01 Jul The G-Force Source: Your Body Is A Mechanical Wonderland
“Typically, the world’s best athletes are minimalists when it comes to their training. They work hard and fast with few exercises. They master the fundamentals and work with them for years. This is the secret that no one wants to hear.” — Greg Glassman, Founder of CrossFit Inc.
Ever heard the saying that your body is the machine? In a way, it’s true. Gone are the days where we are reliant on machines to build a better body; the body itself is capable of building strength in more ways than you can imagine. Yes, machines are helpful and in no way do we dismiss the benefits of including muscle-specific strength training in your regime. Using your body, however, and just your body alone (with bits and pieces of certain apparatuses) is a very fine way of achieving new limits in strength and dexterous movement. Simply put: your body is a mechanical wonderland.
Gymnastics–alongside its cousin, weightlifting–is one of the most prominent movement types in CrossFit. When you use your own bodyweight to create movement, more often than not, it falls under the gymnastics banner. Therefore, it is imperative to practice its movements from its base variants and slowly work your way up the ladder to more advanced movement. How many times have you heard us (as well as many other coaches at CrossFit gyms around the world) state that you must master the basics first? We don’t say it because we like hearing our own voices; we say it collectively to you, the athletes, because it’s so damn true that it hurts us deep in our souls when we see you ignore this advice. Muscle-ups are pretty, but can you do a strict pull-up? Can you hold a hollow for thirty seconds? Important questions for an argument that we will continue to have for lifetimes to come because everyone wants to be fancy as quick as you can say, “3, 2, 1, GO!”
Put mastering the basics aside for a moment, including gymnastics in your fitness regime is going to reap serious benefits in muscular strength and body movement control. To help you improve your movement in gymnastics, our in-house gymnast Coach Loz has been running workshops and our weekly gymnastics class to refine movement and improve gymnastic strength. She has years of experience in gymnastics under her belt and she has some hard-hitting truths about gymnastics. Here is what she has to say about gymnastics in your exercise regime and the correlation between CrossFit and gymnastics:
“Gymnastics teaches spatial awareness and body control, so it makes sense to master basic body weight movements in your exercise regime before moving on to a heavy barbell. If you can’t control your own body weight in a push up, it’s hard to imagine performing Olympic weightlifting.
It takes a great deal of patience to learn the basic gymnastics movements that come up in our weekly CrossFit program, but a little bit of time spent each week will have have an enormous impact on your overall performance in CrossFit.
Each individual movement progresses you onto the next. Hollow, arch, pull-ups, push-ups, dips, rope climbs, handstands and muscle-ups are some of the basic movements a gymnast would learn when starting out in the sport. All of these movements, along with good mobility and flexibility, build a foundation for progression in CrossFit.”
Take away the two prominent messages from this edition of our CrossFit blog: master the basics before moving onto advanced movements and include gymnastics in your routine for progressive strength and an improved lifestyle.
Remember that your body is a mechanical wonderland and is capable of amazing things. Here’s Coach Loz’s top gymnastics tips to finish us off:
- Start with strict movements before kipping
- Start with the basic movements of gymnastics
- Patience and consistency are key
- Flexibility and mobility go a long way
- Body weight control will improve Olympic weightlifting