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Why Go to a CrossFit Gymnastics Cert? by Jeff Tucker - CrossFit Journal

In Gymnastics/Tumbling, Videos

November 15, 2009

Video Article

What does a back tuck have to do with Olympic lifting or Fran?

According to Jeff Tucker of GSX Athletics, the answer is, “A lot.”

Gymnastics is all about efficiently moving your body with strength and power, and improvements in your gymnastics movements will often bring about impressive gains in other aspects of CrossFit. That’s probably why Greg Glassman made gymnastics one of the foundations of CrossFit and reintroduced the rings to the fitness world.

“The reality is I want to take our skills and drills from gymnastics—the sport of gymnastics—and make it applicable to what we do daily in the box,” Tucker says.

A Gymnastics Cert is also a great place to learn more about coaching and movement—how to motivate athletes while keeping them safe as you teach them to control their bodies and build strength.

Tucker was head coach and director of Texas Christian University’s gymnastics/cheerleading programs from 2001 to 2006 and now conducts CrossFit’s Gymnastics Certifications.

Video by CrossFit by Overload.

7min 53sec

Additional reading: Why Train Gymnastics Basics? by Jeff Tucker, published Aug. 1, 2008.

Free Download


11 Comments on “Why Go to a CrossFit Gymnastics Cert?”


wrote …

Attending this cert has led to me being more efficient with all my workouts. I have gone from being the "dummy" used at the cert for an extremely poor kipping pull up to being able to rifle them off for faster WODs, all thanks to Tuck's tutelage and his focus on shoulder ROM, not hip ROM. HSPUs were something I never thought I could accomplish, but can now go head to ground for multiple reps, without a "kip", just by learning proper bracing and hollowing. I am still attempting to re-perform the single arm balance he was able to coach us through during the cert. Muscle up efficiency has greatly improved, leading to decreased shoulder strain with the pull. Not only is Tucker a superior instructor, he is a hell of a lot of fun. I cannot recommend this cert enough. It is definitely a requirement for all Crossfitters, and the cert I have gleaned the most useful knowledge from.


wrote …

I keep coming wide with my muscle up and can't help it. Can that be a flexibility issue. Or am i not doing it right. I have tried to follow everything you are saying in the videos. I have only seed your scaled versions of the muscle ups. Could you explain the kip in more detail? Thanks.


wrote …

I still like the idea of teaching a basic cartwheel for basic kinesthetic and aerial awareness as well as a bailout from falling out of a handstand free-standing or off a wall. I can tell a lot about basic coordination and awareness by the ability to cartwheel though shoulder/straddle flexibility affects this a lot.

Back tucks for time? Sounds fun.


wrote …

tiger... we have a vid onthe way about the kipping muscle up... and it should help you very much.

blair... if we only had enough time i would add those elements of the cartwhell. we discuss HS forward rolls, twisting hips to bail a HS in a cartwhell, and reverse lunges... but you know as well as i do - you gotta pick your poison - and the amount of time it takes to get aerial awareness sometimes could take hours we dont have. but we speak to it and show it at certs. and back tucs for time sounds like a train wreck!


wrote …

Yep, going through basic cartwheel progressions would take quite a bit of time in having everyone do them enough, besides space. We spent a lot of time on such during the gymnastics seminars before the certs took place.

If you're covering the CW out of HS step out to the side that is good enough for CF stuff.

Especially, if any crossfitters coming with dismal shoulder flexion ability and a poor straddle. These two in concert make for a crappy side cartwheel that is just a struggle in progress biomechanically.

Add that's it's a skill that doesn't really do much as far as WOD's go. Cartwheeling to HS on a wall is a neat trick but it's not super critical.

Still, considering I think there is the usage of cartwheels in the CrossFitKids program, some people may be coming to the CFGymnasticsCert in tandem with CFK and think, "I need to learn how to do a CW".

Unfortunately, the typical CW over panel mat drills aren't as accessible in a cert if there are no panel mats.


wrote …

There's no doubt that gymnastics transfers over to many other activities. Jeff Tucker should not, however, have to convince people that gymnastics training will help their Fran time or max overhead squat. It will, but Crossfitters should understand that gymnastics training is valuable in and of itself.

If we're pursuing elite fitness, then becoming more skillful at controlling our own bodies should be a top priority. An exercise (or workout) does not have to involve a barbell to be worth our time.

Presses to handstand, pirouettes, L-holds, cartwheels, etc. are vital components of Crossfit training just as timed couplets and heavy olympic lifts are. And if you're like me (or most CrossFitters to be honest), then you suck at them. Let's attack our weak points instead of pretending that they don't matter.


wrote …

Russ - thanks for the thoughtful comments. I would not say we were having a conversation per say to convinece anyone. But more to explain what our cert is about and how we can help you attack the weak points and or "suck" as you put... But lets face it - I know for a fact that many out there have fears about what our cert really is about and what are the gains from said cert.

I have written artciles about how such training benefits those in every day life, work, and training. And folks for the most part are getting into the gymnastic movements for those reasons as well, not just for Fran times. Plus this gymnastic stuff is fun and can be done at any age. Just ask the two over 70 folks who attended our certs. ;)


wrote …

I goal is to attend the cert at Practice Crossfit in May. Ever since I saw Tucker work with Annie in the finals of the games for her first muscle up I knew I wanted to do a gymnastics cert if ever given the opportunity. This video just solidified what I've been thinking all along... being better at gymnastics will improve all facets of Crossfit, including olympic lifts. There are plenty of gymnastic movements I suck at and need help with, although as a new trainer I'm even more interested in how to teach the progressions. This cert sounds awesome and I can't wait to (hopefully) get in there and experience it for myself!


wrote …

the assisted hspu with the bands looked interesting, as did the pushups..any article or info on how to set up the bands?


wrote …

Hey Tuck! I'm getting my Level 1 on the 12 and 13 of December which I'm pumped for but I really want to get in one of your gymnastics certs ASAP!!! Are you coming to Florida anytime soon?!?!? I live in Jacksonville and we had a ton of box locations at your disposal!! Please come soon, this is the cert I want the most!!! Thanks!


wrote …

if you can do overhead squat you have enough shoulder flexibility for a cartwheel. small boxes also useful for teaching side cartwheels over. as is a semi circle drawn on ground in chalk.

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