Spend more than a couple of minutes glimpsing through fitness videos on Instagram, and you're sure to see some fairly eyebrow-raising moves you wouldn't want to try without professional supervision. And that's as an adult. It's no wonder a viral video of a little boy attempting a box jump has gotten tongues wagging around the globe. Filmed by his father Mohamad Arat Hosseini, little Arat tries and fails to jump up on a box nine times before his dad intervenes with a pep talk. Finally, the tenth time he attempts it, Arat lands the jump.
Posted on March 13 to his Instagram account, the video has racked up over a million views.
According to Australian website KidSpot, Mohamad says Arat has loved gymnastics and training since he was tiny, and by the time he was 3 years old, the so-called "real life spider boy" was scaling scale 10-foot walls, doing somersaults and back flips, one-handed push ups, press-ups with weights on his back, and sit-ups holding a large weight.
Nonetheless, Arat's videos have stirred up debate around whether or not activities like a box jump are recommended for a child so young. On the Facebook posting of the video, commenters weighed in. "Let kids be kids, seems like he/she is being pushed too hard by the guy and he/she is way to aggressive for a child," one wrote. Still, others were onboard with the training, like a commenter who wrote, "This is fantastic! If only all fathers help their kids find something to focus in and work hard on every day. This is definitely motivating."
Though Arat may have had special training and be uniquely equipped to handle an advanced movement like a box jump, the exercise is generally not recommended for kids, according to John Urena, CPT, CES NASM, Level 1 Precision Nutrition coach and owner of Coach U Training and Performance in Los Angeles, California. "From a biomechanical standpoint, I don't think it's something that a child at 4 years of age should be doing," Urena tells Parents.com. "Kids are developing muscularly, skeletally, and neurologically, and if they attempt to do an exercise that is Z in the alphabet, but they haven't even hit A yet, then the risk to damage their bodies is greater. If they haven't gone through the proper progressions to achieve this level, it can lead to injuries."
In fact, Urena points out that a child may not be injured immediately, but years of "repetitive motions that their bodies are not ready for" can mean building on top of "dysfunction instead of a solid foundation."
That said, Urena recommends that any child interested in physical activity along these lines work with a certified trainer "who knows biomechanics and can safely train the child while preparing their bodies to resist injury."
Though moves like the box jump are sure to rack up millions of views on social media, the bottom-line is safety first.