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Some of you might have noticed an extra amount of body weight skills this month.  Maybe you are new and are wondering why all the animal drills in a warm up.  Perhaps you just want a better understanding to the programming and why the emphasis on strict form…

                                 Well, it’s kind of my fault. My bad.

        One of my major goals since starting CrossFit was to build more upper body strength. And I was so happy to do strict pull-ups more confidently as I got stronger and took my training more seriously. Until, my shoulder got separated. Lost all that strength in one shot. BUT, if it wasn’t for CrossFit, I would have needed surgery.
I’ll be honest with you all, I still do struggle with pull-ups. Since recovering from my shoulder injury I sustained at work last winter, I have almost obsessed about training for pull-ups and dips. Reading material on it, stalking Instagram pages, taking Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet’s (former World’s Fittest Women) programming for a month, the list goes on.

I recently took The CrossFit Gymnastics Specialty course, not just to “torture” you guys more with weird warm ups, but so I can improve on your body weight movements as well. After regaining the majority of the strength I previously had in my shoulder, I wanted to really focus on kicking up my training more to reach my ultimate “CrossFit life” goal: the muscle up. If I can push myself to the limit to reach this ultimate goal, then I can definitely help succeed as a coach to help all of you “Be More Human”.

After setting this goal, it definitely means I have to dedicate myself to putting extra work at the box. Meaning, solo classes in between coaching, where I can focus on one movement, fix my form after reviewing video on my phone, and pushing myself through the same drills we now offer to you guys!

During that weekend at the specialty course, I learned an amazing amount of information. CrossFit in general has impacted my life greatly. But the information I gained during this course really put it in a more life-changing perspective.

In CrossFit, we do emphasize our movements from “core to extremity”. If you don’t focus on your core (like a foundation), your arms and legs are not going to work with you as efficiently. You might end up looking like a marionette being moved around by strings. Which, could look interesting, but also BAD for your joints.

The same goes for gymnastics movements. And in CrossFit, the term “gymnastics” refers mainly to all of our body weight movements. If you look at the CrossFit pyramid, gymnastics is actually the “core” of CrossFit, and can actually help improve your weightlifting.   Think about the snatch, gymnastics can help develop your coordination, flexibility, and strength; three important components of Olympic weightlifting.

Before we even think about dynamic movement (i.e. ‘kipping’), we must first emphasize on building strength first. I can justify this by applying gymnastic movement into real life situations. Think about applying a strict chest to bar pull-up or even a strict muscle up to climbing a high fence while running after or away from someone, a push-up while pushing a heavier person off of you when you’re pinned to the ground, or a strict handstand push up if you’re upside down in a confined space (heaven forbid a car accident). These are real-life examples we can apply these movements towards. Pilots during WWII underwent gymnastics training in case they had to eject from their planes, and needed to learn and train these necessary skills in case they found themselves in certain situations.

Talk about functional movement, huh? Fascinating!

I can personally say that I’ve applied what I learned in the box to actual situations I’ve experienced in the past few years as an EMT. And building that necessary (core) strength is essential to our survival. And since taking the gymnastics specialty course, I have become more aware of my physical self, focusing on my form both in and out of the box. It is amazing what our bodies are capable of despite “the suck” of having to perform such movements in our WODs. It can actually save your life, or help someone else in need one day.

~Coach Jess H.