Let’s face it: it’s hard work improving your gymnastics skills. Unless you were lucky enough to dabble in it as a child (thanks mom!), it probably doesn’t come all too naturally for you. You fail a lot, look awkward and uncoordinated, and have your ego knocked down a notch or two.
If you take a moment to consider the pyramid of fitness that CrossFit has adapted, you’ll see just how important it is for us to spend time on this category.
Gymnastics requires you to build both your core and strict strength. If you have no idea where to start, if things like toes-to-bar, pull-ups, rope climbs, and handstands seem galaxies away from being a skill added to your repertoire, spend time developing your strict strength movements. Work on your strict pull-ups, hollow holds, and superman holds. There is not one single person who won’t benefit from doing this, even if you already have a solid foundation in gymnastics. If you develop that strict strength right off the bat, adding the dynamic aspects of kipping will almost seem like cheating because your movements will become so much more effortless.
You will also notice that gymnastics is a foundational component of other aspects of CrossFit. The better you are at gymnastics, the better you will be at weightlifting and during your metcons. Weightlifting is basically gymnastics plus load. Learn how to move your body around a barbell in a graceful, technically sound way and you’ll be golden. The common theme in most boxes is for newbies to jump right to the weightlifting aspect of CrossFit. It’s fun, tangibly rewarding from session to session, and you jump rather quickly in the amount you can lift. Gainz are what keep us coming back for more in CrossFit, so I totally get it.
This past weekend at the IWF World Weightlifting Championship, a USA female athlete named Alyssa Ritchey posted a 78kg snatch (171.6lbs) and 99kg clean & jerk (218lbs) while competing in the 48kg weight class. Let me do that conversion for you too- she weighs a whopping 105.6 POUNDS. While weightlifters train countless hours perfecting their technique and becoming specialty athletes, they are also known for devoting time to their mobility and gymnastics. It is no coincidence that some of the best weightlifters in the world are also posting videos of them doing crazy gymnastics tricks for fun. Your ability to control your body through space impacts your weightlifting. Not to mention it will also help you up your metcon game with more skills in the bag to develop and practice.
I encourage you to take inventory of your gymnastics skills bag and choose a few areas or movements you feel you could improve on.
While I am no expert, I am passionate about helping others improve on weaknesses. If you need an idea or two, all you have to do is ask!
P.S. 2018 is going to bring the advent of some amazing offering at 330 such as Gymnastic Club and FUEL! As you think about what you want to accomplish next, I encourage you to get involved in some of these new options to enhance your membership and results.