In the sporting world, and the world in general, gymnasts are widely regarded as some of the strongest people on the planet.
In the sport of fitness, people know this but they’re not really willing to accept it. If we use olympic weightlifting as a comparison for understanding then this will become a lot clearer.
They’re willing to accept the years it takes to become a phenomenal olympic style weightlifter. Its more understood the importance of progression and being a technician for weightlifting, its becoming a global understanding about the how of hinging correctly, the importance of double knee flexion with correct bracing, scapular control when going over head and even a low level understanding of problem solving from a mechanical standpoint.
However so little of this knowledge is known for the gymnastics side, even though it’s been argued that it’s more important. Why isn’t everyone spending eight hours a week meticulously video reviewing their handstands and kip swings and problem solving the mechanical disadvantages they’re facing as to why they’re unable to perform the basics of a wall facing handstand or a hollow hold?
To begin your weightlifting journey its non-arguable that a PVC overhead squat test can alter an individuals starting point, so why not use the same for gymnastics? A PVC overhead hold. Imitating an ideal handstand position, unloaded. We can learn exactly the same amount, and thats our most basic and fundamental position to develop. We know that if a person lacks the ability (for whatever reason) to get into an ideal overhead squat position with a PVC pipe that they should be developing that first before loading up a bar and doing reps. What right do people have attempting handstands walks if they’re unable to perform an ideal overhead PVC hold. We need to take some energy away from our weightlifting and make it a level playing field for how much we put into our gymnastics, if not more. It’s arguable that in many competitions for the sport of fitness, gymnastics plays an equal if not more than equal role Thant weightlifting.
Educate more, regress your current capabilities and put your ego down. You can make a national level weightlifting team but you cant compare to a twelve year old gymnast on the rings. That shows a clear chink in your armour.
You have a kipping muscle up, well let’s put that into context and say it means you can power snatch 20kg. Not so impressive right? Then to develop that, you’re only trying to add more reps? So now you can do fifteen to twenty kipping muscle ups… you can now do fifteen to twenty reps of a 20kg power snatch. To develop your snatch you’re starting to work on mobility, watching hours of videos a week alongside building your absolute strength patterns of bending, squatting, pushing and pulling mixed with strength speed percentage work with a coach.
Then for your muscle up well, through practice and motor development you just get better at the movement because you’re a beginner. Not because you’ve trained it.
Let’s put gymnastics where it should be, respected and understood for what it develops and the length of the journey required to restore balance. Just because you can string together some muscle ups or hold a handstand it does not mean that your gymnastics can be put on the back burner whilst you go chasing snatch PB’s or that buzz of a tough met con.
Quality must come before quantity if you want to progress over the long term in gymnastics and have healthy joints at the end of it.
We train muscular endurance > Strength, Isometrics > dynamics, Basic tests > Training.
Make your freestanding handstand as good as your air squat and your 100kg snatch should come at the same time as your press to handstand.
What you must accept however, is that this requires hours of the non sexy stuff…..if you’re not in for that then maybe you’re in this for the wrong reasons.