No Equipment, No Worries: Teacher Determined To See Program Grow
What was once a fringe idea is slowly becoming the norm as PE teachers attempt to bring CrossFit methodology to students across the globe.
But it’s not all smooth sailing running an affiliate — some schools are struggling too — including one US middle school who reached out to the Morning Chalk Up.
Deans Mill School (Stonington, CT) PE teacher Cyndi LaPalme started a CrossFit Club that runs a 10-week program, once a week before school.
- “We are currently in the middle of our first session of this club with a second session beginning in mid-March. I’m always looking for ways to include functional fitness into the club as well as within my PE classes,” Cyndi said.
While the school principal has been nothing but supportive, progress has stalled due to limited resources.
- Currently, the programming is limited to bodyweight exercises with no funds to purchase new equipment.
- “Although this elementary school is newly rebuilt, the equipment was purchased prior to my arrival and without the mindset of trying to implement CrossFit. As you can imagine, schools have limited funding and purchasing more new equipment is not in the cards,” Cyndi said.
- She’s spearheading this program alone, juggling the classes outside of her regular teaching commitments at the school.
- The 10 sessions before regular classes also span across 10 weeks, which limits the programming. Ideally, Cyndi would like to see the program run more regularly.
But in a sport that prepares athletes for the unknown and unknowable, Ms. LaPalme is far from giving up.
She is using bodyweight movements in addition to having the students use sports equipment for various activities. Think soccer balls as wall balls, even wands as PVC pipes. She also uses workouts that she does herself as a template for programming, albeit scaled. This helps the time-poor teacher get in a work out while preparing the program for her students.
Ultimately, it’s the kids enthusiasm that continues to spur Ms LaPalme on, despite setbacks.
- “The pride that these students have in showing their classmates a proper squat or a hand release push up has been incredible! I can see the improvement, not only in fitness levels but in mindset for some of these students as well. There is a real benefit for some of these kids and I know it can reach more if given the opportunity,” she said.
We have no doubt there are many other small programs, just like Cyndi’s, toughing it out. By telling these stories, we hope to give anyone in a similar situation solace. As a community of CrossFitters, we are with you — keep hustling.