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All Posts By

Andrew Stemler

Some foundational work for gymnastic strength

There are many secrets to achieving those sort after gymnastic skills that we all want. There is, obviously, lots of specific work and regular practice. That you’ll do in our regular classes, supported by our teachers. Crucially, however, the human flag, the lever, the planche, the muscle up  and the handstand all require a super conditioned core.

If you want to human flag at parties to impress your friends, or pop up into a handstand to impress, well, everyone, you need  a rock solid core.

The side planks, the hollow hold and the arch hold are essential daily practice. Build up to: getting the full move, then build to  90 seconds in each move, then aspire to achieve 3 sets of 90 seconds.

the foundation of gymnastic strength. A strong core

Our gymnastic strength classes will give you all the regular skills and drills you’ll ever need, but you need to support this with home practice.

Check out our Gymnastic Strength and Adult Tumbling classes  in Bethnal Green E2 click here

Back tuck secrets

By the time you walk into a nightclub and throw a near perfect back truck, you will have spent an awful long time on learning, developing and practicing it. To back tuck, you need a great jump, a great tuck in the air and a rock solid landing. These things all take time and repetitive practice.

That’s the secret.

The problem is everyone thinks this is easy, so most do not approach the subject with consistent intention: you must think in terms of  throwing 10-30 safe back tucks each session and support this by building underpinning drills and skills.

At our Crossfit London adult gymnastic classes in Bethnal Green E2 we try and make sure that the core skills are supported and rehearsed in skill based, but condition building, circuits, like this one: You’ll notice we want to get a nice tall jump, a great snap and tuck, and a solid landing.

Once we have looked at bits of the skill, we give our clients the opportunity to try the whole skill in safety, and in a variety of different ways. As with all sports, progressive practice is the key. You’ll notice the use of a close spot and support in the air.

You can check out our adult gymnastic classes here:

Basics: the common theme in Adult Tumbling.

At our adult gymnastic classes in Bethnal Green E2, we try and get our clients to perform 5 moves: The back and front handspring, the back and front tuck along with the round off.

Whilst we have lots of safe set ups to allow you to have a go at the whole skill, it’s crucial for your training that we develop lots of mini skill circuits. You have to practice the basics as well as do the fun stuff

So,  here is an example of a mini circuit, part of our preparation to develop your  back handspring  in Crossfit London’s  adult Tumbling sessions. Enjoy them. They are building your basics.  Basics build long term success.

Each week we have tumbling  classes on Friday evening and Sunday, early afternoon.

Adult Gymnastics: learning the back tuck

Since 2008, we have been teaching adults how to tumble in our adult gymnastic classes.  We have a wonderful  8000 sq ft facility four minutes from Bethnal Green tube station in London E2.

One of the moves that our adult gymnasts want is the back tuck. Which is great. It’s not over complex, but its performance is often interrupted by fear.

Obviously the learning process begins with the backward roll and is developed by various jump and tuck drills. As with all tumbling the stronger the jump, the better the move. The only draw back is that fear makes most people:

a) cut the jump short
b) throw their heads back
c) open way to early

This back tuck drill (once rehearsed a bit) makes the learner independent of the teacher, offers safe support if it all goes wrong, but crucially, allows the learner to build confidence

For more information about our tumbling, and gymnastic strength classes , where we teach you how to  perform the front and back lever, nail the handstand  and start work on the human flag , do check out our information page. You may also note that there is a free trial on at the moment!

Build your shoulder mobility to improve your snatch.

Once you discover the Olympic lifts, they do become a bit of a personal challenge.

Your job,  in partnership with your Crossfit london Coach, is to pick apart your strength, flexibility, agility and technique to achieve the best performance you can. The snatch is simply where these attributes combine.

However, there is one common limiter that many share when they try and achieve a good over head position in the snatch. Poor shoulder mobility.

Ive seen awesome athletes from combat, rugby and Crossfit , unpicked by  the challenge of overhead mobility.

