"Minimum work requirement" Why these three words are ruining your life

In 2013 Kat and I found out we were going to be competing at the CrossFit Regionals together on a team. 

I didn’t realise it at the time, but what unfolded next has shaped and defined Dalecki Strength as well as Kat and I as coaches.

The workouts were released..

EVENT 3 on Day 1 

Complete as many total reps in 7 minutes of:

Burpee ring muscle-ups.

MINIMUM work requirement- 6 reps per gender.

This meant that 2 out 3 women had to complete 3 burpee ring muscle ups. 

In 2013 ring muscle ups were very rare for women.

Kat had a natural ability for muscle ups. They were strong, consistent and beautiful.

Sam our other girl was very far away from her first muscle up. 

That meant I absolutely had to get 3 muscle ups on the day otherwise our team would be disqualified and knocked out of the competition.

 

Rewind back a year

I had started CrossFit exactly 1 year prior to this moment.

Yes I was an ex gymnast but I had ZERO exposure to ring training. 

In traditional artistic gymnastics, women (sadly) do not learn the rings as an apparatus. 

Not only that, when I started CrossFit I was de-conditioned, unfit and had even lost my strict pull ups!

During my first year of CrossFit I progressed really quickly. I took full advantage of the “beginner gains” but also I was able to rely on my previous athletic background. I knew how to move well, I just had to be disciplined with my training.

I pretty much picked up everything I needed to be decently competitive at CrossFit, I had all the barbell and gymnastics movements, the one exception being the dreaded ring muscle up.

I felt pressure to be good at CrossFit because people expected me to be good. 

“Oh you are an ex gymnast, CrossFit must be easy for you"

“Ah you are Kat’s sister.. Are you as strong as her?"

This caused me to become incredibly stressed. CrossFit was the furthest thing from easy.

I was embarrassed and anxious. To add to that, I was extremely competitive.

As it unfolded this adversity was the biggest blessing I could have asked for.

Kat worked with me on this every single day in the gym for hours. 

During these few weeks we learnt..

  • 1001 ways to teach and not to teach muscle up.
  • You should not be skipping any steps in skill acquisition.
  • A little bit of skin in the game is very useful motivation to achieve a crazy goal.

The trivial outcome. 

I got those muscle ups and we progressed through the whole weekend of competition. 

It was surprisingly easy on the day.

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The lasting outcome

We learned true empathy for our future clients. 

We know how to help them because we have been through the struggle personally. 

Another lesson was in the beauty of CrossFit. 

Competing in CrossFit is not just “an exercising competition.” It is more than that. It is about tackling your fears and insecurities in front of thousands in a public arena. Whether that is on the Open Leaderboard, Regionals or a local comp, it takes bravery and can make you a better person in the process.

If you need help with gymnastics to get better at CrossFit and you care about doing things properly, we are here to help. We have been through the struggles you are facing now.

 

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A little mistake that CrossFitters are making today, costing them years of frustration down the track!

A little mistake that CrossFitters are making today, costing them years of frustration down the track

There so many variations of skills in CrossFit gymnastics movements.

Which is the most efficient?

  • Bent leg versus straight leg TTB? Or using the scoop?
  • Straight or Scorpion Handstand?
  • Butterfly or kipping pull up?


Your answer can be found right here. Firstly ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why are you learning it? Is it to perform workouts RXd? Is it for competition?

  2. What comes after mastering this skill?

Hint: Always look ahead.
To steer you in the right direction, think along the lines of similar movement patterns.

Example: Handstand —> Handstand walk —> HSPU —> Ring HSPU

Before we get to handstands, let’s first take a look at the process many follow to learn and understand new movements.

If you wanted a heavier snatch, what are the first things you would be likely to do? Obviously you’ll first seek a coach and refine technique.

You’re also likely to head to YouTube, watch professional lifters, analyse their technique, striving to look like “one of them”.

Improved technique generally will lead you towards a heavier snatch in the long term. The Weightlifting element in CrossFit is far more closely replicated in the sport of CrossFit in comparison to gymnastics. There are CrossFitter’s that are now competing at high levels in both sports.. it’s incredible.

