I was a gymnastics coach for over 20 years and for about 8 of those years I taught primarily preschool age. I enjoyed the fun and craziness that came with working with little guys. It was like herding somersaulting cats.
I was also in charge of the curriculum. This required an understanding of child behavior and development. I loved the challenge - and the creativity involved - in writing lesson plans and seeing them through. It makes sense that I feel the same way about the programming side of being a fitness trainer - I love writing workouts and seeing them through. And what I learned about skill development and progressions working with kids has come in super handy in my work with grown-ups.
The students had to be 2-years-old to take class, so they were walking, but barely. They had a parent with them during class until they turned 3, at which point they were encouraged to let mom or dad watch from the lobby. Some of the more independent 2-year-olds wanted to do everything by themselves, and swatted their parent away for helping them. And contrarily, some 3- and even 4-year-olds had a hard time separating from their parents and cried in the lobby, terrified to do class solo. There was one class where I had both ends of the spectrum together; one extremely independent and spunky 3-year-old girl and a nervous not-so-confident 4-year-old boy. He towered over her in size, but was usually either pre- or mid-meltdown. The confident little girl would have taught the class for me if I asked her to.
One day, during tumbling, the boy started crying and whining, to which lil’ miss sassy pants responded, “Suck it up, buttercup.”
I secretly agreed with her had to force back my smile. But I didn’t want to encourage her, and instead I encouraged the boy. After class her mom and I had a good laugh.
Kids develop at their own rate along a similar linear path. As the preschool program director, I had to make sure that the curriculum safely progressed students from crawling to cartwheeling, and not the other way around.
I have a challenge for you. Get down on the ground and crawl around for a couple minutes. I’m willing to bet you’ll be thinking something along the lines of, “How on earth do the babies do this!”
So if crawling has to come before walking or running or jumping, but you lose your ability to crawl (as many people do as they age), what does that mean for your walking and running and jumping? It’s like being on the second floor of a house with the foundation crumbling. It’s not good.
It’s actually dire and here’s why.
In order to even attempt crawling, you need to get on the ground. Like crawling, many people lose the ability to get up and down off the floor without assistance as they age, and this has serious consequences.
First of all, the ability to rise from the ground is directly correlated to mortality. This has been studied and proven beyond a doubt.
Second, what if you do find yourself on the ground, and can’t get up? Obviously, this happens and can have disastrous implications.
Third, (and this one can really hit home) what are you going to do when your grandkid wants you to play with them on the floor? Or wants you to pick them up and swing them around, or find tiny hiding spaces to crawl into together?
Freedom is the ability to move. Once you begin to lose mobility, your quality of life starts dwindling and your likelihood of getting hurt or even dying looms closer.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. With proper intervention, freedom can be restored.
The proper and natural progression of movement is something I take seriously in my programming. I incorporate crawling and other primal movements. We practice getting up and down from the floor. I make sure my clients can balance on one leg before stepping up onto a box. Dead hangs come before pull-ups and strict pull-ups come before kipping pull-ups. Bodyweight squats before thrusters.
Walking before running.
If you’re ready to re-claim your health and mobility, my 3-month “all-in” program offers a solution. You CAN turn it around in 3 months, in-person or online.