As athletes stroll into the gym, a sudden sense of dread overtakes each person who looks at the four-letter word written on the whiteboard:

Fran.

Twenty minutes later, the gym is filled with butterfly pull-ups, burning lungs, ripped hands and sweat angels under the growing number of bodies sprawled on the floor.

Be patient and limit frustration.

These are the first two points on a list I share whenever we speak about Gymnastics. Every aspect of the world we live in pushes us toward a constant need for instant gratification. We need everything now-now-now, so it can be tough for CrossFit athletes to hear they need to slow down, take a step back, re-create each movement and appreciate the proper learning curve for gymnastics skills.


Gymnastics and CrossFit

The reality of the situation is that if your goal is true mastery of gymnastics skills, the timelines are not measured in hours, days or weeks. They are measured in months, years and sometimes decades. While this statement might be discouraging and frustrating for a lot of athletes, the primary focus should be the process itself, not the end result. Many athletes fail to realise the importance of learning and growing stronger on the road toward ultimate goals, and many stop trying because of perceived stagnation.

As athletes, always respect and take pride in the process of development. Gymnastics skills are not and should never be thought of as all or nothing. It’s not accurate to say you have or don’t have a muscle-up. You have a work in progress somewhere between the first tentative attempt and absolute virtuosity. Every skill develops on a continuum, and small improvements have incredible value and transferability to other skills.

“IT’S NOT ACCURATE TO SAY YOU HAVE OR DON’T HAVE A MUSCLE-UP. YOU HAVE A WORK IN PROGRESS SOME- WHERE BETWEEN THE FIRST TENTATIVE ATTEMPT AND ABSOLUTE VIRTUOSITY”

The process of building strength and competence takes time, and improvements are not always obvious. But consider a river wearing away a rock: Progress is constant if not immediately apparent. Eventually, the rock is worn away. Gymnastics is like that, and small improvements in strength and body control eventually result in new skills.

Performing a gymnastics skill for the first time can be one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of training. That moment when something clicks and a breakthrough occurs can make all those horrible training days worthwhile. For those of you who have made your first muscle-up, I’m sure that moment and feeling are etched into your memory.

I wish for each athlete to experience many of those moments. Performing a skill one time is far from mastery of that skill, and making your muscle-up does not mean you are ready to do a workout that has 30 muscle-ups in it. Performing a skill for the first time is a stepping stone toward true competency, and the accomplishment should be viewed that way.

“SPEED WILL UNDOUBTEDLY COME ONCE THE STRENGTH, STABILITY AND POSITION ARE SET IN STONE”

The road can be challenging, but it will be one of the most rewarding parts of your athletic journey. Take pride in the process and celebrate the small achievements along the way! Easy things come easy for a reason and they aren’t valued very much. Something that is worthwhile will take higher commitment and higher focus”.

Celebrate the process and the smaller wins in gymnastics. We do not notice the improvement as such as for adding 5 KG on a clean or squat is a clear indication, Gymnastics its not so apparent!

Ring Rows, Negatives, Dead Hangs and all the other smaller accessories will help you get your first pull up. Focus on the effort with these to start with, seeing the improvement will stop you being frustrated and keep on building momentum! Talk to one of the coaches about improving your gymnastics, I’m sure we have a few tricks up our sleeves to help you achieve your chosen skill!