Why Most Adult Gyms Suck

Why we started Adult Gymnastics Training?

After retiring from gymnastics in our late teens and early 20's we started training at "adult gyms." They look something like this:


But in our minds, a gym and training should look something like this:

handstands walk.png

It was so difficult to accept that training now meant running, stepping away on the machines until enough calories ticked over! Why should this be the choice of exercise to so many people when it is boring and nowhere near as effective as gymnastics training.

Using your body weight for resistance training and cardio is extremely effective, functional and a lot of fun.

We wanted to create a program that we believed in, train the way we love to and feel is most effective. Along the way we started Personal Training and CrossFit which organically brought many adults to us for gymnastics coaching. 

When someone asks what we do for work and we say we train adults in gymnastics their eyebrow raise and say "wow that's interesting...I didn't know that was a thing"

We whole heartedly believe in what we do. Below is a short list of some significant benefits a gymnastics program develops, which many other fitness programs don't.

Explosive power
Mental stimulation
And the list goes on...

If we value the development of all things so highly for kids, why do we not do that same for adults. 

Our Coaches Top 4 Insta Follows

From time to time we all get stuck down the rabbit hole of Instagram, there are so many people out there, doing great things, inspiring others, teaching valuable lessons, using their platforms in meaningful ways to connect with others. 

Today we want to share with you some of our favourite Instagram accounts of people we believe are there doing great things for the fitness industry in the gymnastics and movement space.

Court's recommendation:
1. Hunter Cook
Hunter is doing some very cool shit. He is so strong and mobile...the things he can do with his body is incredible. He put's out a lot of content which is very applicable to our member and client training.
Check out Hunter Cook  

Mel's recommendation:
2. Laura Novack
Laura is not strictly doing gymnastics but she does calisthenics, she comes up with some really cool creative ideas. This always helps us come up with new creative ideas for the DS Squad programs.
Check out Laura Novack

Ev's recommendation:
3. Carl Paoli
I follow Carl because he genuinely seeks to make a connection with people through his movement practice. He challenges people to think, explore and grow when interacting with his content as opposed to blindly following or subscribing to his program.
Check out Carl Paoli

Kat's recommendation:
4. Gemma Cheung
This girl does gymnastics, pole dancing, yoga, lyra. Seriously...what can't she do. Not to mention, she just had a baby, which has not stopped her fitness pursuit.
Check out Gemma Cheung

We hope you enjoy following these superstars as much as we do.

I don't understand why I can't get my first strict pull up

If you have mastered a Pull Up, keep reading this applies to any skill or goal you are chasing.

Pull ups are a staple movement in many sports, they demonstrate a good base level of bodyweight strength, control, core and shoulder health. They are also an essential movement for developing other gymnastics based skills.

We have helped hundreds of women and men get their first, second, third and beyond Strict Pull up. In our eyes, guess who is the most impressive?

Women getting their very FIRST STRICT PULL UP as an adult. That's because women generally find it harder to put on muscle mass and to develop upper body strength. You'll see many celebratory posts on our social media because we are SO incredibly proud of their commitment to the program and success. Don't get us wrong we are also super proud of our guys.

Women getting their very FIRST STRICT PULL UP as an adult. That's because women generally find it harder to put on muscle mass and to develop upper body strength. You'll see many celebratory posts on our social media because we are SO incredibly proud of their commitment to the program and success. Don't get us wrong we are also super proud of our guys.

Back to our question, what have you done in the past 3 months to get your first strict pull up? The reason we pose this question is that many people that come to Dalecki Strength for help with goals like this, they train daily doing CrossFit, pole dancing, boxing or yoga etc, but daily training is often not enough for a specific goal.

We have found a sweet spot, for most people doing 2-3 days of "specific" training toward your pull up. Other days can be spent doing your chosen sport.

Here is our quick checklist to help you on your way:

  • Dedicate time, put it in your calendar

  • Check in with yourself weekly to ensure you have done your best towards your goal

  • Nutrition, this is whole other topic, but keep in mind that nutrition is extremely important, not just for pull ups and gymnastics but every sport will have a different nutritional needs. For gymnastics, lean muscle is essential.

  • Program, ensure your program takes care of the following elements, joint mobility and stability, core, well rounded strength and skills.

Have you seen our success stories on Instagram? This is the program - Pull Ups One

Success Stories- Watch Reanon going from 0.9 of a pull up to 4 strict pull ups

Why are you doing the Leaning Tower of Pisa Handstand?

