The Next Benefactor: Gymnastics

CrossFit has been regarded as being responsible for saving American weightlifting. Say what you want about high-volume Olympic lifts this, or movement quality that.
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CrossFit has been regarded as being responsible for saving American weightlifting. Say what you want about high-volume Olympic lifts this, or movement quality that. Big names like Glenn Pendlay and Mike Burgener agree—CrossFit has drawn more people to the clean and jerk and the snatch than USAW has. That means more interest and a greater pool from which to catch our next big Olympian in the sport of weightlifting.

It’d be naive to assume CrossFit’s influence has stopped with weightlifting, however. With the recent skill demands and focus of this year’s CrossFit Games Regionals, a good friend jokingly proclaimed, “I can’t wait to sign up for my first gymnastics comp this summer.”

Sure, it was tongue-in-cheek. I doubt we’ll see anything like the immediate influx of athletes we are seeing sign up for local weightlifting meets, and even powerlifting meets. However, like they say, “A rising tide raises all ships,” and gymnastics is sure to grow as a result.

Legless rope climbs, strict handstand push-ups, and handstand walking may be just minor details in one CrossFit competition, but the attention on gymnastics movement is growing in a big way. Just days after Stacie Tovar’s regional effort that will keep her from the CrossFit Games, she posted a video of her practicing her handstand walks with a caption that read something not dissimilar to, “Day 2 of 365.”

Mothers-to-be, three in fact this week, have proclaimed to me that their children’s first stop will be gymnastics class. Sure, that’s not new, but the buzz is. I see the benefactor of the next wave of CrossFit’s ripple effect being gymnastics schools and coaches nationwide, even if not for current active CrossFitters, but surely for their children.

That, my friends, would a victory beyond measure both for the population and lesser so for an entire sport/industry in America. Imagine a world where six out of every 10 kids trained gymnastics!

This won’t be the last stop for CrossFit’s tidal wave of influence, either. Simultaneously, we are seeing growth of a magnitude that is saving the sport in strongman and kettlebell training in the United States, as well.

What specific practices has CrossFit turned you onto that you never saw coming?

Logan Gelbrich
@functionalcoach