So the last two weeks I have mentioned ways in which crossfitters and weightlifters could benefit from stealing elements of each other's training. But today I have something that athletes in both should do to get better. What in the world could benefit both? A squat cycle? A specific exercise? Mobility? Come on Derek we’ve heard it all. Some of you may have heard about this, some of you may not, and others may find solace in the fact that someone else feels the same way you do.
What I’m talking about is gymnastics. And basic gymnastics movements, at that. Not muscle ups, back uprises, handstand pushups or toe to bar. I will not tell you to stop these if you already can complete them cleanly. I am talking about exercises that force you to learn how to hold your body properly.
I have been training and coaching in gyms for 15 years at this point, from your basic Gold’s Gym, to sports performance gyms, to Crossfit gyms, to strictly weightlifting gyms and stopped in at a whole bunch of others along the way. I can honestly say that I love all of these types of gyms for what they offer, because at some point in my life I would have fit whatever mold they build. But at all of these gyms I can tell you only a very limited few (probably less that 1%) had incredible body control. At each one of these gyms these people with body control ended up being the strongest and most sturdy individuals.
Okay, body control is nice but are the cons to training it. When done properly it is not tremendously stressful to your joints nor is it overly taxing. This allows you to add it in daily to your warm up of accessory work, and allow you to develop it over time. But done improperly, you’re looking at a great chance of injury or best case scenario a not so effective ability to control your body. So the biggest down fall is finding someone who knows how to do it. Gymnasticbodies.com has no doubt the best progressive program to developing body control. That being said, neither I nor IronRx are affiliated with GB in any way, and we receive nothing in return for mentioning this. I have done some research into gymnastic programs and found GB through that research. It was created by former USA Olympic Gymnastics Coach Christopher Sommer, and it is a complete and comprehensive program.
But incase you cannot afford the programs there, or don't want to (silly choice) there are some well known movements you can do on your own, each and everyday to slowly build up your body control and ability to lift weights.
Partial Hollow Holds: 3x20seconds
Hollow Body Inchworms: 3x5
Russian Twist: 3x8e
Side Plank w/ Rotation 3x10e
Turkish Get Up: 3x5e
Z Press 3x8
Handstand Holds 3x20sec
(Incline) Hollow Pushup 3x6
The beautiful part of following something like this is that you can simply add in one movement from each section and begin to build the ability to control your pelvis, the rigidity of your core, and the stability of your shoulders.
Now obviously these are incredibly simple and basic exercises but unless you put in the time and effort everyday for three months with the very basics you will not be able to progress to the next level of movements. Remember that you are not going to sustain high volume and high intensity training if you cannot put your body where it needs to be. Eventually fatigue and poor movement will take its toll unless you do something about it preemptively.