CrossFit at school: Students lift, squat, rope

CALDWELL — Teenagers at Vision Charter spend the afternoons in Fight Gone Bad practices.

No worries. It’s not an ultimate fighting drill. But it is a staple of CrossFit, a modern high-intensity exercise program changing the way kids learn about physical activity. It includes a variety of skills, such as weightlifting, gymnastics and cardio.

Gone are the days of dodge ball and tether ball. Vision Charter teens are doing ball slams, push-ups, sit-ups, step-ups and jump roping. They also study the affects of physical fitness techniques, mobility and biomechanics.

Vision is a science and arts public charter school.

“It’s a lot more intense and more of a challenge than a normal workout,” said Sierra Caudill, a junior at Vision Charter.

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Jason George, a former physical education teacher and now science teacher at Vision Charter School, turned his joy for exercising into a new class — the principles of fitness and CrossFit.

“When doing CrossFit, there is something you can always improve upon and that is why it gets addicting,” George said.

Last year, George joined Snake River CrossFit and fell in love. That is when he got Level 1 coaching certified to teach CrossFit.

Instructing the class requires a non-profit affiliation through CrossFit headquarters. He submitted an affiliation application to teach a class at Vision Charter and was approved. George worked with a CrossFit instructor at Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) to develop the curriculum. Students are receiving dual credit for the year class through NNU.

“I am primarily a science teacher by trade, I am inclined to think that the things we pursue should leave a trail of data along the way that inform us of our progress,” George said.”The data will be the only thing that informs us if this experiment truly works. Luckily the model set forth by CrossFit is easily quantified with real numbers and real data.”

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The class consist of short lectures that lead to movement labs. Students workout three times a week and workouts vary from seven to 38 minutes. The workout of the day, also known as “WOD” in CrossFit terms, is projected on the whiteboard and every student does as many reps that is appropriate for them.

“Any activity is going to have injuries, but I am confident that CrossFit is much safer than other sports if it is approached in a manner consistent with their methodology,” George said. “CrossFit injuries occur due to poor mechanics or mobility issues.”

George hopes students will take the opportunity to train for local CrossFit competitions and become part of the fitness community.

“I wasn’t sure if the kids would work hard in this capacity, but they love it and the competitive side to it,” George said