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Old 02-23-2003, 04:39 PM   #14
Tyler Hass
CrossFit Staff Tyler Hass is offline
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: San Diego  CA
Posts: 642
Greg, thanks for the detailed response. I'm especially interested in what you said about gymnastics. I just recently dove headfirst into gymnastics training, so I'll probably be picking your brain as much as possible. It's hard to find knowledgeable male gymnasts. It's truly a shame that gymnastics programs are getting shut down everywhere you look. Mens gymnastics has practically disappeared because of some ridiculous notion that it is a girl's sport. However, even the women's programs are disappearing at many schools. At my own school, we are trying to bring it back, but the administration thinks it is too dangerous (yet they fund boxing and skydiving clubs!). Despite all of this, American women brought home 2 gold medals and a bronze at the recent World Championships in Debrechen, Hungary. Postell was gold on beam, Kupets on bars and Sheehan won a bronze on floor.
I'm curious what you meant by gymnasts being slow? Do you mean at sprinting?
I agree that gymnasts are way more flexible than yogis. Furthermore, in these positions, they are much stronger. Can you see a Yogi doing a "glide on the side" on P-bars? Nonetheless, as you said, Yogis do have valuable information to share and it can be a good source to draw from. I'm really working hard on my flexibility right now. It takes a serious warm-up and some pre-stretching before I can even get my legs to from a 90* angle in the seated straddle. This could be an impediment in press to handstands, so I'm attacking the problem.
I think part of the reason gymnasts get their flexibility is that it is just part of that sub-culture to be flexible. When you are around people all day that are extremely flexible, it becomes normal and less scary. I would think this might have a psychological effect of disinhibiting your body's natural reaction to prevent such extreme positions. Of course the simpler explanation might just be that, gymnasts use their flexibility on a daily basis and maintain it from an early age.
I also completely agree with you that GPP and sports practice is enough for any athlete. I have never seen Mel Siff design a program for a specific type of athlete. So until he puts something out there for the rest of the world to critique, we will not even know what a sports specific program even looks like. My guess is that it would incorporate a lot of the same functional movements that are present in CrossFit. The only examples I have ever seen of sports specific training being effective is in cases where a specific level of hypertrophy is desired, such as a lineman. However, there was nothing scientific about it, just a common sense look at the needs of an athlete and a program to address it (and food!). Coaches, teachers and parents have been doing this long before there was such a thing as a sports scientist.
Thanks for your response, it was very interesting!
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