When I initially joined my first Crossfit class, it included a few Pull-ups and of course there were a few members doing what I at the time felt like was a very unsafe variation of the movement, in my head I felt like I would never try those because it seemed super risky for your shoulders and spine.
Because I am tall, and somewhat on the heavy side person, my gymnastics on Crossfit were always a fragile point, anything that involved bodyweight besides regular squats to be honest, which for the first year and a half in Crossfit I chose to not put any into because I felt like I was going nowhere due to my progress been so slow and it would always involve a hand tear or a shoulder pain from not performing the movements correctly.
Something I realized by going to a few Crossfit boxes in Brazil is that most people seem to favor Olympic Weightlifting on skill days, I have a feeling that it is because it tends to be a more rewarding class for the students, and the lack of a strong Gymnastics background from coaches.
At our current Crossfit the Head coach is super skilled in Gymnastics WODs, so Erica and I finally realized how much that skill was lacking on our toolbox, that in conjunction with the past few competitions that we did (WodSunset and Survive Challenge) the workouts that involved more Gymnastics we performed the worst.
Because of all of these factors I decided that I wanted to learn more about Gymnastics when it comes to Crossfit, since me and Erica found our experience on the Level One course to be eye opener when it comes to teaching, I signed up for the Gymnastics Level One course that happened a few weeks ago, on the same weekend that Erica left from Brazil.
Both of the coaches doing the seminar had a solid background on Gymnastics, Coach Dread and Paula Esboriol, which seemed like a very neat structure because they are the Owners of the Born to Crossfit box, where we had the course.
On the first few moments of talking about what we would see on the seminar, we went upstairs to do a warm-up that also was a way for them to screen all of us to see our Mobility, Strenght and Balance. It was insane, in a few minutes they spotted that I had a big problem to activate my scapula to allow good position for my shoulders.
To some extent I was initially right about those movements been unsafe if you do not have the proper strength to perform Strict Pull Ups properly, I learned on this course is that a good hollow and arch positions are the most essential thing in Gymnastics, allowing you to better perform bodyweight movements on the Bar, rings and upside down.
Coach Dread says that on Born to Crossfit you need to be able to perform at least 10-15 unbroken Strict Pull-ups before he allows you to try to do Kipping Pull-ups on a WOD, which I felt like is such a good idea to prevent your clients to get injured. On his mind, the best thing for members that cannot create intensity on the Pull up is to scale down the movement to Ring Rows to be able to maintain proper Hollow position throughout the workout.
The notion that you move the responsibility from the Coach into the Student to work his skills and strength to be able to do more advanced gymnastics skills on the WODs is brilliant because you can’t give proper attention to all of the members inside of a class, but if they are all working towards getting better before or after the Classes it gives you more time to work with them on those skills.
I have learned a ton of important things from this course, but I can safely say that the most important lesson was that there is an insane amount of value on working on the basics of Gymnastics before trying to o learn more advanced skills, like an HSPU or a Butterfly pull up.
People should put a lot more time in been humble enough to work on multiple variations of their Arch and Hollow positions every week, because what you will learn from most good coaches is that sometimes you will need to take two steps back before you can move forward, because if your base is messed up in some way it will be the limitation of your progress.
Doing the harder thing won’t make your worst.