Strict Before Kip

Today was a great day to work on ring muscle up progressions, and I think most of us (if not all) found an area in our gymnastics skills that we need to work on. And, hopefully you took that newfound acknowledgement with determination, and will start to chip away at those areas of need in order to get those elusive ring muscle ups.

Now, here’s a story, of a Coach named Kara, who was trying for her very first muscle up. All she worked on were kipping pull ups, and never strict or controlled.

Here’s a story, of an injury waiting, and after two years her rotator quit. It was pissed off and badly inflamed, and she was the only one to blame.

Now this story has a happy ending, because Coach Kara finally learned how to do strict. She was stronger, and even smarter, and that’s the way she became a Jedi Knight. A Jediiii Knight. A Jedi Knight. That’s the way she became a Jedi Knight! ;-)

For those of you who may not get it by now (Or, may not even know of the show itself), that was written to the tune of “The Brady Bunch” song. Yes, I am a proud nerd.

In all seriousness, though, about 6 years ago I injured my shoulder during “Fran.” It was two years of accumulation waiting to happen. I never did any strict gymnastics work, and I took for granted how quickly I progressed in CrossFit. By the end of my first year, I was competing with my gym and trying out for the CF Games Team. Problem was, I kipped EEEEEEEEVERYTHING.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

So, I had to learn the hard way.

On that fateful day after “Fran,” my shoulder snapped and I had a sharp, stabbing pain for weeks. I finally got an ultrasound and x-rays, and thankfully nothing was torn, BUT it was so horribly inflamed that the doctor said it would have probably been better to have torn it. Haha, yikes.

It took over a year (almost a year and a half, actually) for my shoulder to heal. That’s an entire year of modifications. Frustrating, to say the least. So, I completely understand and empathize when any of you are experiencing a similar stage in your journey.

During that year, I was forced to do everything strict. It was the only way I could do any kind of fitness without pain, and without inflaming my shoulder any further. Of course, in hindsight now, it was the one of the BEST things to ever happen to me. A blessing in disguise.

I Googled and YouTubed everything possible to modify and work on strict gymnastics. Imagine an entire year of only strict gymnastics…

Now, here’s the super cool thing. When I was FIIIIIIINALLY able to do a workout, I re-did “Fran” as a big F-YOU to her. I was understandably nervous about doing it. Gun-shy, even. I didn’t want to re-injure myself and take any steps back. After the first 21 Thrusters, I hesitated at the pull up rig. After a few deep breaths, I jumped up and started kipping pull ups to get a feel for it, but after just 5 reps, I switched to butterfly and HOLY MOLY IT FELT AHHHH-MAZING! I felt like I was floating. I did the entire set unbroken and wasn’t even winded. A bit in disbelief. Then, I did the 15 unbroken, easily. The 9 were a joke by then. I felt like IronWoman. So, I tested it further and went for a ring muscle up. Felt easy. So, I tried another one, then another, then another, and I ended up doing 12 unbroken. Dude, what was going on?!?!?!

That’s when it all clicked.

Strict BEFORE Kip.

We have been programmed and trained to believe in the lie and glamour of quick results - “I lost 50 pounds in just 2-weeks! I got my first ring muscle up in only 21-days! I lost the baby-weight and got back into my old jeans in just two months! I was back into the gym in 5-days after surgery!”

Everything is a race.

Health and fitness shouldn’t be a race, though. Especially since there is no real destination. Remember, our one and only destination is death. While we are still lucky enough to be here, each moment is just a continuation of our journey. Fitness is a journey.

Start where you are with what you have, and build your foundation brick by brick.

The ol’ saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is perfectly applicable to this - Your body is truly a temple that you are building (or destroying) each day. If you try to rush production with cheap drywall and duct tape, your buildings will eventually collapse.

Build your temple, one brick at a time.

Kara PurvesComment