This past year has been so crazy with the Covid situation. We’ve all had to make quick adaptations to the way we go about our daily lives. Working from home, shopping online or curbside pickup, kids doing school at home, all we thought, would be a temporary situation. Now as we roll into fall a lot of these temporary scenarios have become the new normal.

In Crossfit, one of the first things we’re taught is the bracing sequence. It sets us up for good positioning no matter what task we’re undertaking either in the gym or functional activities at home. The same is true for a good desk/computer set up.

With school now being hybrid or virtual, parents have had to set up school in their homes. Because our kids are spending even more time in front of their computers, it’s important that they have the best setup possible in their “home school”.

Here are a few guidelines that will help:


  • The spine should be straight and make a 90 degree angle to their thighs.
  • Their spine should be against the back of the chair
  • Then their knees should be at a right angle to their thighs.
  • Their feet should be resting flat on the floor.

Bad posture at an early age can lead to permanent changes in spinal alignment later in life. Changes in spinal alignment can lead to pain, hunched appearance and can affect balance in walking and running.

A desk that is too high can put a child’s arms in an awkward position. A desk that’s too low can force them to hunch over. The same is true for the chair. If the chair is too high and they can’t rest their feet firmly on the floor, it will put more pressure on the thighs. A chair that’s too low will put too much pressure on their knees. When typing elbows should be at a 90 to 110 degree angle and wrists should be in a neutral position. Arms should be supported to keep strain off the shoulders and neck

Even if you don’t have a perfect setup you can still make adjustments. Putting a book under their feet so they are firmly placed. Putting a book under the laptop to raise it to eye level so they are not continually looking down.

With a good desk setup your kids will bet set for better learning and less at risk for poor posture habits!

By Nancy Shapiro, L1 CrossFit Coach, Masters Athlete


How does being the CFJG Kids/Teens Head coach fit into your perfect day?

I was posed this question by CrossFit Jungle Gym Head Coach Brian Zimmerman.  I had been thinking about this for quite some time, had a few thoughts flying through my head, but the few workouts for the kids/teens made me realize something, something beyond a “perfect day”. 

After being away from coaching for the past few months I had the chance to rethink some things, and look at life differently.  I have been given the chance to make someone’s day “perfect”. 


For the kids it’s really about getting them moving, running, jumping and having a good time.  During this time also making them realize that being active is needed, fun, and can keep going into their teens and adult lives.

For the teens, it’s been a bit different.  I am seeing huge improvements from all of them.  But watching them push each other in workouts, seeing them put a bit more weight on the bar, get a first pull up, a first toes to bar, a first moving “this much weight”, etc.  But the real smile comes at the point where I am seeing them now become a group that pushes each other, talks to each other, and seeing friendships emerge.

CrossFit isn’t just about making better athletes, it’s about making better humans.  



"My Son is in Three Baseball Leagues… He’s Going to be the Best"

Dear Baseball Dad,

So many of you say "My Son is in Three Baseball Leagues… He’s Going to be the Best". I know you all want him to be the best. Playing ball all year round will make him good at best and at worst it’ll make him hate it.

Now it is true the more your son plays baseball the better he will become, until your son needs to be a better athlete to be a better baseball player. You see, baseball itself does not make a player strong, it does not by itself make a player flexible, it does not make a player more powerful, it does not make a player run faster. Yes it helps specific balance, coordination and accuracy and they are important skills in baseball but the athletes that go on to the next level must spend time being athletes not just baseball players.

Athletes routinely work on becoming more well conditioned, stronger, faster, more flexible as part of their off season and in season routine. There are many ways to do this and the most effective way is to use constantly varied, functional movements executed at high intensity. That challenge an athletes endurance, strength, stamina, speed, power, agility, accuracy, coordination and balance. A lack of purposeful training in these areas will lead sooner than later to a deficit in which the athlete will plateau and cease to advance.

