Everyone that starts CrossFit eventually realizies that there are three main parts.  

 

Weightlifting

Gymnastics

Metabolic Conditioning

 

After a few months of crossfit I really fell in love with all the gymnastics incorporated with crossfit.  I began practicing, reading and listening to as much gymnastic information as I could get my hands on.  After that I began to help athletes improve their own gymnastics.  

 

Most people always want to know :

“How do I get a muscle up?”

“Can you teach me how to do a butterfly pull up?”

“Why do I suck at handstand push ups?”

 

There are a few others but you get the point.  Surprisingly enough almost all the questions break down to two movements.  Ring Rows and Push Ups.  All of your gymnastics need to start with a strong foundation.  If you watch someone do a ring row you can start to see why or where there faults are in their pull ups.  This transfers over to all their other pulling movements and only intensifies with kipping because momentum is added.  The same can be said for push ups as it will transfer to dips, handstand push ups, etc. 

 

Once you make sure you’re correctly performing the base movements, your next step is to build on that foundation by mastering the strict version of all the movements first.  This is usually the key component that most people are missing.  I was the same way when I first started Crossfit. You learn how to kip and it’s all down hill from there.  However, the best way to improve your kipping pull up is by improving your strict pull up first.  If you can do 1 pull up then it’s really easy to start increasing your strict strength.  

 

There is a simply strength progression to build on that 1 strict pull up.  You should try to complete this strength set 2 to 3 times a week.  Start off by completing 6 sets of 1 pull up, then the next time you attempt the progression add 1 rep.  So you’ll be doing 1 set of 2 pull ups and 5 sets of 1 pull up.  You’ll continue to do this every time you attempt the progression. Climbing to 2 sets of 2 pull ups and 4 sets of 1 pull up.  This will eventually grow to 6 sets of 5 pull ups and look like this over the course of a few weeks.

 

2-2-2-1-1-1

2-2-2-2-1-1

2-2-2-2-2-1

2-2-2-2-2-2

3-2-2-2-2-2

…………..

5-5-5-4-4-4

5-5-5-5-4-4

5-5-5-5-5-4

5-5-5-5-5-5

 

Depending on how many times a week you attempt this you can go from 6 sets of 1 all the way to 6 sets of 5 in a few months.  This progression works with any gymnastics movement that you would like to get stronger in.  Once you hit 6x5 you can add weight and start over.  

 

The last thing that can help is improving your kip.  In our gymnastics class at CrossFit 557 we spend the beginning of each class working on our beat swing.  This is practicing the tempo of your kip in order to make it more fluid and efficient.  Every kip you do should look exactly the same regardless of the movement you’re performing.  This type of practice is easy and can be done for just a couple of minutes everyday and can have a huge impact on your gymnastics.

 

In the end it comes down to nothing different that learning anything else.  Focus on the basics and master all of the beginning movements before you move on to more advanced movements. 

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