Sunday, 31 July 2016

Gymnastic Bodies Review


An interesting variation for me
I have a few different posts I want to do around gymnastics training but I think the best place to start is an overall review of Gymnastic bodies, the system I have been using for about two and a half years now (I have spoken about why I chose this style of training and some more about my goals here). Currently I have foundations 1 and 2, handstands 1 and the three stretching courses (link to them here). I will layout some pros and cons of each of these and some over all pros and cons. As always, I’m not getting paid for this, not making any money or otherwise.

Foundations

I’m really enjoying the course I have of these; I’m being exposed to a huge range of new progressions for strength, mobility and strength in different ranges of motion. It is an amazingly vast resource but not like other E-book type deals that just show 10 different grips for each normal exercise. It exposes your weaknesses and crushes you with them. In particular most of the starting levels are strength endurance based, which I really struggle with, this is both good and bad. I thought I had quite strong abs yet the simple levels were a struggle for me, but I get a little stronger every week and I’m still enjoying the basics over two years on, and still progressing. The course is set up to slowly build to some very impressive feats as a side effect of incredibly strong abs. On the other side I found it extremely difficult to progress with the bent arm strength elements, since I’m not really built for strength endurance I struggled to make progress. I ended up sneaking in some extra strength work to help me along, but I will expand on that in another post. I think this attention to strength endurance will really pay off later, but it is still a major struggle for someone like me who does better on something like 3-5 reps. (Maybe I’m just crying about being a unique snowflake). Where I have broken into more strength work (passed the strength endurance phase) I am flying through getting stronger and loving it.

Not a bounce down and back, this is a sustained hold
Now a note about my slow progress. The forum which you get access to when you buy the program is a pretty good resource with helpful coaches who will do a form check for you. I really haven’t utilised this at all, and I have spent a long time spinning my wheels because of that. I really have no one to blame but myself that. I am also planning a post about some of the hurdles in gymnastic training.

Handstands

This one looks amazing but I’m stuck not being able to progress due to a lack of shoulder mobility. Now part of this is what I mentioned before about not utilising the form checks, for instance I was using a 5-7kg bar for one of the movements, which was really much too heavy. If I have asked on the forum I probably would have switched to a lighter bar much sooner and been able to make progress but I didn’t, I spun my wheels for 6 months or more and made no progress. Now using a 2.5kg bar my mobility is progressing slowly, but well. For me with tight shoulders I really can’t do many of the exercises and progress, which is annoying, but it points out a huge hole that I need to work on. Foundations also has something like this where one of the elements requires quite a bit of mobility which is taking me a long time to gain (more on this in my post about hurdles in gymnastics training).

Stretch

Now a cynic might say that the mobility blocks in foundations and handstands are just to sell the stretch courses, I don’t believe this, but buying the courses is defiantly helping to accelerate my progress. Now you could buy someone else’s mobility course, or just do your own stretching, but for myself I had no idea where to start so buying these courses seemed like a good place to start. They have been really good in that someone tells me exactly what to do, how long to do it and how often, this is great for me. It is also set up quite well in that it builds up slowly so you can drop out when you can no longer keep up; this is kind of good and bad. The way the scaling in shown isn’t great (in my opinion for what it’s worth), that said I find within a few sessions you can do more and more of the work until you can work on everything in a reasonable manner.

Cost

Yes, these courses are somewhat expensive, but I would say they are either on par with or slightly cheaper than similar alternative programs. I think they are worth spending the money on, not just for someone like me using it as my main training, but for most people who either train themselves or train others. I think if you got just one good piece of information per course which you then added to your own training, or someone else’s, it would be worth the money. One piece that pushes you further or that you use over and over; you will likely find more, but just one should be enough. (I might write another post on this, maybe focusing on seminar type learning).

Again, not bouncing down, but a sustained hold
So to wrap up

Foundations: Really good, but you might need to sneak some strength work in if strength endurance isn’t your thing. Also you might need more mobility.

Handstand: Looks like if will be great but you need some serious shoulder mobility.

Stretch: I really like and recommend this program, it will probably be the single biggest factor in speeding up your progress. Now you don’t have to buy this course, but I think you need a really serious plan that you stick to, could be this, could be something else, could be your own, but you have to work on it.

Overall: I think the price is totally worth it and I started buying these when money was really tight for me. Also you have to stretch.

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