Gymnastics is one of the three foundational modalities of CrossFit. If gymnastics movements are performed properly, they influence every aspect of your life and have a dramatic effect on your fitness. Gymnastics assist in development of many of the 10 components of fitness: accuracy, agility, balance, coordination, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, power, speed, strength, and stamina. Nothing beats gymnastics in terms of developing the four neurological components of the 10: coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. Furthermore, gymnastics training produces impressive strength gains without requiring an external load.

Gymnastics is a cornerstone of CrossFit, along with weightlifting and monostructural metabolic-conditioning (or just “monostructural”) movements. It is an essential element in the Theoretical Hierarchy of Development of an athlete, the CrossFit “pyramid”. The hierarchy reflects foundational dependency and time ordering of development as follows: nutrition, cardiovascular efficiency, body control, external-object control, and sport-specific application. According to the hierarchy, you can only maximize competency in one category if you have laid the foundation in the category before it. This hierarchy puts a larger emphasis on gymnastics proficiency – body control– before weight training and sport.

Strength is required for proper form, and proper form is required to demonstrate body control. As such, gymnastics has a clear emphasis on strength in body-weight movements. More than anything else, strict form establishes mastery in a movement, and for this reason we promote strict movement before we apply momentum. The strength gains from mastering the strict movements are well worth the effort, and the possibility of injury is reduced substantially when strict movements are practiced first. Small moves will bring great rewards. You do not rush these movements. You learn them and earn them!

Excerpt from the CrossFit Gymnastics Seminar packet.