Get Strong Like…Gymnast?

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Gymnastics aka bodyweight movements are the big mystery to many people in our sport. Even at the elite athlete level a lot of people aren’t really sure how you get better at them, whereas something like the squat or the clean we know start to finish what to do…lift heavy ass weight! But when it comes to getting a first muscle up, or learning handstand push-ups, or handstand walks, or even a kip or butterfly pull-up, we are all at a loss.

Next week I will be posting about many of the gymnastics movements we use and how to go about progressing them to their most advanced version. The hidden gem in a lot of these movements is strength, and this is a part that many coaches and athletes alike miss when developing a plan to improve these skills.

Technique is very important, don’t get me wrong. The muscle up, for example, has very important mechanics that are integral to learning the movement and being successful at it in an advanced setting. Kipping, probably the most basic skill we have in the sense that everyone learns it at some point, has a technique that makes or breaks it. Bodyweight skills are developed through muscle memory, so getting a plan of progressions helps not just in learning the movement piece by piece but also by developing muscle memory. They say it takes 1000 repetitions to teach the body something so we have a lot of work to do!

However the missing link a lot of times is strength. Again thinking of the muscle up as our example, it takes a great deal of strength to accomplish a muscle up. You could have technique out the you know what but if you aren’t strong enough you aren’t getting to the top of those rings. Strength also can make up for deficiencies in technique, mobility, and stamina. The latter of the three being super important for performing these movements in a WOD where we almost never are well rested, being strong enough to muscle through a skill movement like the muscle up can make or break completing that last rep in a brutal workout.

Strict pull strength and pressing strength are my go to developmental parts of the muscle up even before having someone start on a progressions regimen. Go watch videos of an elite gymnast now knowing what you know about the movements we do and I promise you will be in for a treat as you marvel at the strength of those men and women. Think a muscle up is hard with a kip? Male gymnasts do them strictly on command during their ring routines!

Stay tuned for talks on muscle ups, pull-ups, handstand push-ups, and other skill movements and the plan for developing them from both a strength and technique standpoint.

For now take a look at the video below on handstand push-ups for today’s WOD!

httpv://youtu.be/CkDa_YZvuJs

 

FRIDAY

BASE
Strength: Hang Clean and Jerk
Find a 1 rep max in 20 minutes

WOD: 15-12-9
Overhead Squat 135/95
Handstand Push-up to 1″ deficit

 

PLUS

Strength: Hang Clean and Jerk
Find a 1 rep max in 20 minutes

WOD: 15-12-9
Overhead Squat 155/105
Handstand Push-up to 3″ deficit

 

THE PROGRAM

1. 4 Rounds NFT
1 Legless Rope Climb
5 OH Pistol (any leg) 75/55
17 GHD Situp

2. Hang Clean and Jerk
Find a 1 rep max in 20 minutes

3. 15-12-9
Overhead Squat 185/135
Handstand Push-up to 5″ deficit

4. 4×8 Barbell Hip Extension, Heavy