Jan 17th, 2007
By Mike Minium
With the move to our new place, we’ll be able to devote more time to practicing numerous skills that we’ve neglected thus far.
Chief among those neglected skills are the gymnastics skills that are so foundational to well-rounded fitness.
Before visions of men and women running around in tight pants or leotards enter your head, let me clear up for you what I mean by gymnastics training, specifically as it applies to CrossFit.
Our use of gymnastics here simply refers to the cadre of bodyweight exercises that develop the neurological skills (accuracy, agility, balance, and coordination) we covet as CrossFitters. And make no mistake, you’ll also develop a good deal of strength and flexibility through training for these gymnastics skills.
So without further adieu, here are the five gymnastics skills that will deliver the most bang for the buck in terms of all-around fitness:
The handstand is a feat in and of itself, but is also important because it’s a gateway movement that leads to so many other skills. Become proficient at handstands on the floor, on the rings, on park benches, wherever. And don’t try and do handstand walking before you’ve mastered the handstand hold. Trying to walk on your hands prior to learning how to hold your body still in a beautiful handstand is akin to learning how to power clean prior to learning how to squat clean. The former will undermine, and in most cases delay, the development of the latter.
Beast Skills Tutorial on the Handstand
2. Kipping Pull-Up
The reason we love the kipping pull-up is not because it’s a cheating pull-up, as so many think. We love it because it’s a beautiful little move that requires full-body coordination. Learning how to properly kip will also have carryover into areas you might not expect, such as activities that involve jumping, throwing, or striking.
Eva T (CrossFit Santa Cruz) on the Kipping Pull-Up
Everyone’s favorite exercise at CFO. It’s simply greater than the sum of its parts, so much more than a pull-up and a dip combined. There’s a nice little bit of kinesthetic awareness required to pull the muscle-up off initially, and then later to be able to do a muscle-up for multiple reps.
CrossFit Journal Article on the Muscle-Up
4. Rope Climb
First learn how to safely lower yourself on the rope from the floor. Then learn how to climb the rope with your feet. Then learn how to climb the rope without your feet. Then do it multiple times without stopping. Pull-ups will become child’s play at this point. It’s as simple as that.
Speed Rope Climbing (Those Crazy Czechs)
5. Pull to Inverted Hang
This skill will lead to the front lever, and more importantly, it’s a killer of a core exercise if you lower yourself slowly from the inverted hang position back down to the hang position.
Picture and Description of Pull to Inverted Hang from CrossFit.com
Post questions, comments, or plans of attack for attaining these skills to our Comments section.