As a massage therapist I can suggest numerous drills that allegedly deal with this issue. I personally feel they all take second place to the dislocation. Any stretch that attempts to mirror the position you want to achieve, I believe, trumps a generic stretch or therapy drill. That said a if you attempt to get the position you want AND throw in lots of stretching and mobility too, I think thats a recipe for success.

So let me recommend this procedure/drill called a Shoulder Dislocation, and no, you don’t  actually dislocate your shoulder! Buy a pole and improve your overhead position.

Some Olympic weightlifting science

Over the next year I want to try and consolidate all of the present research on the Olympic lifts on the CFLDN blog, so all those Olympic Lifters at Crossfit London in  Bethnal Green E2  can benefit. As reports surface (or I find old ones) I’ll post the title here along with a review of the conclusion.

Whilst reading any articles I write on the olympic lifts, do try and sink into a deep overhead squat.

Just for the novelty.

A fair warning though. I’ll be sharing the ideas of others. Some may be  accurate, others not so. The hope is that it will begin to inform your thinking and get you to critically reflect on your performance. It is , in reality, all about you.

I’ll reference, but I’ll probably not go the full Harvard route ( I’m getting lazy as I age)

So, let’s start with: The Snatch Technique of World Class Weightlifters at the 1985 World Championships. Baumann, et al.

This study used 3D  film ( ah, the time before mobile phones)  and measured ground reaction forces in the 1985 world championships in Sweden. The most interesting discovery was that knee joint movements are fairly small (1/3rd of the hip joint moments ) and do not correlate well with the total load. Better lifts actively control their knee movements.

The report identifies the point at which the lifter drops under the bar to be the most important and technically most difficult . It’s interesting to note that the trajectory of the bar  comes in towards the lifter. Many coaches emphasise bringing the hips to the bar.

It was noted that the movement ends with a jump backwards under the barbell. This has been noted by Garhammer(1985) and Vorobyev(1978) who thought it was  a fault. It was also noted that the pull brought the bar to approx 60% of the lifters stature.

Catalyst athletics offers these pointers about a possible back jump:

“My rules for whether or not a backward jump is acceptable are pretty simple:

  • The body, feet and barbell must all travel backward equally.
  • The body and bar must remain in close proximity during the backward movement.
  • The lifter must receive the lift in a solid, balanced position without a need for compensation or adjustment
  • It must be something the lifter has arrived at naturally, i.e. it’s not an intentional technical style”

Interesting!!

So check out some Garhammer thoughts  in Weightlifting and Training(chapter 5) in Biomechanics of Sport

This is quite a comprehensive (review) chapter and  he identifies  these  three characteristics in better lifters

1 ) faster movements

2)  body extension during the pull

3)  lower peak bar height relative to body size

But enough of talking about pulls and snatches  and what goes where. Below is an extract from Tommy Kono’s book showing successful and unsuccessful pull heights and the trajectory of the bar during the snatch. Notice the S pull!

We will talk S pulls in other articles!

 

 

A final word from Garhammer in .Barbell Trajectory, velocity and power changes and four world records

This study took place at the 1999 junior world weightlifting championships). The aim was to support the concept of using sub-maximal training lifts to increase power output. The paper concludes that 75% -85% of 1 RM is best to produce maximal power output.

New cafe opportunity in Bethnal Green E2

Crossfit London has created a  world-class venue in Bethnal Green E2: most of the difficult building decisions have now been made, which has given us some time to consider the finer details that will really make us one of the best training facilities in London.

Not only do we have world-class training facilities, but we have dedicated an entire arch towards changing room, shop and cafe facilities. With a large membership base, we are looking for the right company/person to join us in this unique space as we relaunch Crossfit London.

What are we looking for?

Simply put,  we have the facilities for a hot food kitchen and ideally are looking for a company that can provide a small but great brunch menu. The local area is lacking in healthy options and we will maximise our member’s training by providing nutritious options throughout the day. The party involved must be able to provide coffee and shakes as standard.

Who are we?

We are the first Crossfit Gym outside of the United States, the first in London, and the 9th oldest box in the entire world. There is a history here and we would like to become the first in London to have a dedicated cafe space as well. This gym is here to lead the way and we plan to do that with not only our team of coaches and our beautiful facilities but our approach to nutrition as well.

