adult gymnastics training

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.

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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.

 

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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.

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.

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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. 

 

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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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 join our Coaches Gymnastics Classes at Bondi Junction and Marrickville. You will learn new skills yourself and become a better coach to your clients.

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Do you have LEAKS in your training?

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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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Having trouble with your handstand? Maybe it’s your wrists…

Having trouble with your handstand? Maybe it’s your wrists…

Article by Jeremy Salcedo

Meet Jeremy,  our new superstar coach! He has an extensive Capoeira background, has been training with Dalecki Strength for 2 years and he’s also a Physiotherapist. Jeremy has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to movement and health.