It’s Not Too Late to Improve Your Gymnastics Before the Season Starts Says Dave Durante

December 21, 2022 by
Photo credit: Provided by Dave Durante
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We’re just 56 days away from the start of the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open (not that we’re counting), and if that reminder makes your palms sweat because you’re still not proficient on a pull-up bar or comfortable upside-down, you’re not alone. But have no fear—Dave Durante, co-owner of Power Monkey Fitness and multiple-time USA Gymnastics National Champion, assured us that it’s better late than never to prepare for the gymnastics components that we’re sure to see programmed.

“What we recommend is instead of trying to anticipate a particular movement that may or may not happen… I think a better way to approach it, especially as an athlete who wants to become more proficient with gymnastics movements, is to stick around what we call within Power Monkey (Fitness) the ‘phase one’ of skill development,” Durante suggests. “Phase one is (focused) around creation of good body shapes; can I create the body shapes that I need for higher skill development?”

Durante continued, that when creating solid, consistent body positions, there are two fundamental pieces to consider: core strength and mobility.

“And when we say core, (that’s) everything that encompasses your midline, not just your abs: hip flexors, obliques, lateral and rotational work, as well as posterior chain,” Durante said. “That should be something that’s done five to ten minutes every day.”

In both core building and mobility work, Durante encouraged us to not stress the time spent each day, but rather the consistency. For example, if you’re currently doing a long mobility session only on Saturdays but not at all the rest of the week, you might yield better results by doing a shorter session several days a week instead. 

As you anticipate the movements destined to be thrown our way throughout the three weeks of tests come February, lean more on building really good foundational movement, rather than the specific exercises themselves.

“There are so many things that you can be exposed to or be thrown at you that you don’t want to be limiting yourself into this one little funneled area unless you know it’s a particular weakness for yourself individually. But everyone’s different in that case,” Durante pointed out.

“So, what we try to do is say, ‘What’s the broadest base we can set for ourselves to allow us to apply that to anything that might be thrown at us? How can we prepare ourselves in the most complete way possible so that no matter what we’re exposed to, we are ready to go and prepare for it?… Obviously, if you’re limited or weak in a particular area, there you can spend more time, but it doesn’t need to be taking up a majority of your workout.”

In short, if you need us until February 16th, we’ll be doing lots of hollow holds, arch holds, kip swings and mobility—and then hoping for the best. 

Photo credit: Provided by Dave Durante

In last week’s Coffee Break Conversation with Durante, he also shared his number one cue for getting your first ring muscle-up, the mental side of gymnastics and more.

To watch the replay, tune in here—exclusive to Rx members.

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