When Jacked Gymnastics Dropped Into CrossFit Colchester

On Sunday 7th January, CrossFit Colchester had the pleasure of Jacked Gymnastics’ company at the box, when Matt James, Owner and Head Coach, delivered a Gymnastics Seminar to a handful of The Athlete Program athletes.

09:00 – 10:30 Ring Work

The day began with a quick introduction (and a delicious cup of coffee from CFC’s Fresh Cafe) and then it was into the gym to warm up for the first session: Ring work.

Ring muscle ups are one of those tricky gymnastic moves that stump many a CrossFitter. There are few things more impressive than watching someone jump up, grab the rings, and bang out a few of these babies!

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Matt explained how our athletes could fine-tune and perfect their RMU technique, demonstrating how to make the move more efficient, and talked about how to increase volume by improving lactate clearance rate. Our athletes felt the burn coupling ME ring muscle ups with steady STOH with a PVC pipe to help flush the lactic acid from the working muscles.

11:00 – 12:30 Handstands and HSPU

After a short break, Matt turned the seminar on its head (#sorrynotsorry) and took our athletes through some handstand drills. As well as building confidence for those less proficient at being upside down at all, Matt helped the more advanced athletes with their kick up, tumble, and walking techniques. From having straight legs, a bend at the knees, or kicking as the hands “step”, the athletes raced one another, testing which method worked best for them – more shoulder burn, and a great core workout from laughing with one another!


When it came to the handstand push ups, Matt provided more lactate flushing drills between ME strict handstand push ups – cue more laughter!

13:30 – 15:00 Bar Work

After lunch, and a gruelling morning, Matt dropped the volume for the work on the bar. Up first: kipping bar muscle ups.

Another impressive gymnastic move, that many CrossFitters struggle with, Matt broke down the bar muscle up and helped our athletes tweak their techniques for better, more efficient reps. With the group being of mixed ability in this department, Matt split athletes into two, letting the more proficient share one area of the rig to work on stringing together multiple reps, offering more of a boost (both physically and mentally!) in a separate area to those who needed it. As well as being very, very knowledgeable, Matt is also very, very patient!


Toes To Bar took up the second half of the third session, and again, a straight-leg-vs-bent-leg debate was first on the agenda. Under the guidance of Matt, the athletes tried both versions, using a lift and kick for a strong kip, or a straight leg for anyone with hamstrings that could cope.

15:15 – 16:45 Foundational Development & Mobility

The final session in the Jacked Gymnastics seminar focused on our athletes’ mobility. A lot of emphasis is put on the importance of mobility in CrossFit, and it’s an area that almost all of us would do well to make more time for. It benefits recovery, it benefits performance, and with so many variants, it’s fun too.

Matt wrote up a full body complex for the group to take on, explaining the reasoning behind static, ballistic, dynamic, active, passive, isometric, and assisted stretching.

While the group had a go at everything Matt threw their way, in practice, the athletes will be using the movements to target certain areas of the body for longer stretching session, or for more repetitions, rather than going for the full body every time.

Perfect preparation for The European Championships

With The European Championships just round the corner, the Jacked Gymnastics seminar could not have come at a better time for the athletes competing. Matt’s knowledge and patience through the whole day, as well as the drills he passed on, gave everyone who attended something to take away, and something to work on.

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