UPPER WEST SIDE — Are you stronger than a second-grader?
A new gym, EVF CrossFit, will begin featuring high-intensity workout sessions for children as young as 8 at the end of May.
Kids will get to lift weights and large objects, as well as participate in a range of activities focused on overall physical fitness including lunges, squats, jumping and sprinting, said Eric Von Frohlich, EVF's co-founder and a certified CrossFit coach, who's been a personal trainer for 20 years.
"The kids' program is similar [to the adults]. We just scale [down] the volume of the movement and the intensity and size of the weights," Von Frohlich said.
He added he'd never hold a kid back from reaching their weightlifting goals, but that typically kids will lift 8- to 10-pound objects, with a focus on maintaining good form.
The 10-person, 45-minute class, which will be offered throughout the week and on Saturdays, started at EVF's Upper East Side location two years ago.
While it drew participants like hockey players and other athletes looking to increase their agility and strength, the classes also drew kids who hate the gym and suffer from low self-esteem, said Debra Frohlich, who owns the gym with her husband.
Upper East Side mom and EVF CrossFitter Lynn Berney said her two sons, who are 6 and 8 years old, are addicted to the classes.
While there is some weightlifting, it's "nothing excessively heavy at all," she said.
Her sons love the challenges the class provides, but Berney said she's never been concerned that they'd go too far.
"I was never worried it was dangerous or too strenuous," she said from her own experience. "It pushes you a little bit, but not to the point that you’re scared."
Her boys leave the classes brimming with positivity.
"Sports are winning and losing," Berney said. "This is always winning."
In bringing the popular training program to kids, Von Frohlich said he does spend a lot of time dispelling certain myths that surround it.
Some people believe that weight training will stunt growth in children, a belief he denounces. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said weightlifting and training is an appropriate activity for children and adolescents.
He also challenges the notion that CrossFit is only for "really, really intense, competitive people who want to lift a lot of weights, rip off their shirts and scream — and that you have to be a lunatic to participate."
Instead, he said the program is highly adaptable to many different levels and is about camaraderie and community.
The kids' class typically begins with ice-breakers and might end with a round of dodge ball, he said.
The gym said no youngsters have ever been injured in its kids' classes and that participants have to try it to know what it's like, according to Von Frohlich. EVF CrossFit will offer a free demo class to anyone interested.