When a gymnast learns a new skill, on the bars, for example, she doesn’t just throw it into her competition-ready bar routine. 

After weeks of timers and drills to prepare her for attempting the new skill, she then attempts the skill with her coach spotting her. After practicing hundreds of repetitions with a spot, she then tries it on her own, usually over a foam pit. And eventually, she gets to try it on the uneven parallel bars. 

At this point, it’s still usually not ready for competition. More weeks of practice are required before the skill is consistent enough for the coach to consider putting it in her routine in competition. 

Though we’re not teaching you how to do high-flying, dangerous release moves on bars, what we do is still technical, and the same principle applies: Mechanics first, then build consistency, and THEN you can add some intensity if appropriate.

Step 1: Learn The Mechanics

Learning the mechanics/technique of a movement (be it a squat, a clean, or a muscle-up) involves being in a calm state with a low heart rate, where you can focus on the movement pattern. Generally, it means moving slowly and with control. A tempo is a great way of ensuring this!

Step 2: Perfect Through Repetition To Create Consistency

Continue to practice, practice, practice the movement on its own in a low-intensity, skill-based work environment until it becomes second nature to you (i.e. you develop consistency where you don’t have to think about what you’re doing anymore). 

Step 3: Add Some Intensity

Once a movement is consistent, and your form doesn’t break down when you’re fatigued, it can be done with more intensity, for example, in a metabolic conditioning workout where your heart rate is high.

- Coach Emily


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