The concept of the following post is not my idea. I saw it somewhere and can not remember where or to whom to give proper credit. Whoever deserves the kudos for it, thank you!

So who got trumped in the Open by handstand push ups and muscle ups? A load of people no doubt. Who frantically asked their coach how to kip these movements twenty minutes before they tried the workout? Also a load of people no doubt.

Imagine the same conversation you would have with your coach if the Open workout, or any workout to be fair, contained a 300kg deadlift. ‘Coach I’m not strong enough to do that yet, can you show me a way I can use momentum and violent hip extension to lift it?’

Obviously that conversation wouldn’t happen, for many, many reasons, but mainly because we all have the acceptance of our strength limitations with regards to everything other than gymnastics. When gymnastics comes into the frame we all look for that shortcut, the kipping variant, that might allow us to do the movement.

Bubble burst: if you don’t have a strict movement, kipping isn’t the answer. Kipping is a process we use to allow us to achieve more work in a shorter time frame. It allows us to work at a higher capacity than a strict movement would. A concept I often use is that kipping is an expression of fitness, not a development of fitness, that’s what strict work is for.

With strength work, progressions and consistency we can work towards strict gymnastics movements. Once we can do multiple big sets of strict we can learn and then use a kip.

So why do we all look for the shortcut over the strength work. We all have an understanding over our ability in regards to most things. If I asked one of my athletes to squat double their one rep max back squat they would hopefully say they couldn’t. If I asked why not they would most likely reply, ‘because I’m not strong enough’. So we know our limit and we don’t assume their is a small technical adjustment we could be taught to suddenly double our squat. We accept that we need to incrementally increase the load we lift and slowly progress towards increasing our strength.

Enter the muscle up. How many of us have spent time trying to get the movement with a kip without spending any time on the strict. How many of us have concluded we aren’t strong enough to do strict so have tried to learn to kip it instead?

The same can be said for handstand push ups, A-frame work, toes to bar and ring dips. We never just go, ‘I’m not strong enough’ and utilise progressions and gradual overload to get stronger.

So, how do we progress?

Take a step back, identify the weakness and work the progressions. Negatives, assisted, accessory work with barbells and dumbbells and drilling the basics. Albert Einstein is believed to have said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.’ Don’t bring that to your gymnastics game, get strong instead!