The Past, Present, and Future of Anti-Gravity: An Interview with Noah Abbott and Arturo Ruiz
Edited by Josh Schneiderman
CFSBK has been offering Anti-Gravity, a class focused on gymnastics and body-weight movements, for just about a year now. To celebrate this milestone, we decided to check in with Coaches Noah and Ro, the masterminds behind the program, to see how things are going. Enjoy!
When did you guys start offering AG classes, and what was your motivation?
Noah: We started AG about a year ago. I had been offering gymnastics skills workshops covering Kipping Pull-Ups, Muscle-Ups, Handstand Push-Ups, and other of the "higher skill" movements we see in CrossFit. While the workshops were successful, they were too periodic, and often didn't match people's schedules or give them consistent skill practice. Around the same time, Arturo and I had been talking about how we noticed that our membership's gymnastic skill and capacity seemed to be lagging behind their strength and Olympic lifting technique. We envisioned a full class that let people work gymnastic skill, strength, and capacity with better CrossFit performance as the goal (as opposed to getting better at gymnastics in a vacuum).
How has the class changed or evolved over the past year?
Ro: The program is pretty much the same as when it started. We tend to focus on movements that will help folks in group class and any of the special workouts like the Open WODs, “Murph,” and Fight Gone Bad. I think if it isn't broken, why should you fix it?
Noah: Yeah, we have played around with some different programming formats and tend to tailor programming a bit based on what is going on in group class and when the Open comes up, but it has largely remained the same. It runs very much like group class: warm-up, skill and strength work, conditioning.
What have you guys learned about coaching body-weight movements?
Noah: Like most of the stuff we do at CFSBK and in CrossFit in general, sexier isn't necessarily better. We spend a lot of time building a base of strength and making sure people have checked all the boxes in a progression before they move along. The needle often moves slowly, but it is always inexorably rising.
Ro: It’s just as hard, sometimes harder, as coaching everything else. Gymnastics movements require a lot of spatial awareness, balance, and strength--all while being as graceful as possible.
Who are these classes for? Do I need to be a certainly level of strength before I show up?
Noah: They are for everyone! We will have scaling for every movement for any level of ability, and since the classes are generally smaller than group class we can get really creative with scaling if something isn't working for someone.
What's the best way to fit AG into your training?
Noah: We had originally envisioned AG to stand alone as its own class, meant to replace a group class, but A LOT of people take group class and then AG, so we have made sure to make our programming not overlap too bad or punish people for doing both. There was a week or two in the beginning when people did 100 Burpees in group class and walked into AG and saw another 100 programmed! (We had them sub something else, and then made sure to check the group programming more closely before we programmed.)
Ro: Although many people take AG after group class, I recommend that you use it as a replacement class. Like I said, gymnastics movements require spatial awareness, balance, and strength. Taking it after a group class will usually make it more difficult to practice skills. I'm not saying not to come if you take group class before! I just think that if you are working on a new skill or trying to dial it in, you would benefit from being fresh.
How often should I take AG to get benefits out of it?
Noah: I think you'd benefit from dropping in randomly to get some skill practice and progressions to use on your own time, but I'd say at least 1x a week for some consistency and repeated practice.
What's in store for AG in the future? Noah is, sadly, leaving us. Will Arturo start coaching Sunday AG? Any other changes you're planning to make to the class structure/programming?
Ro: More of the same stuff as far as format goes, but I will be taking over Noah’s class on Sundays!
Anti-Gravity is open to all CFSBK members and experienced visitors. It counts towards your weekly limit with recurring memberships. Check it out at 7:30pm on Tuesdays and 2:00pm on Sundays.
Crow Hill Open 2016 Results
As we mentioned yesterday, Coach JB qualified for the American Open with a 71kg Clean and Jerk and a 51kg Snatch. Coach Katie went 5 for 6 and took first in her weight class. Coach Lady Fox took 2nd place in the Masters division, and Amanda Mc went 3 for 6 in her first meet and PRed her Clean! Over on the men's side, Coach Fox went 6 for 6 with an 87kg Snatch and a 115kg Clean and Jerk. Coach McDowell went 5 for 6 with a 108kg Snatch and a top Clean and Jerk of 125kg. Finally, Alex B. hit a 103kg Snatch and a 130kg Clean and Jerk. Congrats, guys! We're so proud of you!
Yesterday's Whiteboard: Bench Press / Bent-Over Row | Deadlifts, Burpees
The Reflection of Light Medium
Strongman Smashes Deadlifting Record, Immediately Passes Out Huffington Post