The Gears of the Gymnastics Motor: Static Positioning

One of the most emphasized aspects of artistic gymnastics is also one of the most widely overlooked in competitive fitness gymnastics. We’re talking about static body positioning.

In gymnastics, there are descriptive terms for a variety of common positions of the core, arms and legs including: arch, hollow, tuck, pike, straddle, stalder, lunge, ‘puck’, ‘cowboy’, blocked out, lever, planche, plank, pressed out, etc.

All of these terms and innumerable other variations are combined to create common body positions. These positions form the building blocks of gymnastics skills and successful manipulation of the body in space.

Common Positions Trained in Fitness Gymnastics

These positions should be recognized

  1. At the start of a skill
  2. When your body moves through them in the middle of a skill
  3. At the end of a skill

For example, a strict muscle-up starts in a false grip hollow hang, moves through the bottom of a dip (deep ring support), and ends up in a straight arm ring support.

The parallette ‘shoot-through’ starts in a plank, passes through a planche and tuck support, and then ends up in a reverse plank.

A handstand push-up starts in a hollow body handstand, moves into a headstand, and then back into a hollow body handstand.

A kipping toes-to-bar starts in an arch, moves through a hollow into a pike (and lever pull), and then goes back down. We could go on and on.

Why Work Static Positioning?

We work static positioning for two reasons.

First, if you want to be able to get through gymnastics movements effectively, you need to recognize when your body is in each of these positions.

In this way, you learn new skills faster and can modify movements more effectively. I.e. your coach says “tuck tighter” or “get hollow” or “press-out” and your body says, “I know what that feels like so that’s easy.”

Second, you need to be strong in those positions.

If you are not aware of what the position feels like and do not have the muscle memory and local muscle endurance to hold the position, then you will find yourself unstable.

Subsequently, you will either fall out and fail or you will use way too much accessory and unnecessary muscle movement to complete these skills.

How We Effectively Train Static Positioning

First off, you must identify your common positions. In our Brute Gymnastics Program, our athletes spend a lot of time getting into the basic positions on all apparatus commonly used in CrossFit including rings, bar, parallettes, and floor.

We hold recognized positions that are in the beginning, middle and end of our tested movements including deep ring support, ring support, false grip hang, handstand, headstand, bar lever, bar pike, parallete L sit/tuck sit, hollow/arch hold on floor, hollow/arch hold on bar etc.

Our hold and rest times vary and increase incrementally with athlete growth and progress. And we get very, very good results. You can learn more about this in our FREE Gymnastics Video Series.

We haven’t invented anything new, we are simply big believers in implementing tried and true practices that have stood the test of time, and are known to work in gymnastics training.

The second thing that we do is hold with virtuosity.

If we are taking an L-sit for example, our athletes may be able to hold longer with sloppy form (shrugged shoulders, bent legs, letting the triceps relax so the hips fall back), but we prefer good artistic gymnastics form (pushed out shoulders, straight legs, pushing out through the triceps to keep the hips forward).

You’ll notice in our featured image, that our athlete, Brooke, is demonstrating a perfect example of that virtuous active position.

The reason we train for virtuosity in static positions is the same reason you train to front squat more than you can squat clean.

You want to train to be stronger than required for your goals. If you can hold an L-sit for one minute with the proper form, then holding in a more relaxed position during competition is cake. Furthermore, the shoulder, tricep, and core strength you develop training for virtuosity will transfer over to many more endeavors.

How You Can Use Static Strength to Finally Get Your First Ring Muscle-Up or PR Your 30 Muscle-Ups For Time

With competition season gearing back up, some of you may be dreading the inevitable “Ring Muscle-Up Open Workout.”

We see it time and time again. Athletes wait until the last minute to dial in or acquire a skill like the ring muscle-up and wonder why they walk away disappointed with their performance.

This movement not only requires a substantial amount of skill development but even more requisite strength.

And guess what…strength takes time to develop.

Luckily for you, we’ve got the most comprehensive Ring Muscle-Up Program on web.

This Ebook includes plenty of static strength progressions to build rock-solid positioning for beautiful and efficient muscle-ups.

Avoid waiting until the last minute and start building strength and ironing out your weaknesses now.

With over 60 pages of content, 70+ video tutorials, and our proven step-by-step approach to mastering ring muscle-ups, you can get ahead of the curve and build capacity on the rings in time for the upcoming CrossFit Open. Click here to check it out.