So when considering how many teams, leagues or games an athlete should participate in… you need to consider 1st their development as an athlete then as a ball player. My recommendation…

Off season- 3-6 months depending on age. As an athlete approches 18 years old their off season may shrink as small as 3 months.

4-6 active days a week working on general athleticism outside their primary sport. Working on improving their overall fitness across the 10 general physical skills.

Pre season- 1-2 month, 2 months before first compeition athletes go into pre season mode their training adjusts to accomodate sport skills before official practices start.

2-3 sessions of low risk hard training in which general athleticism improvements are continually being made. the other hours should be spent practicing sport related skills that improve accuracy, coordination, agility and balance requirements of position.

In season- 4-8 months, for ages 16 and below there should not be more than 6 months in season in their primary sport. Other sports are considered part of off season training.

2 sessions of low risk maintenance training in which all of the major range of motions of all joints are being used and maintained. The main emphasis is focused on advancing sport specific skills off of the base of fitness that has been established.


This is just the tip of the iceberg… start your son with being the best athlete first then the best players second! Their careers and arms will thank you for it.

Ready to become a better athlete?


Check out our other articles!

What makes an athlete?

Become a Better Athlete this Off Season

"Increased Athleticism, Confidence and Love for Fitness"



5 Ways to Become a Better Soccer Player

 5 Ways to Become the Best Soccer Player

Take an offseason

It’s important to have time away from the same repetitive movements that your sport requires. Offseason doesn’t mean doing nothing, it means doing something different.

Train to be an athlete

Off season- go all in on becoming a better athlete training 4-6x week. Have a plan for improving each of the 10 General Physical Skills, if you know that one area is weak, strengthening that skill will improve your Athletic GPA the fastest!

Pre season- spend time getting your fitness up to par by continuing to train the same way you have all off season but do less(3x week) for example trade out the hour of training for your hour of sports skills… hopefully you’ve been training otherwise you’re spending a lot of pre season time sore. Practice your sport specific skills.

In season- maintain and improve your fitness with well rounded low risk training. You’re not trying to hit PR’s or learn too many new skills but should still be training 2x per week. Your sport season and practices should be taking care of all sport related skills and training.

Practice skills

Practicing skills improves coordination, balance, accuracy and agility. These skills don’t require a lot of physical abuse but are more about establishing movement patterns between the brain and musculature. 10 perfect reps is better then 100 OK reps. You can practice sport skills during the off season to keep them fresh, but you don’t have to do much. Just enough to keep the movement pattern fresh in your brain’s memory (10 reps of 3 skills a day for example)

Play other sports

One of the best way to being a great athlete is to play other sports that help develop and hone some of the same and different skills than your favorite sport requires. Your general athleticism will thank you, practicing to learn new skills in another sport will keep your brain from becoming stale and will keep your body and mind prime for becoming a better athlete.

Eat to support your training and sport

Protein: You have to have protein in your diet. It is the building block of all the quality structures in your body.

Eat real carbohydrates: Avoid breads, pastas and grains whenever possible, these foods cause metabolic derangement that isn’t going to help you reach your athletic potential

Eat lean meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.


Do you want help becoming the best soccer player?? Sign up to talk to a CFJG Coach today!



Become a Better Athlete this Off Season

It’s time to become a better athlete this off season. Now that your season has finished up the most valuable time of the year is upon you… the OFF-SEASON. The difference between average, good and exceptional athletes is undoubtedly found in what they do in the off-season. This time of year is where you can make the most gains on your opponents, where you can zero in on your weaknesses and start building yourself into a valuable assest for your team next season. Let’s get started!

Improve General Athleticism

Athletes should use offseason times to improve their general athleticism as much as they possibly can! Fielding a baseball, dribbling a basketball, shooting a double leg takedown, shooting a lacrosse ball are important sport specific skills that are practiced with the instruction of that sports coach.

Become an athlete not just a _______ player

What good is fielding a ball if you haven’t trained your speed to be able to range over to get it. How important is dribbling if your legs are too tired to run back down the court? Every athlete needs to understand the importance of fitness as it relates to their performance. A lack of focus on fitness or being a good athlete will eventually be the detriment of any athlete skilled merely at sport specific tasks.