Who may apply?

If you are a passionate entrepreneur in the food business, who is looking for a new outlet, we want to hear from you. Ideally, we would like a company that is already established but as a small thriving business, we understand that sometimes you take a chance on the little guy. Most importantly we are looking for a synergistic relationship, this won’t be a relationship based off you pay us rent, this is a journey that we are all in together.

We are not looking to make Crossfit London something you simply stumble upon,  but a destination you plan your day around.

I’m too old for tumbling and gymnastics

To be a competitive gymnast, 2 years old is too late to start.

Actually, you probably need to be born into a gymnastics family and weened at the side of a tumble pit to be world class.

That obvious, but sucks for us normal people who fancy having a  back tuck, a handstand or a back handspring.

Why should being 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60, be a reason not to get loads of fun from a tumbling session.

Ok, let’s be honest! If you start late, you probably are not going to the Olympics. But stuff the Olympics, wouldn’t it be so cool to do a standing back tuck, a  handspring or a handstand.

Well, we have been teaching adults how to back tuck, handstand, bridge and do lots of cool stuff since 2008. We have invested in the specific equipment to make it safe, and we have the drills and skills to help you achieve these skills.

But you cannot just rock up to our level 2 tumbling classes and expect to throw a back tuck: you need to forward and back roll, handstand and learn how to jump. Really, so much of gymnastics and tumbling is about jumping.
That’s what we teach in our level 1 tumbling class, and starting next Sunday we have scheduled an extra level 1 class at 1 pm at railway Arch 3  Gales Gardens E2 0EJ, for the whole of June.

The aim of our level 1 classes is to get you basic skills and get you to our level 2 classes ASAP. Some will do 1 lesson, others 4 or 5. The teacher will guide you.

Stop dreaming, start living: BOOK NOW

Click Here

Andrew's letter to the gymnastic kids


Once again, well-done gymnastic kids
We need you to bring enthusiasm, energy, brightness and a sense of fun to our sessions.
YOU BROUGHT IT!
In future years,  as you grow and mature, people, employers and friends will value the energy you bring. Never lose your love for life. Some may try and take it from you. Don’t ever let them!
So today, we let you play  “let see how can you travel down the tumble track”. Some walked, some bounced, some did a handspring, some landed on their bottoms.
All a great opportunity to think, and practice how to move from one place to another.
Then we asked you ” design your own warm up” and you as a group  suggested  a “run down the carpet, cartwheel, up the track, hop down the carpet ( 1 leg), then forward roll, up the track, hop R up the carpet, then backwards roll, then jump up the carpet and kick to handstand.
It’s a great start, and you put that together as a group.
Well done!
Let’s think about what a warm-up is! It’s about preparing you for the work to come. If you were going to run, you would walk, then jog, then run. So think about how we can improve this?
Here are some questions.
How can we prepare your wrists? Straight to cartwheel seems a bit harsh. How could you get from one side of the track without all your weight on your hands (hint. Bear crawl/ Spiders)
What moves do we need in gymnastics? Obviously the moves you have come to learn, but they all depend on key moves. What comes before most moves? ( Hint A big step/  A  lunge)
When we jump, is that it?   In gymnastics, it’s never a just a jump. You have to jump, then do something. Ever thought of jumping and using those basic shapes we use in the shape game?  Jump into a tuck, jump into a star, jump into a straddle,   jump into a straight shape.
Next week, we will look again at the warm-up you want to do.
I’m excited about what you will bring to that lesson.
 

Kids will bend over backwards to get gymnastic skills

Gymnastics and tumbling is such a super cool skill for your kids to have : it often starts with the back bridge  and that often builds into the back walk over and the back handstand spring.
We have great fun every Thursday in Bethnal Green E2, teaching kids to retain and improve their flexibility, while at the same time, getting them to bounce , jump and tumble: as you can see we get them to bend over backwards too.
If you’d like your child (7-12) to join our weekly  Tumbling classes at our Bethnal Green, E2 gym,  checkout our tumbling page here