Recently, there’s been an emphasis on gymnastics work during class, whether its gymnastics strength or gymnastics skill. As coaches we aren’t just throwing in gymnastics just for the sake of it, there’s a reason behind it and I want to tell you why.
Gymnastics is a wonderful way to get fitter. The thing about gymnastics is that it’s a total body movement. To be really good at gymnastics, you have to be able to control your body in space, which is a great skill to have. This can lead to making your job, if you have an active job, easier or make your sport/hobby easier.
Besides teaching you how to control your body and movement in space, gymnastics gets you really strong. Just look at a gymnast, their bodies look incredible. Who doesn’t want to resemble that? There’s a reason we have you hold handstands against the wall or hold your chin over the bar. Those isometric, or static holds, get you really strong. But more importantly, those holds get all the muscles firing and overall make you healthier and more protected. The stronger those stabilizer muscles are, the less injuries and pain you’ll have down the road. Besides holds, just think about how impressive it is to be able to lift your body up when doing a pull-up. It’s an incredible feat of strength, which is why we encourage everyone to consistently work on it. Your body is an incredible tool to use to make you stronger and gymnastics takes full advantage of that.
Once you have the strict strength down, you can move more into gymnastics skill work where the kipping comes into play. Just look at a gymnastics routine on the high bar from a previous Olympics. It’s pretty crazy what they are doing and really mind-blowing when you think about it. By no means are we going to get to that level, and we don’t need to. That’s their sport and for some, their livelihood. But in terms of CrossFit and continually getting fitter, learning how to do a kip swing really well and eventually a kipping toes-to-bar or kipping pull-up can make us better. The kipping version of any movement really builds upon what I previously mentioned. It requires you to be able to move your body well and be aware of where your body is in space. In a muscular sense, it may not be as much of a strength movement as a strict one is. But because it allows you to perform more reps, it’s more of a muscular endurance exercise and works different muscle types in your body.
Hopefully you can see that gymnastics is an important skill to learn and continually work to get better at. There are so many reasons we dedicate the time to teach you gymnastics and allow you to work on it. Hopefully, this all makes sense and allows you to see gymnastics work in a different way. I encourage you all to keep putting in the work, and you’ll see it pay off in no time!