SIMILAR

Weightlifting in Weightlifting looks like this..

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Weightlifting in CrossFit looks like this..

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VASTLY DIFFERENT

Gymnastics in the sport of Gymnastics looks like this..

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Gymnastics in CrossFit looks like this:

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Now let’s look at CrossFit and Gymnastics. A skill commonly sought after by CrossFitters is the handstand walk. If you follow the same protocol, at some point you’ll be researching, looking at others technique.

Here’s the problem, what is right, what is wrong? You cannot look at an Olympic level gymnast performing handstand walks, butterfly pull ups and kipping TTB because..

They do not perform those movements.

You’ll then look to professional CrossFitters, who walks the fastest and longest distance. Some have their legs bent over, others have a major scorpion shape and the odd one will be walking backwards. Although your coach has told you that a straight back is the way to go…very confusing huh? Are you going to learn scorpion or straight HS?

Back to our two questions:

  1. Why do you want to learn the skill? Is it for a competition? Is it because your ultimate goal is to get fast HS walks for long distance on your hands?
  2. Once you master the skill, what else would you like to learn? This is so important!

If you’re answer leans towards harder more advanced skills, Handstand balance, Handstand on the rings, freestanding HSPU you need to look at the technique that’s going to get you to that.

Now it’s about the best technique that is transferable across skills to higher level skills. This is the straight handstand. If your ultimate goal is a fast handstand walk- in a straight line- and that’s as far as you want to take it then the scorpion may be a better option for you.


How we teach a CrossFitter:

  1. Joint movement and control

  2. Strength through required range of motion

  3. Body awareness

  4. What skill are we working on now? What are we working toward in future?

  5. Breaking down the skill into small components.

Want to ensure you’re learning the right technique? Register your interest for the next Dalecki Strength Squad term below.

 

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The secret of finding the perfect coach

Admittedly I’ve never met a perfect coach. 

I have seen a perfect match between coach and client. 

Unfortunately it is not that easy to find the perfect coaching relationship on the first go. Normally because one or more of these mistakes are being made.

MISTAKE ONE

Asking the wrong questions

“What will we focus on?"

If you are enquiring about a gymnastics program the answer will and should be the same no matter where you enquire. 

Joint health and stability, body weight control, upper body strength, coordination, core strength, locomotion, body weight skills and balance.

If a gymnastics program didn’t focus on those things, it wouldn’t really be a gymnastics program. Therefore it is a useless question to ask because you still have no idea how these people are different to their competitors and how or if they can help you. 

“How much is it?"

Again this is a useless question to lead with because you still don’t know how to justify the price. How will you know if its too expensive or too cheap if you don’t know what it is? 

Is $500 expensive or cheap? Is $100 expensive or cheap? It is impossible to answer that without context. 

Don’t get me wrong, this question is important, but ask it LAST.

Ask this instead. 

“Who is it for?"

If the answer is “everybody” 

then this provider has no idea who they are serving. 

Re-phrase and ask

“Who did you create this for?"

If they answer “everybody” a second time, it means that they really aren’t clear on who they wish to serve and therefore it will be impossible for them to promise that your needs will be met. 

They may meet your needs, but if they do its just by chance. 

Why is this so important? Lets go through some case studies.. 

If I google "Adult Gymnastics Sydney” here are one of the top results

Sydney Hills Gymnastics

Funnily enough their homepage says

“Gymnastics for all” 

As I mentioned above.. of course it is not for all.

Digging a little deeper, it is obvious that their main focus and purpose is tiny tots and young development squads. Yes they have a once weekly open gym for adults and any one can just show up casually. 

If you are an adult serious about results- its not for you. 

If I was looking for an online body weight program I would most likely consider one of the most 'famous' online programs. Either Gymnastic Bodies or Ido Portal. 

In fact Kat and I have both had some experience with both of those and they were awesome, but still not for me.

Gymnastic Bodies

In my opinion, this program is for some one who

-Is learning to use and control their body for the very first time.

