Do high level skills matter? (double unders, muscle ups, handstand pushups, etc.)
Are you looking to compete?
Do you want to impress your friends?
Are you bored?
If you answered yes to those questions, then sure they matter. As cheesy as those sound, they are all valid answers.
If you plan to compete, then you need to be able to do all the things asked of you in the competition if you want to score better. That could be in a full on competition or in the daily leaderboard at the gym. If competition drives you then by all means, spend the extra time working on the harder stuff. The key here is that you are driven to keep working. It keeps you showing up every day and striving to get better. Being that competitive person in the class isn’t a bad thing. When people ask what is the best fitness routine/program to accomplish a goal, my answer is “whatever can get you going and keep you going”
A few weeks ago I saw a post from a CrossFit coach that I highly respect. He called handstand push ups a “party trick” and said we should stop worrying about them. In a sense, I agree. If your goal is to be fit, then you don’t have to do them. Shortly after, someone asked me the point of a muscle up. I went through the concepts behind what a muscle up can work, and the other skills you can improve along the way. I finished it up with, “it looks cool”. There is a certain level of ego in all fitness pursuits and again that is something that keeps us going. We all want to be the cool kid in the group. Some of us are more motivated than others for that cool kid status. It’s totally cool to have the desire to do something because it looks cool because it will keep us training and learning new skills.
Are you bored? If you are hitting every workout as written or modified to your skill level on a consistent basis, and you want to move to the next level because you’ve done enough jumping or banded pull ups for your lifetime. Then it’s time to take a few weeks do dedicate to moving up the progression ladder. While hitting the next level won’t necessarily help you lose weight, it can keep you going. Again, it’s all about the progress. Trying to level up just because you’re tired of where you are is completely valid.
If you are not motivated by any of those or any other reason, should you learn them. Short answer is not really. On muscle up practice day, should you go hide in the bathroom? Absolutely not! Each high level skill is broken down into a series of steps that we use to build up to the bigger goal. Those smaller steps will help you in other aspects as well. The muscle up includes a chest to bar pull up, controlled kip, body control to move over the bar, and a dip or press up to get to full extension. These components will all help you with general fitness. So work on them, but don’t stress if you don’t get it. Put in a solid effort to work on the components and your fitness will improve.
So you don’t need these high level skills to be fit. You can be incredibly fit and healthy and never even pick up a jump rope much less do double unders. The skills aren’t necessary, but they can certainly make it more fun! If you want to work on these skills and improve them, set up a time to chat about it!