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Continuous Self-Improvement: Incorporating the Benefits of Gymnastics

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The overarching goal of our 4 Legs Fitness model is to continuously improve athletic performance and overall health along our four lines: resistance training, cardio, nutrition and recovery. An important underlying principle is to never stand still but always look for the New and keep on developing and improving yourself. 

What's the deal with gymnastics ?

I recently got more and more interested in gymnastics. I got exposed to it first via Crossfit style training and natural movement oriented approaches. There are a lot of great resources available on the Web. One impressive person in that field is Christopher Sommer, former US national team gymnastics coach and founder of GymnasticBodies. Tim Ferriss ran an excellent podcast with him about the Secrets of Gymnastic Strength Training. Another top resource for gymnastics and calisthenics is FitnessFAQs by Daniel Vadnal. He also runs a Youtube channel

Considering that my goal is to continuously improve my athletic performance and overall health, gymnastics can play a very interesting role in achieving that. It's like Bruce Lee said "absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own."

In order to seriously get into gymnastics and reap the benefits from it, I set myself the goals to be able to do the ring muscle up, strict handstand and handstand walk by the end of 2019. How do I go about it?

Peak: How to Master Almost Anything

Anders Ericsson describes in his book "Peak: How to Master Almost Anything" a method to master or at least become good at any skill. This method has four steps: 

  1. Set a specific goal
  2. Practice with intense focus (more frequent, shorter sessions but with no distraction)
  3. Get immediate feedback from an expert
  4. Constantly push your boundaries beyond your current ability (only by this adaptation will occur)

Hence, in order to learn a new skill effectively, you need to practice purposefully towards a goal and get expert coaching along the way. If you are pressed for time, here is an helpful video summary of the book. In my particular case of achieving my gymnastics goals, I receive my expert coaching from Simon Gibson. He is a very skilled personal trainer focused on gymnastics and injury rehabilitation. He programmed various individual progressions for my specific goals. And I am progressing well. If you are in or around Barcelona, I reach out to him. He also offers remote coaching. 

 

In summary, gymnastics can play a very interesting role in continuously improving athletic performance and overall health. If you incorporate gymnastics in your training, you will not only benefit from improving physical capabilities like coordination, body knowledge, balance, mobility, strength, power or agility but you will also challenge your mental abilities like discipline, attention to detail, alertness, toughness and self-confidence.

 

For more details about the broader and more holistic 4 Legs Fitness concept, check out our book From Healthy to Athletic: How to Master the 4 Ingredients to Superior Fitness.


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