-Has endless amounts of patience 

-Is willing to re- do the same course content (in some cases for years) until a movement or strength roadblock is overcome.

-Ready to adopt body weight training as their main form of training.

I to believe that slow is best and agree with a lot of Christopher Sommer’s philosophy even though it can be dogmatic at times. 

At the same time, I know what it is like to train as a gymnast. It is intense, extremely time consuming, progress is slow and it’s not for everybody!

Most of the adults I know love gymnastics and want to get involved, but also love CrossFit and want to progress as all rounders instead of pure gymnasts. They probably won’t train for 10— 20 hours a week purely in gymnastics. 

If your intent is to get better at gymnastics for your CrossFit pursuits, I believe you will lose interest in this type of program quickly.

Ido Portal

This one is for people who want to move better, get strong, do awesome stuff but completely and 100% adopt and absorb Ido’s philosophy. 

MISTAKE TWO

Believing that there is only one coach/program/gym that is ultimately "the best."

The best doesn't exist in coaching. It's just about finding the best fit for your current needs, expectations and goals.

Dalecki Strength
Who is it for?

We started out as many start ups do “to scratch your own itch."

For Kat and I, we needed a mixture of what we used to do and love

Artistic Gymnastics

and a new found love of ours

CrossFit

We wanted to tell you who we exist for. Someone who..

LOVES fitness and CrossFit. Likes a local comp here and there. Wants to do the Open Rx. Committed. Goal orientated. Women and Men. 25- 40 y/o. Willing to do extra work. Looks after body. Focuses on nutrition. Rarely misses training. Frustrated by lack of progress in pull ups. Body weight strength is a weakness. Confused about technique. Keen to explore new Gymnastics skills and tricks. Open minded. Long term focussed. Will work towards Regionals one day. Values coaching.

We are also well aware that our approach is not for everyone.

Our program is not for someone looking to become a competitive gymnast or someone who wants 20 hours plus of gymnastics per week.

Or Someone who wants to rush into skills they aren’t ready for.

Or Some one who wants to skip the foundations. 

Lately we put lots of thought into this as we are finally creating an online version of our program. 

Who is our online program for? 

Exactly the same as our niche described above- the only difference is that this person doesn’t live locally therefore we cannot coach them face to face. 

Before we put all the final touches on the program, we want to hear from you. 

1. What do you want and need from us in an online gymnastics program? 

2. How can we best help with you with your goals?

3. Have you tried a gymnastics program online before but found it wasn’t for you? 

Help us create this program for you, exactly as you want it. 

Fill in the form before with your feedback.

 

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"I always thought that having a muscle up was the be all and end all of CrossFit"

Hi I’m Mel, I have been CrossFitting for 18 months and this is a short insight into my journey towards the muscle up. 

I always thought that having a muscle up was the be all and end all of CrossFit..

As silly as this sounds, to me I thought once you have a MU you can actually be classified as ‘a CrossFit athlete’.. 

I attended every gymnastics class, did every progression and took on all the coaching I could afford.

Nonetheless, I wasn’t strong enough and shouldn’t have been attempting the skill.

I did any way. Attempt after attempt I was building bad movement habits and also bruising my ego. I was actually feeling really bad about myself. 

All of this was putting my shoulders at risk of injury. 

Then my coach Ev had a really honest conversation with me. About what I needed to do, what I needed to stop doing and also gave me a reality check.

This conversation came at a hard time, just after 16.2, she saw me attempting bar muscle ups when I wasn’t ready and she actually said..

“If ring muscle ups come up in one of the other open workouts, I don’t want you to even try. Either scale or sit it out completely.”

This was really hard to hear. She didn’t want me trying things I wasn’t ready for. Even though this was the last thing I wanted to hear it was still better than coaches and friends simply encouraging me to no end. 

What a blessing in disguise. Now I am not feeling bad about myself trying a movement and just failing all the time.

Ev also gave me a more realistic time frame for what I was trying to achieve and a good understanding of the tedious work I still had to put in.

