Gymnastics by Coach Jamie
When we train Crossfit, the aim is to improve in all aspects in life, make life easier and to become an all rounded athlete. This is achieved through our programme of constantly varied exercise which focuses on the importance of movement. Quite often people forget this and focus too much on the barbell exercises, putting too much emphasis on how much they can squat or deadlift before they can handle their bodyweight efficiently. Don’t get me wrong these movements are important, but quite rarely do people focus on the importance of strength in gymnastics.
Gymnastics is the ability to control our bodies through space. Walking, running, climbing, jumping, landing, falling correctly etc. In the modern day a lot of this has been forgotten through the growth in technology. We drive to work, sit at a desk all day, do not have to exert a lot of effort to get anything we want, as its delivered or always just around the corner.
In the athletic world, gymnastics need to demonstrate levels of strength, balance, power and co-ordination at an elite level. But for most of us we just need to start somewhere in the middle, start on the basic movement progressions which will allow us stay fit and healthy well into older age.
At Crossfit Perpetua Dublin we value gymnastics strength on the same level as barbell strength. Our program focuses on gymnastics progressions, pushing you to your movement limits. One of the main categories we focus on is Midline Stability; training the stabilising muscles of the torso. For example hollow hold, hollow arch, hollow plank, tripod, headstand, handstand, etc.
When we train these we focus on no kipping but rather strict movement. The fact is it is much easier to perform kipping movements if you can do the strict movement. Developing strict before kipping will prevent injury, increase strength and increase awareness of movement.
Core to extremity movement
Everything we do, whenever we move, should be core to extremity. This sequence allows us to perform the most efficient, powerful and safest movements. You can think of ‘core’ as your trunk / torso / spine and hips. When we move, we should start by engaging these muscles to create a strong and stable base. Our strongest muscles initiate the movement and produce the most power to get the object (ourselves, a barbell, etc) moving. Then our limbs (extremity) get involved to finish the task. So, core to extremity movement is important to learn and kipping – when done correctly – helps us understand this. For this reason, we also teach our members kipping movement (Once they have developed a baseline of strict gymnastics strength and understand how to move safely).
The Harder we train the easier life becomes!
Our ability to control our bodies is a vital skill and strength we all must develop. Not only will we be able to handle our bodies and external objects better in the gym, but our quality of lives outside the walls of the box will drastically improve.