The GymnasticBodies Connection: A Competitor’s Journey
With the multitude of activities and sports that we engage in, many adults are on the search for healthy ways to balance what our bodies can handle and the things we love to do.
We also discover that although the training techniques we utilize to achieve success in different avenues varies from sport to sport, there is a common link that ties us. We need sufficient joint and tendon health to keep us going strong. We also need strength paired with mobility in order to stay injury free, and on top of our goals.
Whether you engage in Crossfit competitions, teach yoga, play baseball, lift weights at the gym, are an active challenge competitor, or consider yourself a weekend outdoor adventurer, Gymnastic Strength Training will help you build a body that will safely and effectively allow you to do MORE.
The Strongest Athletes Require Balanced Training
What good is a strong body without mobility or vice-versa? In order to maintain your body’s strength, you need to be able to actively engage or use it through full ranges of motion. You also require a body that doesn’t fall short due to repetitive injuries or the strain of doing what you love over a lifetime.
We’ve worked with athletes across the globe that utilize the GymnasticBodies Foundation Courses to enhance their athletic abilities. We’ve seen students and athletes prep their bodies to be able to lift heavier weights, bend deeper, and max higher reps, all while maintaining the joint and mobility health to keep them sustained at the top of their game.
The proof? Here’s the story of a Strong(wo)man Competitor, Gerilyn Burnett, who used the GB Foundation Courses to overcome obstacles, and regain her athletic edge. See how:
Take a Look at the Big Picture
In the best shape of her life, Burnett made the decision to walk away and take a break from the Strong(wo)man Competition following her first place trophy in the Lightweight Women’s Open Mass State Championships.
“I’ve always been interested in finding the backdoors to things I desire – the shorter, faster path to excellence that also produces massive ROI for time invested.
When I began hitting plateaus in my lifts, I knew training more wasn’t the answer. When I began experiencing the chronic aches, nagging twinges, and joint pain that are par for the course in the lifting world, it bothered me to need constant “professional management,” treating the same areas, but never producing resolution.”
For many competitors, we see athletes performing impossible feats in ways that should be horrible for your joints. Burnett launched stones that doubled her body weight, making it no surprise that the intensity left her feeling handicap.
“When I experienced a twinge in my neck/upper back area after every training session, I went to the Sports PT multiple times a week to continue lifting. It felt better for a day but chronically ached. When I began experiencing wrist pain started during log contest prep, I was given wraps to support my wrists. They worked, but I felt restricted and confined.
Wraps, straps, belts, and sleeves are tools for high-intensity training and competition – not everyday crutches, I thought.
And when my left AC joint started hurting, I had to step back to look at the big picture. I had developed some serious handicaps.”
The GB Method: No Fluff. No Fancy Gear. No BS.
Upon first hearing GB Founder Coach Sommer on a Robb Wolf podcast, Burnett was intrigued by the discussion of proper joint preparation before adding intensity in athletic pursuits like her own. “I knew there was something different about to be gained from GymnasticBodies,” she said.
As she began training the Foundation Courses, Burnett found that there were no promises of quick transformations, no great results without consistent effort; no fluff, sloppiness or fancy gear required. And no BS.
A lightbulb went off when she heard Coach Sommer say: “If you train every range of motion, you’ll be strong in every range of motion,” she had to know more.
“The Courses humbled me as a seasoned athlete and diagnosed the imbalances causing the twinges, aches, and pains I was experiencing. This was something no coach, Sports Chiro/PT, or massage therapist had yet been able to do.”
The entirety of Burnett’s lifting career had been built around using weights to increase strength and power; there were no discussions in her training about joint prep as a precedent to increasing power.
“No one emphasized earning the right to touch a weight,” she said. “The lifting world treats wraps, straps, belts, and sleeves like prophylactics.”
Here is an excellent example of Weighted Shoulder Dislocates, a staple in Gerilyn's GST programming.
Recovering Strength and Reaching Goals
There are risks in any athletic pursuit, including competitions like Strongman – you have a higher chance of injury, and, like Burnett, develop imbalances along the way. It’s a part of being an athlete. But it’s important to remember that pre-habing the body as well as taking the time to work range of motion and mobility will pay off. Give those hard-working muscles the balanced treatment they need to sustain.
“As I worked through the GB Courses, I strengthened my lower abs, obliques, and increased hip mobility; plus, the chronic twinge in my back went away. As I increased shoulder mobility, stretched my bicep tendon, and strengthened my wrists, my wrist pain resolved.”
After attending a second GB Seminar, Burnett worked with Denver GB Affiliate Coach Orench to begin balancing lifting with GST to prep her return to competition.
“I would be lying if I told you this did not terrify me. I had questioned my decision to take time off 100 times over the past 6 months. Every time I watched a video of a friend lifting, I wanted to jump in. Every time I saw photos of competitions, I felt a pang in the pit of my stomach.
But this time my preparation was different. Every lift was balanced with mobility. Most of my assistance work was GST. Five weeks of lifting plus 10 weeks of contest prep produced drastically different results than the year before.”
Not only did her previous issues not return after lifting again, but she felt better and healthier during contest prep than ever before.
No trips to any professional needed.
She also reached both of her goals: to recover strength and to qualify for 2016 Nationals with a second place finish or higher.
The main strength event in Battle of the Belles VI was a max axle Clean & Press. “While I’d never maxed out on this lift before, I trained with 135 lbs on the log for multiple reps and sets the previous year. I reached my goal of lifting a 145 lb. axle at the contest.”
Her strength was more than recovered.
In many ways, the decision to take a break from competition and train GB Foundations was an experiment for Gerilyn. An experiment to see if GST could reverse impending injuries. An experiment to determine how long she could maintain strength and muscle mass without lifting. An experiment to see if she would really be better by doing the opposite of what all of her competitors were doing.
“My experiment ended up becoming a success that continues to pay dividends in my fitness and everyday health,” she said.
Although this is one woman’s story of how she supplemented her competitive training with GST, it’s just one of MANY. Burnett realized that strength without mobility is a recipe for injury and chronic pain, just as mobility training without strength will lead to the same. Using the GB Courses, our students and athletes across the globe learn how to balance their bodies so they can do MORE of the things they love; and win some competitions while they’re at it.