This helped me to accept the truth and prepare myself for the work that I would have to put in.

Before this I guess I just wanted to believe my well meaning friends when they told me 

“Wow you are so close”

“Keep trying”

“Any day now”

My friends did mean well when they said these things to me but they simply did not understand the depth of the learning process. They were just giving me false hope. 

Now I know It will mean so much more to me when I finally achieve the skill, but approach it the right way.


Two things you need but may not be getting are..

1. Honesty about where you are on your skill journey.

2. A detailed description of the amount of work it will take to achieve a particular skill and the plan to get there.

 

Do you resonate with Mel's story? 

Book yourself in for a movement assessment, get some clarity and a structured plan to start making real progress with your skills. 

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Should we be kipping on a rigid, steel bar?

 

If we look to the sport of gymnastics and the equipment within it, what do we see?

Men and women’s bar apparatus

  1. Parallel bars- wooden
  2. Uneven bars- wooden
  3. High bar- steel

 

 

What do they have in common? They are all flexible (both the wooden and steel), they provide bounce for the athlete and absorb shock. 

Now if we look to the typical ‘functional fitness gym’ we see a fixed, steel rig structure. This is certainly convenient. It is sturdy and has multiple uses, it can support plenty of weight for squatting and you can do pull ups on the horizontal bar. 

Using this structure for strict pull ups or ring work is perfectly suitable. 

So what’s the problem?

The horizontal bar has absolutely no flex.

This forces us to ask the question. 

Should we really be kipping and swinging on a steel, fixed horizontal bar? 

My educated guess is, probably not. Especially not to the volume that we see kipping carried out in a typical CrossFit program. It is very common to see in almost any function fitness program, kipping movements well into the 00’s per week. 

If we know there is no shock absorption or flex in the bar, what kind of damage is this causing to the shoulder joint, tendons and ligaments? What about other joints? Wrists? Spine? 

In our gymnastics experience, we had never carried out a movement on a fixed structure. Not even one rep. 

Further to this, in our teaching experience we know that people are not displaying as much control as they should be during most kipping movements executed. 

So what can we do?

Be aware.

Pay attention to how much volume you are putting through your shoulders with your body weight plus the added momentum of kipping. Ask yourself, is it necessary? 

Can you substitute for a movement with less momentum? 

Will we see a future where we can bring some more traditional gymnastics equipment into the wider fitness industry? 

We certainly hope so and it is something Dalecki Strength will work towards for the future. 

Do you have a comment to add to this conversation? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.

 

Need help with your gymnastics program? Get in touch below.

 

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4 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS CLIENTS NEED FROM THEIR COACH

As a coach you are teaching clients to achieve new skills, helping them improve strength and performance. On a daily basis you are being asked for your professional expertise and guidance on learning, correcting or progressing to pull ups, handstand and ring skills.

What does your client need from you in order to achieve a gymnastics skill specific goal?

You may think the answer is more progressions, coaches eyes, different cues. At one point, I thought so too.

Have you ever provided a client with cues and progressions, you turn your back and realise they revert back to their old ways. Seeming to disregard your expertise. Why is this happening? In my quest to understand the learning process better I read Josh Kaufman’s book “The First 20 Hours.” The thing that struck a chord was that learning and skill acquisition are very different things. I started applying this to coaching.

LET’S TAKE THIS COMMON SCENARIO:

Sally kicks up to quite aggressively to a handstand, back to wall, feet touching, back in a slight arch with head sticking out, she fatigues quickly. Sally has been doing this for 12 months and asks for a progressions to a freestanding handstand.

You watch and realise there are number of things going wrong, she doesn't have the correct body position, body awareness is lacking, timing is off and needs to improve her strength.

If you are adequately prepared to help her the goal, you need to set her on the right path or send her to someone that can.

 

You (the coach) need to teach the client about the Why, How, Help them Identify Mistakes and finally Practice.

