CrossFit for kids in Dubai

Lori Tusa gives us the lowdown in a new fitness class for Dubai children

Interview, Sports and Outdoor
Interview, Sports and Outdoor

Tell us about your company
RIG CrossFit opened December 27th 2013 in a warehouse in Al Quoz 1, Dubai. We are a pure CrossFit facility and offer classes combining weightlifting, gymnastics and cardio. The skills increase core strength by combining constantly varied, functional movements at high intensity.

CrossFit adult classes are an hour-long, beginning with a warm-up and moving into skills and strength movements. We also offer a RIG CrossFit Lite class for beginners, which is CrossFit without the heavy weights. We have a lot of new mums in our Lite classes and they are having great success at getting back their pre-pregnancy bodies.

So how does it work for kids?
We’ve just started a class called RIG CrossFit Kids and it’s proving very popular. The 60-minute class is suitable for kids between 8 and 12 years old. Each session starts with a nutritional talk, before moving on to a warm-up, stretching, a skill of the day (such as squats or pull-ups), a WOD (workout of the day) and a game as a reward (such as dodgeball, tug of war, or baseball). We end each class with a final talk to recap what the children have learnt.

We always pick a performer of the day at the end of the class. That star performer gets to demonstrate the skill and is given the chance to pick the game at the next class.

At the moment we only cover up to 12 years old, but the good news is that we will be launching RIG Crossfit Teens soon, which is for ages 13-17.

Where do the classes take place?
CrossFit Kids is held on the second level of our warehouse. We make sure there are no weights around the children, but the space we use has plenty of kid-sized pull-up bars, crash mats, jump ropes, rowing machines, soft balls, cones and boxes for box jumps. There’s lots of space to run around and play games.

So what is the thinking behind the class?
CrossFit Kids encourages good movement throughout childhood and adolescence. We believe that consistently good mechanics translates to physical literacy, enhanced sports performance, and fewer sports injuries for kids. Not only that, but a vast body of research shows that exercise is beneficial children’s academic achievement so it can help them in the classroom too.

Most of all, we want kids to have fun! Adding this element means we provide a enjoyable and active alternative to sedentary ways, which results in less childhood obesity and all-around better health for our children. The needs of children differ and the program is scalable for any age or experience level.
We promote a fun, strong team atmosphere throughout the class and everyone cheers one another on during the workouts, especially the children finishing last, who always get the biggest cheers! High-fives are mandatory at the end of class! There are no egos, no bullying, and no nonsense – it’s all about fun!

Why do you think it’s important for kids to keep active?
With the scary rise in rates of childhood obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and even heart disease, it is so important to keep our kids active and healthy.

This is even more important in the UAE. With the high temperatures keeping children indoors during the summer, it is very important to keep them active. You can try fitness camps, swimming or water parks after the sun goes down, skiing, ice-skating, rock climbing, fencing, trampoline gyms and classes like ours. We always tell our members to purchase a jump rope. You can travel with it, use it at home, and you don’t need a lot of space. It gets the heart rate up and is an amazing exercise!

How often do you think kids should exercise?
Kids should exercise every single day from when they can walk, whether it’s a swim in a pool, a bike ride, a game of tag, or a long walk or runaround in the mall. They also need an ‘impact’ exercise everyday to keep healthy and to build bone density. For example, jumping jacks, running, or skipping ropes. If your child is fidgety or can’t sit still, it’s a sign that they need to move and release their energy. Kids are built to move and tumble and be active!
CrossFit Kids costs Dhs80 for drop-in classes, Dh375 for a package of five classes, Dh650 for a package of 10 classes. Packages may be shared amongst siblings and are valid for six months. For more information, visit

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