Gymnastics Seminar with Carl Paoli

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to travel to Flagstaff, AZ and attend a Gymnastics Seminar with Carl Paoli…Carl who, you may ask? Carl Paoli is a former elite level gymnast turned CrossFit coach. He also coached Anne Thorisdottir to both of her Games victories in 2011 and 2012. So I went into Saturday thinking I might become the next Iceland Annie….ok maybe not but I was just hoping to learn, fine tune my gymnastics movements-handstand push ups and muscle ups specifically. However, when all was said and done-I learned more about simple human movement patters than just gymnastics. As Carl said in the first hour, learning gymnastics is great but “we have to first learn the movements so we can move to learn”.

The seminar consisted of reviewing basic human movement-its position and purpose. In CrossFit we use the word functional movement ALOT but what is functional movement? Functional movements are safe, natural and compound in nature as well as being efficient. So in the seminar we worked on push ups and then the progression of handstand push ups, pistols and rolling pistols, the no false grip muscle up progression, BURPEES and rope climbs. I know many of you are thinking how is being on your head or doing a stupid burpee natural? Well, you may not think your body wants to go upside but it is a natural movement for you body. Burpees may seem stupid however break down the movements-push up-natural? Check! Jump-natural? Check! Those are really all a burpee is with a small transition movement in between….the snap from the bottom to top which done efficiently is really just standing up-natural? check! Sorry to disappoint you guys but burpees are good for us!

When all was said and done I feel like I walked away with a few things to work on personally and a lot of things to show our members. I found out that even though I am good at pistols-I am not that efficient at them. Will I change the way I do pistols? Probably not but at least I can teach them properly to you. I learned that my burpees can be more efficient and if we hadn’t just done the 7 minute burpee workout, I might try his more efficient version but oh darn-maybe in a month or so. Carl’s muscle up progression is awesome, not only because it breaks the movement down into three easy steps but it does so without relying on the false grip which although helps get into the muscle up, it makes it very hard to string together big sets. I am working on putting together a muscle up seminar in the next month so keep an eye out for that.

Lastly, the one thing that stood out the most was there is no wrong or right way to move, but there is a safe and efficient way. Make sure your movement goes from start to finish and through the transition phase as safely and efficiently as possible. The safer and more efficient movers win-look at Annie and Rich Froning…great movers and BIG winners! So who is going to step up to move like Annie and Rich???

Start with our running seminar this Saturday at Track practice as an expert in running comes out and leads us through some simple running technique and mechanics. Nathan Hohensteiin from the Tortoise and the Hare will be with us this Saturday-don’t miss it!