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Learning and Practicing

  1. Why- Why is this important? Why must it be done this way? First comes learning, this includes an understanding of why it is important for a skill to be done a particular way. If the client doesn’t understand why, they will find little motivation take on your advice. Why are you asking the client to move in a particular way? Is it to progress them onto a higher level skill? Safety?
  2. How- How are they going to change what they are currently doing. What are they missing, strength, mobility, body awareness? All of the above? Provide them with positional drills, mobility, strength and always link it back to the reason why. This will emphasise the importance.
  3. Identifying their own mistakes- Can they feel when they have performed a drill correctly or incorrectly. Now that the client is starting to get a better understanding of what is required. Ask them question, "can you feel what happened there, what could you have done better?"
  4.  Practice, practice, practice- Repeating the set drills, progressions, mobility, strength. This is only complete once the steps above have been thoroughly understood.

If you’re a coach or PT and are guessing your way through gymnastics coaching register your interest for our Coaches Workshop in 2017.  

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What can you learn from the Dalecki sister's combined 7 Regionals experiences?

Collectively, the Dalecki Sisters have competed at the CrossFit Regionals 7 times.

Kat
2012 CrossFit Sydney 30th
2013 Reebok CrossFit GCS 18th
2015 Team Creature 15th

Ev
2013 Team Reebok CrossFit GCS 18th
2014 Individual CrossFit Creature 16th
2015 Team Creature 15th
2016 Individual CrossFit Creature 25th

 

Every season of competition is unique and has its own twists and turns along the way. The one thing that remains unchanged every time is, you come out of it a better person, because you will have learnt lessons about yourself and how you respond to challenges. 

Here is what Kat learnt from her first Regionals experience.
You can't hide from anything and you need a coach.
We often focus on skills and movements that come up on a regular basis, squats, toes to bar, cleans etc. We sometimes avoid things that just don't come up very often, we are not so good at or we fear.
In my first Regionals experience, I was absolutely crushed by a heavy ass DB snatch. It was 2012 and 32.5kg DB snatches were almost never programmed for women in our regular CrossFit sessions.  After Regionals, I was pretty content with thinking to myself that I will never have to face them again.. So I ignored them and got away with it for a few years!!

But then..

A few years later I was training for Regionals again with a new team and new coach and I was forced to face this movement, 3 times per week. My coach knew me well and had realised I was avoiding something. He helped me to overcome it.

This made me realise there is always going to be a period of frustration and struggle before you get comfortable with a difficult movement. I realised how important it was to have a coach to help guide my training and plan a strategy
Everyone needs a coach!! Even the coaches!!
 

Here is what Ev learnt from her team experiences

As much as you might like to think you have a good chance of predicting which movements are likely to come up at Regionals, there are always surprises. Lets say you spend all year perfecting your pull ups in your most comfortable environment, on your favourite pull up bar in the gym, the one that's not too high or too low. There is no doubt that you will make progress like this.

But..

Then HQ releases the Regional events and you have a team workout thrown at you where you will have to synchronise your chest to bar pull ups with a partner. A male partner, twice the height of you, on a bar so high you can barely even jump to it. Then perhaps your partner prefers kipping pull ups instead of butterfly but you have perfected your butterfly style pull up all year. 

 

You realise that you will be limited by your ability to adapt. Not by the effort that you have put into your skill training. 

My main take away was, as much as specific skill practice is important and valuable, you also need to focus on movement so that you can flow, make adjustments and adapt to what ever circumstances you find yourself in. 

Feel like your movement and skills could use a brush up before the Open 2017?
 

Click HERE to find out how we can help you!

Do you have LEAKS in your training?

Reading Seth Godin’s blog this week Visualize the leaks had me thinking about wasted effort. Whilst Seth is referring to leaks in organizations. I started to think about leaks in training sessions.

When was the last time you saw a leaking tap in your home and simply walked past without doing anything about it?

You didn’t I’m sure.

You hate waste.

If you had walked past it would have been on your mind all day long.

However, there are leaks in your training and you keep walking past. Address them and stop pretending they don’t exist.

1. Goals

Have you set them?

Training without setting goals does not mean you won’t make any progress. You almost certainly will. 

