Why Are Gymnastics So Hard?

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At the gym our goal is progress- we want to get better, get fitter, feel our bodies move differently, lose or gain weight (or stay the same!) and generally see things change over time. You work hard to make progress, our coaches work hard to give you the roadmap, and our systems, from BTWB to Goal Review Sessions, are designed with your progress in mind. It’s fairly easy to see progress in some areas, and we try and serve up consistent reminders and touchpoints about your progress over the course of weeks, months, and years. In some things, progress is incredibly self-evident- benchmark workouts, barbell lifts, and single distance rows, runs, etc. are all easy snapshots of progress. Gymnastics work is the big outlier- it can feel incredibly hard to progress, to get your first pushup, pullup, or muscle-up, and sometimes that lack of progress can feel like failure.Why is that? It all lies in incrementalism- the small, almost unnoticeable changes by degree that eventually lead to big results. Barbell training is inherently incremental- you lift a certain weight, and the next time you come in, you lift just a little bit more. We have plates at the gym in units as small as 1/4 a pound for just that reason! Benchmark workouts are also easily understood by increment- if you have a 6 minute (or 360 second) Fran time, and you PR with a 5:30 time, that’s a big deal, but it’s also an incremental increase- roughly 9% faster than before.It can be very hard to find ways to make your gymnastics training incremental. The difference between a banded pullup and strict pullup can feel like a Grand Canyon-wide gulf. It doesn’t have to be that way! First, just by reading this post, and understanding the difference in quality between gymnastic and other movements, I hope you can give yourself a little credit for the work you’ve done- even if there’s a long way to go. Second, there are specific ways to incrementalize gymnastics, which is exactly what you need to do to reach your goals. Think of a movement you feel stuck on- maybe you are doing a scaled option that feels easy, but the “RX” option is eluding you. can you be more creative about a scale that falls somewhere between your tried and true scale and the “real thing?” Or maybe you can do a small handfull of a movement (pullups, hspu, etc.) but not enough to incorporate them in a workout. well, start by doing 5 sets of 2 (aka 2-2-2-2-2) and once that’s doable increase just the first set (3-2-2-2-2.) if you can do that, next time do 3-3-2-2-2 and so on until you can do 5 sets of 3, then increase to 4-3-3-3-3 and so on. It may seem like just a little, but the difference between 2-2-2-2-2 and 3-2-2-2-2 is roughly 10%- the same difference you’d be head over heels about when you cut your 6 minute fran to 5:30.Lastly, understand that this can be complicated, and you’re not alone- we’re here to help you. if you feel like you have a goal that you can tackle, our coaches can write you a program, train you privately, or otherwise act as resources to get you where you want to go. don’t hesitate to reach out!