Is Gymnastics Cross Training Right For Me?
Exploring the benefits of gymnastics for the Jiu Jitsu practitioner...
It is always my contention that the best way to get better at Jiu Jitsu is more Jiu Jitsu. However, many of us look for ways to augment our training. Perhaps, family or work obligations make rolling impossible some days. Yet, there may be time to sneak in a quick cross training session at home. For others, it may be necessary to correct some of the imbalances created by Jiu Jitsu. Whatever the reason, many are exploring gymnastics as a popular way to cross train.
George St-Pierre and Eddie Cummings are two famous Jiu Jitsu practitioners who also train in gymnastics. Someone of George’s stature in MMA certainly has resources available to bolster his strength and conditioning in a variety of ways. Yet he chooses gymnastics. Eddie is arguably one of the greatest grapplers today. He also chooses gymnastics.
Some of the benefits of gymnastics are coordination, flexibility and strength. These components lead to overall body control. Any seasoned grappler can see the application for Jiu Jitsu. In addition, gymnastics may help undo some of the imbalances of Jiu Jitsu. Gymnastics may help strengthen some of the muscles that are often overlooked for a grappler. Additionally, gymnastics may help stretch muscles that are overly tight for a grappler.
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Here is a sample gymnastics workout for a Jiu Jitsu practitioner.
- Diagonal Toe Touches / Supermen
- Band assisted front lever
- L –Sit
- Band pulls
- Handstand drills
Another popular form of gymnastics in the Jiu Jitsu community is Ginastica Natural. The rough translation of Ginastica Natural is natural gymnastics. Ginastica Natural was developed by Professor Alvaro Romano, an avid surfer and Jiu Jitsu practitioner.
Prof. Alvaro Romano trained under Rolls Gracie in 1976 and in 1977. He was interested in improving strength, flexibility, balance and power. He had the Jiu Jitsu athlete and fighter in mind when creating Ginastica Natural.
Recently, there have been a lot of gymnastic courses available online. Some of these classes can be done with little or no equipment. It makes them a great choice for someone who does not have a couple of hours to kill at a Jiu Jitsu academy.
One of the great things about Jiu Jitsu is it improves every component of one’s life. For many of us, we make better food choices because we know it impacts our performance on the mats and we are more aware of our overall health. We drink a little less because we know we have an early morning class and alcohol wreaks any physical performance. We are a little more patient with our wife and kids because we have fought our demons on the mats. We look for things like gymnastics because it helps our performance on the mats but we also understand that being in shape helps us enjoy life more.