It's a common story, with your best efforts trying to practice a handstand balance but every time you kick up your body finds that banana position which forces your weight to shift or "fall" then chase using your arms. Everyone is different and restrictions vary greatly but we can be certain the one or more these apply if you struggle to balance a handstand.


1. You've spent many more hours practicing your walk but nowhere near as many on balancing.

2. Your wrist, shoulder and or thoracic mobility isn't allowing you to straighten your body.

3. Your core strength is lacking, core work is boring right? We don't think it has to be...for fun easy to follow programs click here

4. You can hollow on the floor but not upside-down

5. You may not understand what you need to feel or look for when practicing handstands.

handstand drills, down facing hollow


1. Spend more time on handstands, take a break from walking for a while. Practicing both can cause confusion and prolong the journey

2. Dedicate 15min/day to stretching, we have some very effective flexibility techniques which are too difficult to explain in email. You will make amazing progress from stretching daily after training, holding positions for 90 sec or more.

3. Core, it needs to be done, a strong core is the foundation of gymnastics. Without it you will always cut yourself short.

4. Get more comfortable hollowing in various positions, push up position, all the way up a wall walk, hanging, standing. Teach your body to find the position on cue.

5. Get a coach to teach you the basics and understand what you need to look for. Keep an eye out for an upcoming ebook on handstands. 


Amateurs show Olympian how it’s done!

We have a question for you, when was the last time you did something that scared you?

A couple of months ago, our spectacular coach Melissa Wu took us to her daily playground, The Sydney International Aquatic Centre Diving Pool. She suggested we try diving to challenge ourselves and try something new outside of our normal training.

diving, melissa wu, olympian

Under her watchful eye we spent 1 hour at the pool practicing dry land drills, jumps and dives into the pool. A few lessons we took away:

- Doing something out of your comfort zone is terrifying, exhilarating, and rewarding. We definitely plan to do that more often.

- The level and precision involved with diving is incredible

- The impact of your body when it hits the water is significant, that's why many divers have wrist, elbow and neck injuries

- SO much core control is required, we realised that One interesting thing we noticed is the Olympic divers warming up as we wrapped up our day, they warmed up of the bike beside the pool, then spent at least 30 min working their core before getting on the platforms.

Dalecki's Go Diving Vlog

Want to improve your Internal obliques? Do you even know what they are?

If you read our last blog you would have seen the Core challenge we set for you.

Today we wanted to answer three very important questions about core training.

What is the core?  Why is it important to build and strengthen your core? How do you get the most out of your time when training core?  

1. What the core is? We think is really important to discuss what "Core" means to us. You'll probably get a different answer from each trainer you ask, however as you learn about how the body moves and functions you realise that it's designed to functionally work together in a way where we can run, jump, twist, bend etc. Therefore, we could argue the core stems from your shoulder blades, down your spine. This is why core exercises should include curls, extensions, lateral flexion, twists as well as exercises supported by your shoulders.


Flag, gym, exercise, candlestick, dragonfly

2. Why it's important: building strength, mobility and skills are often a major focus while core is neglected. We have trained hundreds of people in gymnastics, CrossFit and through general fitness programs, introducing consistent core training has been one the most advantageous for skill progression. Developing your core allows your body to function and work together, which is essential for complex movements requiring so much coordination and strength.

3. How to get the most out of your core sessions:

- Frequency, once a month is simply not enough. Frequency is important, as athletes with a gymnastics, diving and acrobatic background we want to share the insider secrets. First thing to know is that core work is done in some capacity every single training session.

- Understand which core muscles are you using. Many people say they don't need to do core as they squat, deadlift, run etc which uses their core. This is true, however your core is also made up of stabilisers, Intrinsic core- transverse abdominis, internal oblique, lumbar multifidus, pelvic floor and the diaphragm) the most effective way to work these are with small loads for longer periods of time.

- Variety and progressive exercises, everyone has their "go to" core exercises which are re-used over and over. Your body will respond better to different stimulus.

- Learn how to switch on your inner core muscles. Pull your belly button in to your spine, don't hold your breath, pull upwards from your pelvic floor (as though you are holding in your pee). This will all get easier with practice.

If you want to know how we train our core, check out our Core One and Two programs.

Simple Extras that can produce Extraordinary Results

More and more people are motivated to learn impressive gymnastics skills. We're going to share with you one of the easiest ways to improve your gymnastics without a huge time investment.

Believe it or not gymnasts, divers and other acrobatic athletes complete core work as part of every single session. Developing strength and stability is vital as these positions transfer directly to higher level skills.

