Learning to become better at gymnastics is a fun challenge for many crossfitters.
But there is a good reason why elite level gymnasts start very young and have such a large training volume.
It is a difficult sport that takes years of hard work, commitment and determination to master.
Does that mean that we should give up? Hell no!
You can still make great progress and achieve great things as an adult new to the game.
To experience consistent progress, follow these guidelines:
- Be patient.
As any experienced gymnast will tell you, the timeframe to progress from beginner to master takes many years. To become better at gymnastics, you need to be in it for the long haul. The pyramids were built one step at a time. We all need to start at the bottom, and BUILD our way to the top!
- A consistent approach is the only approach
To become better at anything, it needs to be done consistently. It is no different with Gymnastics. Revisiting a skill or strength progression once a month is not going to result in significant progress. Alternatively, working on it 1-3 times per week over an extended period of time will have a much greater training effect. And it will enable you to progress further and sooner with your gymnastics.
- Set movement goals
A general approach to improving one’s gymnastics ability by doing a bunch of random exercises is as good as thinking walking on a treadmill is going to get you into great shape. Sure, it might help but there is a better way.
Setting movement goals will give you something to work towards. Examples include a strict pull up, a 30 sec L sit, or a freestanding handstand push up. And when you have a movement goal, it can be broken down into progressions to get you there quicker.
- Don’t move on until you have mastered each progression
The movement you are working towards needs to be broken down into progressions and you need to master each before moving on. You can still be working towards more than one movement, but the same principle applies. Consistently doing something poorly is not going to eventually make you do it better.
Sometimes, especially in gymnastics, taking a couple of steps backward to eventually move forward is necessary. Elite level gymnasts will still spend a significant portion of their training working on the basics.
- Improve your Mobility.
This is not only for the gymnastics element of crossfit, but everything to do with crossfit. Many individuals (by all means not all) who begin crossfit are limited in their range of motion. This affects their ability to hold positions and move through full range of motion that many movements require. For the everyday crossfitter, performing even basic gymnastics movements can be very difficult. So why make it even more challenging working against tight tissues or joints with limited range. Free up that movement.
- Strengthen Positions through Isometric Strength training.
This is one of the basic building blocks in gymnastics. Being able to create positions with your body and maintain control of that position is vital. Hollow Holds, Arch Holds, Top of Plank Holds, Ring Supports, L Hangs, L Sits, Inverted Hangs, Handstands. By no means should it be your stand alone strength component of your training, but for the beginner level gymnast, it needs to be worked on.
Follow these guidelines, enjoy the process, and celebrate the progress.