Make the difficult things look easy.


Movement virtuosity in the gym is showing high technical skill when performing a movement.


This is easily recognized when someone looks extremely comfortable in the bottom of an overhead squat. When learning to overhead squat, some people can get into that bottom position with ease, but for most that is not the case. Most people you see getting into good positions in the squat, a handstand, or even toes to bar, have spent time practicing how to do these with better form. And yes, some people pick this up naturally, but that’s not the case for the majority of athletes.

Developing movement virtuosity requires drastically slowing things down.


In regards to gymnastics this would be practicing strict exercises before practicing kipping exercises. The primary use of kipping is to help perform reps faster. That’s it. The kip is not intended to make pull ups feel easier. Kipping is a tool used to get more reps done in a shorter amount of time. It’s a skill reserved for those who can use it safely. 


Practicing and/or training strict toes to bar builds the strength and coordination required for safe and efficient progression into the kipping toes to bar. It shows a higher level of body awareness on the bar. Work your way up to doing 5-10 strict toes to bar and see your kipping toes to bar drastically improve.

The same concept can be seen with pull ups. Someone with the capacity to do 20 strict pull ups will make kipping pull ups look quite easy. Develop strength in the strict variations and see the kipping numbers skyrocket. You can show a higher level of motor control by being able to slow things down and strengthen the proper muscles needed for virtuous movement.


When weightlifting, spend time in the difficult positions.


Apply this if you have a hard time keeping tension in the bottom of the squat when catching a clean or snatch. Hold the bottom position for 3-5 seconds before standing. Train the body to be strong and comfortable in the difficult positions. If you’re having trouble locking out at the top of a push press for jerk then spend more time in the locked out position. Hold the bar overhead for a few seconds before bringing it down. Adapting your muscles and connective tissues in these positions help the joints stay strong.

When your body is strong and comfortable in these difficult positions you now have a better foundation to keep progressing.


The same can be said for most exercises. Practice being in a handstand, holding your chin above the bar, holding an L-sit, or staying in the bottom of a back squat. Static positions paired with slow-controlled movement help develop the proper stability and strength needed to perform these movements with virtuosity.


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