All you need to do is add a little "extras" time to your current training sessions. We have a challenge for you, for the next couple of weeks set aside 2 sessions per week, of 10-15min. Remember to turn on your pelvic floor, pull your belly button in to brace your core, take proper belly breaths (do not hold your breath).

Complete 2-3 rounds of the following circuit

hollow, core, core program, mel wu

Hollow hold 30 seconds Lying on back, legs stretched out off floor & arms overhead covering ears, squeeze core & hold hollow position.
15sec rest

ankle taps, core, mel wu

Bent leg ankle taps 30 seconds Lying on back, draw knees up towards chest, keeping legs bent. Crunch up & touch ankles. Keep head neutral & crunch using abdominals, not with neck.
15sec rest

side plank, core,  side bridge, melissa wu

Side bridges 30 seconds each side Lying on right side, plant right forearm on floor & lift body up into side plank position, maintaining straight body line. Lower hips to floor laterally, then raise them up again. Repeat on left side.
15sec rest

superman raise, core, core program, melissa wu

Superman raise (alternate arm and leg) 30 seconds Lying on stomach, place arms straight overhead. Raise opposite arm and leg up & down repeatedly. Squeeze legs & glutes & extend through hips rather than hinging through lower back.

Rest 1-2min between rounds


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Do you follow these 3 steps with skill acquisition?

One thing we LOVE about the fitness industry these days is that people (coaches and fitness enthusiasts) are researching, learning, understanding movement to become better teachers and movers.

This may come from seminars and courses or reading articles and watching tutorials. Most of us have been there, reading every article, watching every YouTube clip from each and every specialist.

At Dalecki Strength we strive to keep our bodies as strong, mobile and healthy as possible. This comes first before any trick or skill. In our opinion, if we’re going to push and challenge our bodies through intense training and test the limits the first thing we should do is show our bodies a little respect.

What this means is, preparing your body in the best way you know how.

l-sit, lsit, core, strength
bar muscle up, crossfit skills

1. Understanding where your limitations and weaknesses are e.g. if you have tight shoulders, seek help and guidance, learn how to improve your mobility and stability in end range.

2. Following progressions and always doing the basics  e.g. core work and drills...this is the stuff the makes you move better

3. When you learn a new skill, keep on developing it until it’s as efficient and close to perfect as possible. NEVER accept poor movement standards from yourself. You’re better than that.

It always great to see people get their first skill but it’s disappointing to see people celebrate terrible and dangerous movement. Unfortunately, you see a lot of this on social media, people proud of their knee to the floor snatch or the chicken wing MU again and again. Respecting your body means sometimes taking a step back to perfect movement. This can be hard, often it may mean to stop practicing the skill, focusing on drills. Let us tell you...it will be so worth it! When you perform smooth efficient movement without pain, your potential will skyrocket.

Ready to take action? Find out more about our Gymnastics Squad Term starting April 16th. 


How coach Courtney gained 2 inches on her S-wave in just 5 minutes per day!

I have been in my gymnastics coaching role for 12 months. Even though coaching seems to be predominantly teaching, I have found that it is more about learning.

I learn from my mentors.. Kat and Ev teach me in depth about the "why" behind what we do. They also help me develop my coaches eye for gymnastics movements.

My clients force me to learn, grow and adapt very quickly. If they don't understand the way I have presented something I need to re-frame for them. The same approach doesn't always work for each client in a group, so I have to be prepared to change my approach with each individual.

Finally, my own journey of skill acquisition teaches me lessons everyday!

Since October 2017 it has been my goal to be able to do a Handstand walkover. After testing the skill initially, I realised my thoracic and shoulder mobility would need to improve dramatically if I was to achieve my goal. 

I took it down the very basics, I did all the exercises that we prescribe for our squad groups for warm up and shoulder pre-habilitation. 

Week 1 included the S-Wave, I have known for a long time that I am a lot more limited on one side compared to the other. My end goal was not to improve my s-wave specifically, but it happened :)

Based on the feedback and questions I received after my instagram post, I know this is a huge issue for many of our readers also. 

These are the main changes I made that contributed to my results:

  • FRC (functional range conditioning) exercises. We use the FRC approach in our squad clients, particularly for warm ups.

The aim of FRC (functional range training) is to expand the body's range of motion and teach the nervous system how to control that new range. 

It focuses on learning how to move a joint independently before dependently.
Eg- you should be able to move your wrist independently, without having to rely on your elbow or shoulder joint to help you with the desired action. 

