Gymnastics by Karnivore Kayla



Part III of V: Gymnastics

By K.K.

To quote one of my guilty pleasure movies, “It’s not called gym-nice-tics”…(Stick It 2006.

I promise I won’t tell anyone if you see this movie.) Perhaps there was a time when you

took “gymnastics” as a kid, which mostly involved doing somersaults, walking across the

balance beam to cannonball off the end, hanging from a bar doing “skin the cats” (only

to find out later that you would be doing them again in your adult life and learning that

the move is in fact called “skin the cat”) and running around spinning in circles sporting

a velvet leotard with sequins all over it that eventually you pick off in your moms car

when she comes to pick you up. Disregard the last statement if you did not have the

pleasure of wearing a “leo” or disregard the whole thing if you had a legit gymnastics

background. Whatever your background may be with gymnastics, it is back in full-

fledged force through CrossFit.

Everything from pull-ups, dips, toes to bar, handstand variations, rope climbs, L-sits,

and muscle ups will eventually come up in WODs and/or skill work. But when are we

supposed to master these?! Let’s take it back a notch…

Not everyone has a gymnastics background, let alone body awareness. And CrossFit is

not the only activity implementing some form of gymnastics into its repertoire. We see

body awareness and control in things like yoga, rock climbing, dance, etc. Strength and

flexibility come about through training, while coordination, balance, agility and accuracy

come about through practice. And lots of it. It seems overwhelming, but the best time to

start is NOW! We know the basics: Pull-ups, push-ups, dips, and rope climbs. The

beauty of these basic upper-body strength movements is that most of them can be done

in the convenience of your living room. Begin by setting benchmark numbers for

yourself. Example: “I can absolutely do 10 perfect push-ups.” Goal: 15 perfect push-ups.

Working up or down in a ladder or pyramid format is highly effective as well! Example: “I

can absolutely do 5 strict pull-ups in a row.” Goal: 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1. Once these

specific basic movements become manageable, it’s time to start working on more

complex skills…like strict stationary dips, to strict ring dips, to muscle ups for example!

Understand that all gymnastics movements have progressions, no matter how simple or

complicated they may be. And there is no right or wrong way! Just keep in mind that

every skill involves different progressions, and not everything is going to come together

at once, and it’s probably a blessing it doesn’t otherwise your CrossFit career would be

over in 4 seconds and you’d be on to the next big thing. Never underestimate the power

of practice. Step 1: Choose a specific gymnastics movement that you want to work

on/improve on/master. Step 2: Tell a coach your goal and ask for specific progressions.

Step 3: Frequently sprinkle in progression practice before or after work outs. Step 4: DO

NOT GIVE UP. It’s going to be frustrating, and not everyday are you going to see

progress…”Much of the rudiments of gymnastics come only with great effort and

frustration – that’s O.K. The return is unprecented and the most frustrating elements are

most beneficial.”-Greg Glassman