Where do I start?

What are the most important components to an offseason training program? Start by reading about CrossFit’s Hierarchy of Training Development. Any quality offseason training program will start with a learning how to properly execute effective movements (functional movements), a good coach will always be helpful in shortening the time it takes to learn, effectively use these movements. These movements should be varied so to create varying stimulus, for your central nervous system, musculature, bones and connective tissue.

Learn and Practice New Movements

Learning and practicing new movements regularly not only prepares the body but the stimulates the mind to more easily learn and acquire new skills in the future. While participating in a program that has an all around approach to attaining fitness and athleticism, it is important to begin to take note of weaknesses. It is not abnormal to find a common theme of weaknesses, when they are found it is time to go to work on the corrective exercises to fix them. A good coach should be able to help you spot any major weaknesses in less than 3 training sessions. Athletes who utilize the off season to become better OVERALL athletes fair better when it’s time to get back to sport specific skills.

Download our Off Season Checklist

Ready to get an off season Coach?


Kids Sports: Specialize in being an Athlete

There is a lot of talk on overuse injuries in kids and much of it stems from specialization in one sport at an early age. Baseball players, football players, soccer players, swimmers among other athletes have common injuries that are associated with playing that sport. What becomes alarming however is the decreasing age at which these injuries are occuring.

In our eyes at CrossFit Jungle Gym, most of this risk can be avoided if not entirely eliminated. Overuse injuries come from repeating the same motions over time: incorrectly, beyond fatigue or the bodies limits.

First it would be ignorant to say that I know the intricate details of every skill of every sport and so I will leave those skills in the hands of the sport specific coach. However, basic physical skills can and should be trained to become a great well rounded athlete. The best way to learn and train these fundamental skills is to find a coach and/or gym that uses General Physical Preparedness as it’s main focus, for example a CrossFit gym.

The 10 general physicals skills that should be trained regardless of sport…

  1. Cardiovascular Endurance
  2. Stamina
  3. Flexibility
  4. Strength
  5. Power
  6. Agility
  7. Speed
  8. Coodrination
  9. Balance
  10. Accuracy 

The best way to get good at all 10 of these skills is to perform: constantly varied functional movements at high intensity. Our Teen’s Strength and Conditioning Program being one of them!

Bad movement

Next lets consider overuse injury as a percentage. If an athlete only plays one sport and plays 9 months out of the year how many bad repititions does he or she produce? Lets say 25% of them are bad mechanics. Lets say it was a Pitcher who threw 1000 pitches… 250 are bad. Now lets consider an athlete who plays 3 different sports and threw 333 pitches… 25% are bad mechanics 84 are bad. Now consider the two kids both young developing humans which one will recover? which one will begin having fatigue? Who will be fresh for next season?

Lets go back to the 10 general physical skills, athletes who train for all 10 skills do the movements that help build an all around fit body. Impact exercises increase the density of bones. Functional strength exercises increase the strength of both muscles, tendons and other connective tissues. The variety of types of movements constantly creates new stimulus for the body to adapt to. Without this stimulus the body will plateau. Shooting a basketball is a skill, cutting, sprinting, blocking, throwing, spiking are all skills and are secondary to being an athlete. We must train our kids and young athletes to be athletes first.

Our contention is that most of the young athletes come to us looking to improve their performance and they spend more time on the field that in the gym and it should be the reverse. Skills take time and practice but they are more mentally exhausting than physically and should be practiced and programmed in such a manner.

We fully believe that teams, coaches, parents and athletes would be better served to rearrange the goals to first be improving general athleticism then sport specific skill. An athlete that is 12 years old should have 5-6 more years before deciding to specialize. The different skills learned in every sport will have transfer ability to the “chosen” sport. It is important for parents, coaches and athletes have a concise and thought out plan as to how their kids will be progressing.

Brian Zimmerman

Owner- CrossFit Jungle Gym