muscle up

"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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"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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