Dave Durante, former USA World Champion Gymnast, now coaches gymnastics to crossfitters all across the world. If you simply Google or YouTube his name, you will find countless articles and videos he has published on actionable things you and I can do to become better gymnasts.
In a podcast recorded in 2016, Durante was asked what gym goers could do everyday to become better gymnasts. His response had three points:
- Core-specific exercises.
- More flexibility work.
- Handstand work.
If you’re working out every day, Durante recommends doing something for your “core” every day. Your core includes your abs, erectors, hip flexors, glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
The GHD machine is perhaps the greatest piece of equipment for this. On the GHD machine, I would prioritize these four exercises: back extensions, hip extensions, back and hip extensions, and GHD sit-ups.
More Flexibility Work
You simply can’t get into proper positions if you aren’t flexible enough — it’s as simple as that. For example, if you can’t overhead squat with your heels staying on the ground, you won’t ever maximize your squat snatch.
Gymnastics is no different. Toes-to-bar, handstands, and muscle-ups won’t ever be optimized until you have enough range of motion. What you do for stretching is not as important as doing something for stretching.
Spend five minutes a day just stretching something.
You don’t necessarily have to get upside down every day in order to work on your handstands. There are a handful of exercises that you can do standing upright or even laying horizontally on the ground.
The number of exercises here are innumerable to list, but the focus should be on getting long in a hollow-body position.
You probably have big eyes and a small stomach when it comes to gymnastics (I know I do). What I mean by this is there are so many movements that you want to learn and practice, but you only spend a few hours a week inside the gym.
Be smart about how you approach your training. The workout is your main course. These three pieces to get better at gymnastics are simply dessert after the WOD.