A Beginner Movement

A read an article the other day that really has me thinking. Of course, I can’t remember the title, nor have I been able to find it again. But summarizing it will be no problem! This article was questioning how the muscle up came to be the “ultimate” in crossfit movements.

I can see you scrunching your face right now because this blog is called Scaled to Perfection and the title of this post is A Beginner Movement and neither of these titles go with the move crossfitters know as the muscle up.  (If you don’t know what a muscle up is watch Camille Leblanc-Bazinet demonstrate ).

This article claimed that in the gymnastics world, the muscle up was actually a beginner movement and that basically any gymnast worth their salt could do one with ease. I’m not at all involved in the world of gymnastics and my only “experience” with this sport is via The Olympics, which doesn’t seem to be very representative of any sport since you have to be the best of the best to be there. However, I went back and watched several videos of Olympic gymnasts on YouTube and I would say that for bars and rings, the muscle up certainly does form a foundation of many of the movements, so perhaps there is some truth to this article after all. At least for some forms of gymnastics this might be true. I am well aware there are many other events in the sport that have nothing to do with the muscle up, or any of its variations. I’m also well aware that an athlete, such as Simone Biles, who looked so incredible in her floor routines this past summer probably more than has the strength and coordination to do a muscle up with ease, but her floor routines would have her working on other movements (probably).

But it got me thinking about the movement and why that particular move is so coveted. In my opinion, it boils down to just a few things.

1. Crossfitters are not the best at any one particular type of movement; they strive to be good at ALL movements. A marathon runner will probably out-run a crossfitter in a marathon. An Olympic lifter should be able to lift more in those particular lifts than a crossfitter. But the crossfitter trains to be good at both things, cardio AND strength.

2. The muscle up combines strength, body control, rhythm, coordination and cardio and thus seems to hit many of the things that crossfit is all about.

3. To those of us that are simply ‘normal’ people (not professional athletes, not Games athletes, not folks who are able to spend hours per day in the gym and/or box), the move requires so much that it is something to strive for.

4. Those that can do this move (whether you consider it a basic gymnastics move or the ultimate crossfit move) make it look oh so very easy.

So I will still lust after this ‘beginner’ move. I don’t come from a gymnastics background (I was a soccer keeper in high school and college – you can throw your body around with little grace); I don’t have the strength to do a pull-up; I still weigh well more than I should. But I will keep this little movement on my bucket list. In the meantime, I remain Scaled to Perfection and I’m okay with this.


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