Although, training without specific goals that are meaningful to you means that you might make moderate progress in areas that are not really that important to you. 

Example- you consistently PB your back squat, but deep down you are frustrated that you still can’t manage a pull up.

You need to identify where you want to go- and have a plan of attack to get you there.

Goal setting can be extremely challenging if you haven’t done it before. Recruit a coach that you trust to guide you through the process. 

Upon completion of a successful goal setting session you should have clarity on:


1. Where you are right now

2. Where you want to go

3. What immediate action you need to put in place & a plan to stay accountable to it

 

Finally- the goal needs to SCARE you. Not to death, but it needs to give you butterflies thinking about it. If you have set a goal that would likely be achieved in time with little or no effort on your part, a very low sense of accomplishment will be associated with ticking off that goal.

 

2. Are you bringing the right attitude to your sessions?

Each and every training session has the power to transform you. You can come out a better person and better athlete in every single session if you approach it with the right mindset.

However, if you are dragging yourself to the gym with self talk such as “I just want to get this over and done with.” That is exactly what you will get. Before you know it, the session will be over and done with. Whilst you will have gotten some physical benefits out of doing it, you haven’t taken anything away and become a better person in the process.

DO THIS INSTEAD

Before you start your workout, ask yourself

WHY am I doing this? 

After you finish your workout, ask yourself

What did I learn about my mind and body today?

What could have gone better?

What can I implement to improve next time?

Once you are aware of the leak, you need to TAKE ACTION. 

           STOP WALKING PAST.

How you do something, is how you do everything

Starting gymnastics young taught us many lessons in discipline. Alarm clocks set at 4:30am, juggling school and training as well as sacrificing social events.

 

Generally, if you are putting in more than 10+ hours of training per week into an athletic endeavour you are showing some level of commitment to your goal. However, time alone as a measure of discipline is limiting. You can pour hours upon hours into an endeavour and but unless your mind is in the right place and your practice is extremely deliberate- you may see some average results but never discover your true potential.

 

We were taught that our success didn’t depend on purely just showing up and going through the motions. Our effort was noticed in every single movement we performed in a session. This meant perfect alignment in stretches, complete body tension during core work and our attitude towards training partners.  It even meant standing and walking was graceful and emphasis was placed on correct posture.

 

Two important lessons

  1. It’s not what you do, it is how you do it.
  2. How you do something, is how you do everything.

 

If you were "that" girl who needed the coach to be there watching and keeping you accountable for every piece of your training. Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before you gave up on something important. Your advanced goals would slip from your grasp and it would be because the correct attitude wasn’t a part of the small actions, so it wasn’t a part of you.

 

Patience towards goals was a given in our gymnastics experience. There was no skipping ahead and attempting skills outside of an athlete’s strength capability. Not even once. You were never allowed to ask your coach if you could attempt a skill because ‘you wanted to.’ More importantly, none of us wanted to skip ahead. We didn’t want injuries and we wanted the decisions to be left up to the coach instead of our ego. There was no sense of urgency in our training environment. However what it did have was a deep sense of importance and seriousness.

 

That small action and drill we were performing was just another piece being added to a future masterpiece.

 

This is something now ingrained in our teaching philosophy and it is something we are very proud of.

Proper progression and patience are keys to success and the ones who are rushing ahead to stay at the pace of somebody else or a false idea of their own capability are destined for injury and don’t succeed in our program.

 

Questions to ask yourself

  1. Are you in a training environment that supports proper progression?
  2. Is your practice deliberate or random?


Need some guidance on your current training? Request a discovery call below & discover 3 small actions you can take NOW to get more out of your training sessions.

 

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How Ev Dalecki is approaching the Open differently this year

How Ev Dalecki is approaching the Open differently this year

2016 marks the 5th year I am participating in the CrossFit open. Every year that I am in the sport, my training, goals and situation is different. Although this year I have kicked off the Open season with a different plan. I was determined to not let the Open stress me out and instead enjoy the whole 5 weeks. I also planned to release the videos of all and any Open workout attempts as soon as I had them available.