Body-Weight Skill Progressions

In yesterday’s blog, I talked about Greg Glassman’s 100 Words of Fitness. I invited you to highlight your biggest weakness and set a goal at improving it.


The vast majority of you emailed me saying gymnastics was your biggest weakness. Today, I hope I can provide a useful resource to you as you set some goals this weekend.




The extraordinary value of gymnastics as a training modality lies in its reliance on the body’s own weight as the sole source of resistance. This places a unique premium on the improvement of strength to weight ratio.


Because of this, you first need to address your diet. Regardless of how strong you are, gymnastic movements become increasingly more difficult the heavier you weigh.


For example, pull-ups don’t happen if you areover 30% body fat. We can work on strength until we’re blue in the face, but the easiest thing to do is take off the body’s “weight vest.”


Learning new gymnastic skills starts by trimming the body fat.


A New Vocabulary


The unfortunate thing about gymnastics, especially in regards to fitness, is that we usually only include pull-ups, push-ups, and sit-ups in our training regimen. Most of this is done on accident as the general exercising public is unaware of the potential movements that can be used.


Rope climbs, flips, splits, holds, presses to handstand, scales, dips, jumps, pistols… the list can go on forever. And I’m making it my goal this quarter to not just familiarize you with these movements, but provide instructional videos and blogs on how to incorporate them into your training.


Doing so will transform your fitness and physique into something movie stars could only dream of.




Of the many events gymnasts compete in, we have concluded that five of them can be used to develop incredible fitness inside most gyms. These events are: rings, parallel bars, floor, high bar, and the pommel horse.


Jefferson Albright, a two-decade gymnast and RxFIT athlete, has broken these events down into skills that fall in line with our sick-well-fit approach to health. The graphic below has two purposes: (1) introduce you to skills beyond the “pull-up” and “muscle-up” and (2) help you in your goal-setting.


The bronze level is “sickness,” silver is “wellness,” and gold is “fitness.” Because you probably don’t know what most of these are, simply search them on YouTube. You will find these skills being performed by kids and adults all across the world.




Before you explore the possibility of performing any of these skills, you first must control your diet. Gymnastics, just like everything else in fitness, begins with the quantity and quality of the food you put in your body.


Then, we can start setting goals to reach these three different levels of skills.


In future blog posts and educational videos, I will teach you drills to assist you in your pursuit of developing these skills. My plea is that you attack this modality the same way you would with weight lifting — dedicated practice every day.



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