Add gymnastics for variety

Adding Gymnastics to a training program is a great way to add variety. There are a number of gymnastics moves and many variations you could do with just a floor. Add a pull up bar, rings and maybe some parallettes to triple the possibilities. I came on to gymnastics after trying out Crossfit from about January to March this year. If you don’t already know, Crossfit is a mix of Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, conventional compound exercises like the squat, bench and deadlift, gymnastics, and interval training. With the meager experience that I had with it, I feel that Crossfit is too intensive for me, and I had little feedback on whether I was progressing or not, given that workouts might only be repeated after a period of three weeks, perhaps even months for rarer workouts.

With crossfit, I did not feel like I could coast; I felt that I had to give my all for every workout, especially as Crossfit espouses short workouts of high intensity. A great example is Fran: (Some crossfit workouts are named after girls. I’ve seen posts on the forum likening this practice to that of naming hurricanes after females) 21-15-9 reps of thrusters with a 135# barbell and pullups. I might take 20 minutes to finish it, but like tabata intervals, they destroy you if you put in good effort. If you start coasting on Fran, you still feel like you’ve done alright, but there is always the nagging feeling that you should have done better. Whereas with standard workouts I don’t feel guilty if I coast, so long as I complete the required number of reps. This is because with standard workouts, you do the same exercises every workout (mostly), adding weight each time. You do not have to kill yourself every workout. In fact, this might be counter-productive. The important thing is to practice progressive overload, always trying to reach for and extend your personal bests. I suppose if crossfit workouts repeat, I would have a benchmark to compare with, but it is hard to do just a little faster (Crossfit workouts are usually done for time), the equivalent of adding just a little weight for the same number of reps with standard workouts.

Anyways, back to Gymnastics. The great thing is that there is no setup time. You use your body weight as the resistance.I started first with adding handstand pushups and L sits to my program. I use a stack of books for progression. Whenever I hit a target number of reps, I remove a book, increasing the ROM of the exercise. L sits can progress to V sits in the future. Lately, I’ve also added skinning the cat, which progresses to a back lever on the pull up bar. After which, I could try a front lever. I’ve also begun lately to dip on the rings after doing incline push ups on it. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough space to do a muscle up or an iron cross – a very impressive elite level skill. In future, I could try presses to handstand, or handstands to v sits. This would be done on a parallette of course.Also to consider would be planche push ups.

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