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Time to Get Dynamic

This week, we’ve been reviewing the proper progression for gymnastics movements. While there are many reasons for this progression, safety is the primary reason for those of us who are focusing on long term health.

In this article, we are going to discuss the final step: adding dynamic movement.

What is Dynamic Movement

In our last article, we talked about strict movement. This is when we move only the muscles and joints needed to perform a full range of motion. For example, we perform strict pullups by moving from a straight arm hang to chin over the pullup bar using our back and arms only. The rest of our body stays steady or “strict.” Strict movement is best for building strength.

Alternatively, we add dynamic movement to generate power. Staying with our pullup example, dynamic movement comes in the form of a standard “beat” kip. This is horizontal movement while hanging from a pullup bar. As you progress in your pullups, you use this horizontal movement to generate power.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Dynamic Movement

The primary advantage of dynamic movement is the generation of power. This power helps us do the “cool” movements in gymnastics. It also increases our time under tension, which in turn increases our fitness. If you are able to perform 3-4 strict pullups, you are likely able to perform 10-12 kipping pullups. Once you develop the ability to hold a strict handstand, you can start to walk on your hands across the floor and over objects.

However, anytime we add movement around a joint while that joint is under tension, we increase the possibility of injury. This is why we must develop strict strength first. When we are adding power to our movement, it is our joints that are expressing that power. Without the strength to control the added movement, our joints may move into hyperextension.

Adding Dynamic Movement

Once strict strength is developed, you should add dynamic movement slowly. We call this skill work. Dynamic movement needs to be added when you are fresh and not while under fatigue.

Start by adding the dynamic range of motion itself. For example, you would start by learning and developing the beat kip. Next, use that dynamic power to assist the concentric portion of the movement. In other words, start your beat kip and then use it for perform one pullup. Finally, learn how to return to dynamic movement through the eccentric portion of the movement. This would be like developing the skill to come down from your pullup into the next beat kip to generate power for your next pullup.

As you learn the skill of dynamic movement, you may then add reps. This will assure a long career of using dynamic movement safely in your fitness program.