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It should not have been a surprise that strict muscle ups were part of the 2016 CrossFit Games Regionals. We have seen skills and weight increase in difficulty. For example, in the 2014 Crossfit Games Regionals we saw strict handstand push ups become the standard and has remained so since then. It appears that it now has become the same for ring muscle ups; from kipping to strict, and will probably remain the standard in elite competition.
In a July 2014 Box Life Magazine article, Olympic gymnast and former CrossFit Gymnastics lead coach, David Durante wrote an article titled False Grip On The Muscle-Up: To Use or Not To Use. In the article, Durante talks about the differences in the kipping muscle up (front uprise) and the strict muscle up, and how building proper foundational strength and technique in the strict will help with the kipping. He goes on to say:
"Essentially, what building strength and proper technique allows you to do is be ready for anything. If the standards change next year and strict muscle-ups (or another variation) are required, most people would have to start over from scratch in the way they approach ring training. Working towards one particular skill without consideration for foundations puts you in a box that does not allow for adaptation. Building strength and body awareness will allow you to be prepared for any standard that might be thrown your way. Change is on its way, so set your foundation now. The muscle-up is just the beginning."
Well, things did change. Now the question is what's the next progression in gymnastics skills we will see in the CrossFit Games? If I had to make a prediction I think it is going to be the backward roll to support (known as the felge in gymnastics) or the back uprise.
In December 2013 CrossFit HQ posted a video of Greg Gassman teaching the backward roll to support and offering a commemorative t-shirt to the first 500 athletes who posted a video of themselves completing the skill. Additionally, in April 2014 HQ posted this video of Durante coaching Spealer through the back uprise.
Could these videos be foreshadowing of what is to come to competition? Regardless of the outcome, be prepared for the knowable and unknowable. Start working on your foundational skills. First advice, start by cleaning up your swing on the rings.