. Jeff has worked with 12 year olds who ask for extra running because they realize that it was the weak point in their fitness.  This willingness to work on weak points is often hard to develop in adult athletes.  In addition, while most sports require a degree of mental toughness, CrossFit Kids athletes become comfortable at pushing through the distinct pain of CrossFit’s metcons at an early age.

These benefits are great, but others wonder if starting CrossFit at such a young age will cause kids to burn out from training the same way for so long.  This is not a problem with the CrossFit Kids program, because the training is extremely varied.  CrossFit Kids move beyond thrusters and pull-ups into forward rolls, bear crawls, parallel bar work, and incorporating ball sports into the workouts to develop skill under fatigue.

Will athletes who got their start from CrossFit Kids dominate the CrossFit Games in the years to come?  Only time will tell.  But no matter what, be sure to look out for Keegan Martin!

Today’s Workout

Buy-in – 4 rounds of – 10 kbs, 10 double crunch, 5 goblet squats

WOD:  OPT Deadlift – Muscle Up

This WOD comes from James OPT FitzGerald’s blog and was part of an online competition that took part on Jan 16 2011.  I’ve adapted it a bit to accomodate our fitness levels and equipment – the “GAMES PREP” level is what was posted for the competition, the rest of the Zones follow a different format with a similar goal.

Deadlifts under fatigue can be dangerous if you go haphazardly into them.  Make sure to set your back on each repetition and choose an appropriate weight for your ability.  In general, the weight you choose for your deadlifts should be less than 80% of your 1RM. 

This workout will be posted as “OPT Deadlift MU – GP” (for games prep) and as “OPT Deadlift MU” for the rest of the zones.



GAMES PREP –  AMRAP in 4 min of:

  • 4 deadlifts (265/325)
  • muscle ups (2 for girls, 4 for guys)

Rx – 4 rounds for time of:

  • 4 deadlifts (200/275)
  • 2 muscle ups girls, 4 muscle ups guys

Zone 4 – scale muscle ups to ctb pullups and ring dips (4/4 girls, 8/8 guys)

Zone 3 – scale deadlift to 70-80% 1RM, 8 regular pullups, 8 pushups

Zone 2 – scale deadlift to <70%1RM, 8 assisted pullups, 8 pushups

Zone 1 – scale as needed

Cash-Out:  Cheer on the rest of your teammates!  Stretch and roll as needed


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