August 01, 2008
Questions I constantly hear from folks out there in the world of CrossFit are: Why should I train gymnastics? Why should I, of all people, attend a gymnastics certification? And what exactly will I learn that will be useful? This sentiment, expressed by a woman from Texas, is common: "I mean, all I can do is a mediocre handstand and I can't tumble. I always wanted to do gymnastics as a kid but I just never got into it for one reason or another. I just feel like I would suck at it and I really don't know what I would get out of [attending a clinic]. It looks so hard! Are you sure I should attempt such tricks?"
This is a natural response from those out there who aren't sure how to begin incorporating gymnastics into their training or ponder what cert to experience next as they weigh the benefits of such knowledge. We all know that learning basic gymnastics elements is a foundational part of your CrossFit training and development. Their relevance for training strength and body control are obvious, but they offer much more than that. The ability to move one's body weight effortlessly and with confidence will transfer in strengths across the board in your training and daily life.
My personal experience bears this out. Throughout my twenty years of service with the Fort Worth (Texas) Fire Department I had one constant on my mind; I knew I was more agile, stronger, and a more confident firefighter than those I worked with simply because I had been trained as a gymnast. I knew my body's limitations and strengths as I was trained in my youth to use my entire body and to do so with strength, speed, endurance, and utmost control. Gymnastics prepared me for the toughest career of my life to date and I still retain many of those skills at age 45. You need to know how to move your body. You also need to know that you can do the movements required for CrossFit WODs with confidence. All you need do is listen, apply maximum effort, and practice diligently.