It has helped me understand the importance of how my joint is supposed to move compared to how it moves now. So now, I really know where my limitations are.

The FRC exercises I incorporated were wrist CARs, face down shoulder CARs and thoracic CARs in a kneeling position with my elbows raised on a box. 

  • The swimmer exercise- I made this more challenging by using a dumbbell as an obstacle. It acted as a reminder to lift my arm up as high as I could. Actively expanding my range of motion.

  • Additionally, I progressed with very strict form on my upper body pulling and pushing and diligently worked through my walk over progressions which included back bridges.

Noticeable differences

1. My hands can now make contact in the s-wave! The new range of motion feels incredible. Check it out here.

2. I have noticed a decrease in my pins and needles (could also be from my increase in swimming) and more ease in moving my arms overhead. 

3. My left wrist does not hurt any more. Previously I had pain when I did high volume gymnastics and CrossFit work.

4. Improved active range of motion in wrist extension. 

5. Better alignment in my handstand- more shoulder and thoracic range for a better position and more stability through my shoulders. 

6. Better receiving position in my muscle ups and rings dips. 

Closing note

By doing something every day, it becomes a habit. Consistency is key - 5 minutes every day is all I did. Sometimes on my own, when I was coaching at Crossfit class, or a Dalecki Strength program. Now I even add it into my one on one sessions with clients. 

Need help with your movement? 

Book in a private session using the form below. We will assess your range of motion and develop a specific action plan to improve and increase it.

Name *

Our predictions (and tips) for the 2018 Open

In a short 40 days, the 2018 season kicks off. 

From the novice, to the advanced competitor, to the coach or even just the spectator, If you are a part of a CrossFit box, you will be drawn into the chaos and excitement of the Open.

So far, we only have a few of Dave Castro’s cryptic Instagram clues about what the workouts might involve.

Here our coaches are going to offer up their predictions and a few tips on how to approach the gymnastics skills if or when they show up. 

Coach Ev

New movement prediction? 

Strict handstand push ups. 2015 was the first year we saw handstand push ups in the open, and kipping was permitted. Kipping HSPU were then repeated in 2016 and 2017, meanwhile at regionals the focus was on strict handstand push ups. I think this year they will progress this movement.

My advice for any one working towards strict handstand push ups is to ditch the ab mats. This is the most common fault I see with people working towards this movement. There is little benefit to becoming strong in a shortened range of motion, then having to re build the strength all over again but from a different position later. 

Instead, progressively build your capacity using regular floor push ups, deficit push ups, pike push ups, isometric holds and contractions. You will need to set aside time to specifically work on this movement, minimum three times per week. 

My prediction for the retest workout is 17.2 This means you really have to know your capacity on toes to bar and bar muscle ups. This work out is all about how well you know yourself, so that you don’t red line your grip.

Coach Kat

New Movement prediction?

Handstand walking became “trendy”again in 2017. People were becoming a little bit more interested in doing handstands away from the wall potentially inspired by Dave Castro including a handstand walking obstacle course in the CrossFit Invitational. 

This is an easy movement to judge and I think he will throw it in this year! 

My advice for any one starting to learn handstand walking is, put effort into mastering your handstand entry technique. It seems obvious but it is a step that people often miss. Over kicking into the handstand wildly, then having to stabilise once up side down is a very ineffective way to learn this skill. It may get you a few random steps, but it won't allow you to learn proper control with your handstand.

Repeat prediction?

17.5 Thrusters and double unders.

Coach Courtney 

New movement prediction? Single leg squats, aka pistol squats.

If you check CrossFit.com occasionally you would have noticed that these have been included in the CrossFit programming for a long time. Most recently

For time (180104)

10 single leg squats alternating

10 yard HS walk 

20 single leg squats alternating 

20 yard HS walk

30 single leg squats alternating

30 yard HS walk

40 single leg squats alternating

40 yard HS walk 

CrossFit doesn't shy away from including challenging movements in the Open. They like to see the entire CrossFit population improvement from year to year and acquire skills they previously could not complete.

Repeat prediction? 

17.3 Snatch ladder with chest to bar pull ups.

Of course, there is always the chance that Dave Castro surprises us all and gives us a gymnastics free year.

If you don't like the chances of that happening. Get in touch with us and we can help you get on track with your gymnastic skills before the Open.

Term starts 22nd January. We will be focusing on handstand push up and pull up strength, ring muscle ups and handstands for skill.

This will give you 6 weeks of structured gymnastics practice before the open starts and continued support once the workout starts being released. 

Click the button below to learn more and get started.