A gymnastics coach since 1996, Travis has coached competitive and recreational gymnastics at numerous clubs both Northern and Southern California, producing winning teams, athletes of college scholarships and has influenced thousands of happy kids, teens and young adults.

Prior to the 2015 CrossFit Games, Travis was approached by Invictus to give coaching to the Invictus Games team and athletes. He then fell in love with Invictus and the Sea of Green community and accepted the position of Gymnastics Specialist Coach in September of 2015. Travis now works with clients in-house from children to beginning-level adult athletes to CrossFit Games athletes.

Ever looked at a workout and thought “Why on earth are we doing this?” Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Invictus HQ when developing our programming and coaching? We got our Invictus Athlete specialty coaches on a Zoom call last week and let you ask them these things! 

There were a ton of great questions about coaching, mindset, programming, competition, lifting, gymnastics and so much more! Find out what the coaches really do when they are on Quarantine and get tips on how to approach your Quarantine training during and mounting your comeback to the gym and using equipment and heavy weights again.

Ring Straps: Long vs Short
Video by Travis Ewart

Strap length really does make a difference in the performance of ring swings, thus the muscle-up. Use this as a general guide to take into consideration at your gym to make the most out of your efforts on rings. Bear in mind that an athlete’s proportions do play a factor in how swings and muscle-ups behave.

Long Ring Straps

These allow for a longer and smoother swing with less immediate tension at the bottom of the swing. It is much easier to get a “bigger” swing on longer straps.

Why Gymnasts Use the Hollow Body Position
Video by Travis Ewart

The key position that needs to be established for most gymnastics movements is called ‘The Hollow Body Position’. In this video, Invictus Gymnastics Coach, Travis Ewart, discusses the hollow body shape and how it works in regards to artistic gymnastics as well as how that transfers over to CrossFit.

What is the Hollow Body Position?
Hollow Body Position on the Floor

The position calls for three main points touching the ground – your lower back, butt, and heels. 

  1. Legs and arms straight and together with toes and arms pointed.

Strict Muscle-Up Progressions: Good ‘Cheats’ & ‘Negatives’
Video by Travis Ewart

The ability to execute a strict muscle-up is by no means a simple task. It requires flexibility as well as a great amount of strength in both your ability to pull and your ability to press out of a very deep ring dip. It also requires quite a bit of body awareness and control. 

If you aren’t quite to your goal of achieving a strict muscle-up, try these ‘cheats’ help learn the movement pattern and how to shift the bodyweight for the strict ring muscle-up​.

How to Safely Cartwheel Dismount from a Handstand
Video by Travis Ewart

Are you afraid to work on your freestanding handstands or handstand walking because you aren’t confident with safely getting your feet back to the floor? Or maybe you’ve crashed and rolled a few times and are looking for an alternative dismount. You are not alone! Many have failed a handstand or handstand walk. Many have also injured (or frightened) themselves when crashing to the floor when they do. But fear no more – we have a solution for that!

Handstand Cartwheel Drill

In this video,

Handstand Walking Tips for Competition
Video by Ricky Moore

Handstand walking is already hard enough for most people without having it thrown into a workout for time. Here are some tips to keep you moving forward instead of falling all over the floor in 20.3.

Tips for Handstand Walking
Head position for Handstand Walking

Don’t crane your neck or try to look too far out in front of you. Instead, look 2-3 inches in front of your fingertips.

Let the Finish Line Come to You

Don’t rush to the finish line or look for it.

Toes-to-Bar Mount
Video by Travis Ewart

How hard are toes-to-bar? Well, it depends on how difficult you make them…

At Invictus Gymnastics we have seen so many great athletes struggle on many gymnastics movements in the gym and competition, and toes-to-bar is no exception. Difficulty of the toes-to-bar can escalate quickly if your body is swinging in a rhythm that isn’t supported by physics and balance, but rather raw strength. Though we may pride ourselves on how strong we are, there is no reasonable excuse for doing things the harder way when trying to complete a speedy task.

Bar Muscle-Up Swing: Slack is Bad
Video by Travis Ewart

Do you struggle with keeping in rhythm on Bar Muscle-Ups because you have a choppy swing? Do you feel like you might rip your shoulders out of their sockets when going for a big enough kip to get yourself over the bar? Even if it’s not all the way to dislocation status, just a little jarring can be concerning, especially if you are spending a lot of time and doing a high number of reps to practice the movement.

For the purpose of this video,

How to Start a Kip Swing from a Dead Hang
Video by Travis Ewart

Sometimes you don’t have the advantage of the perfect height pull-up bar. You know the one – where you can hang and kip without your toes touching but you don’t have to jump too far to get there. When forced to use a bar that isn’t within easy jumping reach, some resort to shimmying over onto the bar from a box or the j-hook on the upright. But that not only takes time and could be hazardous to the clumsy athlete, but it also puts you in an awkward position for starting your kip since you are unable to use the bar mount like you’re used to. 

Comparing Kipping Pull-Ups
Written by Hunter Britt; Videos by Travis Ewart

In the world of CrossFit, there are multiple ways to skin a cat when it comes to performing a kipping pull-up. Many of us have faced the challenge of transitioning from a standard kip to the butterfly pull-up. Often, when I am watching people try to get the butterfly-like motion down, I can tell that people are overthinking the movement and they are making butterfly pull-ups much more complicated than they need to.

Pull-Up Motion

So let’s talk about the motion for both the regular kip and the butterfly pull-up.

Kipping Handstand Push-Ups: Tips for Competition
Video by Ricky Moore

You might have noticed that we don’t usually program kipping handstand push-ups in our programs at Invictus. This is because we care about your cervical spine and because you can get much stronger doing the strict version anyway. But with the Open on the horizon, it’s time to start practicing your technique with this movement.

We do not recommend you kip your handstand push-ups until you can safely complete at least 5 handstand push-up negatives @ 31A2 tempo where you are able to GENTLY touch your head to the ground (not crash down on it).

Bar muscle-ups can be a difficult movement for even the most seasoned athletes to link together. When it comes to stringing more reps of this movement together, the drop-down swing is an important piece to examine.

Bar Muscle-Up: Tips for the Drop-Down Swing 
Video by Travis Ewart

The bar muscle-up is many-a-CrossFitter’s favorite movements! If you already have bar muscle-ups but are struggling to do more than one at a time, here are some tips to help you start stringing together multiple reps each set.

Now, before you try to attempt this,

Gymnastics Drill: Target Reach Swing for Bar Movements
Video by Travis Ewart

Invictus Gymnastics Coach, Travis Ewart, shares tips and this drill for perfecting your kip swing for bar muscle-upstoes-to-bar, and pull-ups. The purpose of the drill is to finding that perfect, consistent position when you mount the bar to guide your feet into the same spot each rep so that you set yourself up for success with the rest of the movement.

What you’ll need is a bumper plate and a bar with a height that allows you to swing without touching the floor or the plate.