Skills pay the bills as they say and every movement you do is a skill from rowing to snatching to squatting to muscle ups. The more you practice, the better you get.
Today I want to talk about gymnastic skills specifically, this is where I see most people get stuck. A big issue I see is people don’t give gymnastic skill the respect it deserves. It can take hundreds of hours to develop a strength base that is needed to do dynamic gymnastics (toes to bar, kipping pull ups, muscle ups, kipping HSPU) so if you take anything away from article let it be patience!
Just like anything you NEED a strong base to build on, the stronger the base the more you set yourself up for success in the long term. Don’t rush this process. I see time and time again people trying to fast track this to only end up in a worst spot 6 months down the road.
STRICT BEFORE KIPPING – please.
Once you have that strong base (i.e. – strict pull ups, strict toes to bar, strict HSPU, strict dips ETC), which again I will say can take YEARS, now we can move on to practicing the skill:
What not to do:
1) In a workout or a “metcon” is NOT the place to do this. You don’t want to be fatigued or have your heart rate high when practicing this.
2) Strength is only gained in the range of motion that its trained. If you always do half a handstand push up you will only get strong in half a handstand push up.
“To improve skills and well any movement for that matter, you must remove them from challenging workouts. You must bring them up front within a training day so that your CNS (central nervous system) is fresh so that you can attack the weakness of the movement first. Only after you work a movement in a non-fatigued way can you begin to challenge it.”
– Coach Jake
What to do:
1) Find somewhere that has dedicated skill work programmed regularly. The way to get better is doing quality reps (building volume) over time. At CrossFit Light we have dedicated skill work anywhere from 3-5 times a week, this is the first thing we do for the day. We choose one skill and focus on refining that skill and build the volume required to be able to do this in a workout with your heart rate high and fatigued.
2)Get in front of a good coach!
3) Always practice quality, 1 good rep = 100 bad reps. Quality first, intensity second.
4) Practice, practice, PRACTICE! Constant exposure is the key.
If you want to improve your performance, skills are a great way to do so. They show up in workouts ALL THE TIME!
If you have a workout thats:
12 clean and jerk@50/35kg
21 toes to bar
Its irrelevant how fast you can run and how good you are cycling a barbell if you have to do the toes to bar in sets of 3. Gymnastics are a big limiter to a lot of people in workouts.
Be patient, build that base and enjoy learning how to move your body through space.