CrossFit gymnastics is a blend of strength, flexibility, and coordination, demanding a unique set of skills that go beyond traditional weightlifting or cardio.
Whether you’re new to CrossFit or looking to level up your gymnastics game, here are six actionable tips paired with specific exercises to help you improve efficiently.
Be Consistent With the Basics
It should go without saying, but before you attempt the advanced gymnastic movements, ensure you have a solid foundation in fundamental bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, dips, and air squats.
These basic movements build the necessary strength and control essential for more complex maneuvers. Focus on proper form and gradually increase repetitions and intensity. Incorporate variations such as ring push-ups, strict pull-ups, and pistol squats to target specific muscle groups and improve overall stability.
Commit to Building Core Strength
A strong core is crucial for maintaining stability and control during gymnastic movements. Incorporate exercises such as planks, hollow holds, and Russian twists into your routine to strengthen your abdominal muscles and improve body awareness.
If you don’t have extra time at the gym, challenge yourself to add in a total of 20-40 deadbugs and deadbug variations throughout the day!
Improve Shoulder Mobility
Strong and mobile shoulders are essential for performing movements like handstands, muscle-ups, and overhead presses safely and efficiently.
Incorporate dynamic stretches such as downward dog to cobra, shoulder dislocations, and shoulder pass-throughs to improve shoulder mobility.
Additionally, practice static stretches like doorway stretches and sleeper stretches throughout the day to increase flexibility and prevent injury. Strengthening exercises such as banded pull-aparts, face pulls, and Turkish get-ups can also help stabilize and support the shoulders during gymnastic movements.
Learn the Technique and Commit to Moving Well
Pay close attention to proper technique and form when practicing gymnastic movements. Break down each movement into its component parts and practice them individually before combining them into the full movement.
For example, if you’re working on handstand push-ups, start by mastering the handstand position against a wall, then progress to partial range-of-motion push-ups before attempting full-range handstand push-ups (remember though, no more than 2 ab mats!).
Video yourself performing the movements and analyze your technique to identify areas for improvement. Consider seeking guidance from a coach to provide personalized feedback and guidance.
Train and Practice Consistently
Consistency is key to improving your gymnastics skills in CrossFit. Incorporate gymnastics-specific training sessions into your weekly routine and commit to regular practice.
Set realistic goals for yourself, whether it’s increasing the number of consecutive pull-ups or achieving your first muscle-up, and track your progress over time. Consistent training allows your body to adapt and strengthen gradually, leading to noticeable improvements in your gymnastics abilities.
Listen to Your Body!
Pay attention to your body’s signals and avoid pushing yourself too hard, too fast. Overtraining and pushing through pain can lead to injuries that sideline your progress.
You know this, but remember you need to incorporate rest days into your training schedule to allow your muscles to recover and repair.
You also need to focus on proper nutrition (eating enough!), staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep to support your training and optimize recovery.
Approach your training with patience, persistence, and a focus on proper technique, and you’ll soon see improvements in your strength, flexibility, and overall performance in CrossFit gymnastics.