Last Thursday, Coaches Silvia, Dan and myself were invited down to an evening with Coach Carl Paoli, where he held a short workshop talking about what he does best, movement.

If you aren't familiar with Carl Paoli, he is the guy behind Gymnastics WOD, where you can go to check out lots of cool CrossFit Gymnastic stuff.

During Thursdays workshop Carl took us through his philosophy on movement and how using progressions is vital in learning to master the basics and even to continue to challenge movement.

Build the beginning, build the end. Work on the middle!
— Carl Paoli

With there being so many movements to master in CrossFit it can be difficult to know where to start on each one. 

Carl's approach to learning movement is by using progressions to learn the skill. And to start, you need to start at the beginning. 

It was refreshing to listen to Carl speak, as he doesn't believe in the "my way is best" method of teaching, which is pretty strong in the fitness world. Instead he believes there is no set structure or single best progression in learning a movement (although he does offer some great progressions on various movements, which we use on our skill days at Bold), but it is more productive to think of creating progressions as an ongoing process or taking measurements and constructing road maps.

On our skill days, we take you through numerous progressions for a movement. i.e. the handstand push up.

The beginning progression is getting you to balance on your head with your feet still on the ground. We then progress this in to knees on elbow whilst upside down, and then knees of elbow etc etc.

Each progression is just a small step away from the previous and a small step away from the next, with the end goal is to get you in to complete the movement. 

As we progress through these series of progressions for each movement, we can identify which areas an individual may need to focus on more to enable them, to one day, complete the movement. 

i.e if you cant balance on your head and hands, chances are you wont be able to balance on just your hands. 

This then gives you the framework to understand what is needed to complete the progression and advance to the next stage, allowing you to then focus on working on the missing piece -perhaps spending time on that part of the progression in open gym.

Once you have the progressions mapped out and start moving through them, you'll be on your way to conquering that movement. Whether its HSPU's, Muscle ups, pull ups etc.