Philosophy of Gymnastics for the Insane: Part 2

Nov 08, 2013

The long awaited final installment of my Gymnastics for the Insane trilogy is here. I have not covered everything that's on my syllabus partly because despite the fact that my writing is awesome, people will not read a 2000 word blog post and secondly because I really need to get to work.

Strict Muscle-ups

A muscle-up is basically a pull-up followed by a dip. Easy! Ok, not that easy, even for a Garage Gym Girl.There are not many bodyweight exercises that require as much upper body strength as a muscle-up. It requires good shoulder mobility and a lot of strength which makes it an excellent challenge. The fun part is that once you get above the rings there's a whole other world of fun tricks to learn. The only reason these are not in my program is because I am still in the process of learning them. However, I am working at one of the best gymnastics clubs in Toronto alongside some amazing coaches who I plan to steal as much knowledge from as I can. So any wannabe monkeys out there - stay tuned.

Strict Pull-ups

I am a strong believer that everyone is capable of learning how to do a pull-up. I don't care how tall, big or female you are, get rid of the elastic bands and pull. At the start of my 12 week senior (11-15) recreational gymnastics session I told my girls that everyone is capable of being able to do a pull-up. We do different progressions, isometric holds and negatives and so many of them are now close to getting their first pull-up. One 14 year old can now get all the way up and is so proud. Believe that you can do it, I do.

Fun Stuff

I have classified everything else as fun stuff. This includes the following from the first of my Gymnastics for the Insane post:

  • Floor skills: Cartwheels, roundoffs, handsprings, back handsprings.
  • Hand balancing: crow, elbow levers (two and one arm), partner balancing.
  • Flags: clutch and full.
  • Slacklining

Gymnastics skills and tricks require co-ordination and help you to develop an amazing body awareness. With this awareness other activities and sports become easier to learn. Ex-gymnasts pick up things so quickly because this awareness is ingrained in them.

Balance is also an important part of gymnastics that has so many benefits. Learning to balance in different shapes and positions not only looks cool but also helps with so many other things such as kettlebells, martial arts and staying on your feet after multiple tequila shots.

To conclude this trilogy I'd like to say that while not everyone can be an Olympic gymnast everyone should know how to move and everyone should be strong. Gymnastics is not the only way to achieve these things but it is, in my biased opinion, the most enjoyable way to do so.