5 Ways to Improve your Gymnastics in CrossFit
Whether you're a beginner CrossFitter or on your way to the Games, one of the most important pieces of your gymnastics puzzle is adding HOLDS to your training program. Improving your endurance in certain shapes will vastly improve your ability to put the shape into motion. For many Crossfitters, doing gymnastics movements correctly can actually be harder if the athlete doesn't have the strength to hold the correct shapes. This means that usually the athlete will compensate by using incorrect technique. Correct technique exists for a reason- eventually it WILL be more efficient to use it (AND safer for your body), but you need to strengthen the shapes that are being used first. Here are 5 to get you started:
1. Hollow body shape. Practice by pushing your toes THROUGH the wall, and crunching until the shoulder blades leave the floor. Start with 5 sets of :20 and build up to a full minute. For more advanced students, bring your arms straight back behind the ears (without letting the shoulders drop).
2. Push up shape: Essentially the hollow body, upside down. Close the rib cage and drive the arms down into the floor to create a turtle shell with the upper back. Tilt the pelvis underneath you until your tailbone is pointed down. Start with 5 sets of :30 and work up to :90. For more advanced students, hold the plank on the rings, or place a weight gently on the hips.
3. Crab hold: Peel the shoulders away from the body and drive the hips up. This is an important skill to learn how to open the hips, stabilize the hips, and strengthen your shoulder extension (super important for something like a muscle up). Start with 3x:45 and work up to :90.
4. Pullup hold: Elbows should be pointed straight down, chin above (not resting on) the bar, legs should point straight down with the hips open, belly crunched, and tail tucked. Start with 3 sets of :10 and work up to :30. If you can hold higher at chest level, go for it.
5. Ring Support Hold: The arms MUST remain straight. Push down into the rings so there is as much space between the traps and ears as possible. Work towards turning the palms forward, from the back. Start with 3 sets of :10 and work up to :30.