CrossFit Workout

Yesterday I went to their gymnastics workout, taught by a former college gymnast. First we practiced handstands, taking turns having him spot us. That was a lot of fun. I’ve been practicing handstands with a support, but being spotted by a person was much better. It allowed you to try harder to balance yourself, because no matter which way you started to tip, he’d apply just enough pressure to let you regain balance again—until you started tipping the other way. I tried to focus on adjusting various parts of my body to hold the balance: put my legs together, tense or relax my stomach or shoulders, tip my head or hips.
Then we had a handstand contest. The guy who won, staying up for 6 seconds, wiggled his toes the whole time without realizing it. His feet held still but his toes flapped like he was waving at somebody.
Next we tried to learn to do a forward roll in the rings while being supported in the harness. From the stepper, you got into the harness, grasped the rings in the false grip, and jumped up into a muscle-up. Then you ducked your head and rolled forward, trying to keep the elbows at waist level. (The instructor made it look easy and natural, like an underwater somersault.) The hardest part came when you got completely upside down and stalled to a dead halt.
I expected that when I reached that point, the momentum of my rear end being straight up in the air would carry me through the somersault, but no! It was a struggle to keep the rings/my hands in the proper position at waist level and pull my body through the ropes. Eventually I did it, but only once. On my other attempts, I got upside down and suddenly reversed direction, unwinding from all that effort and swinging down into a hanging position with a lot of force. To accidentally let go of the rings at that chaotic moment would be a catastrophe!
Our final drill was to try to learn the kip, which is one way gymnasts mount the parallel bars, I think. We had to grasp the bar, set at shoulder level, and sort of fling ourselves under it until the body is fully extended on the opposite side of the bar—then fold up the legs at the hip into a pike while pulling back toward the bar. We could see that Ben used the initial “fly-out” and return to build momentum that he converted into upward motion until he was over the bar with his hands on the bar at hip level. I couldn’t even get the initial motion right. And this is something that, when gymnasts do it in the Olympics, you hardly notice because they immediately do something much more spectacular.
Just from doing those three things I was sore and tired later in the evening.