- List of Gymnastics Exercises
List of Gymnastics Exercises
The sport of gymnastics is more than flashy routines you see on the competition stage. Gymnasts practice up to 30 hours a week and have regiments full of conditioning and exercises. Let's learn about the most common gymnastics exercises and how they help gymnasts perform!
A gymnast's core is one of the strongest parts of their body. Most gymnastics skills require a strong core that can endure long periods of usage. These core exercises are meant to help gymnasts strengthen this part of their body.
- Hollow Body Hold: A hollow body hold is a common exercise in almost every gymnastics workout. It is also a body position that will be utilized in many gymnastics skills. This exercise requires gymnasts to lie on their backs and use their core to lift their arms, legs, and head off the floor. They will hold this position to work their core muscles.
- Arched Body Hold: This exercise is similar to a hollow body hold, but instead of being on their back, the athlete does this exercise on their stomach. They will then lift up and hold their arms and legs. This is a position that gymnasts use for certain skills so it is good to strengthen these muscles.
- V-Ups: This exercise is meant to build core muscles. First, lie on the floor on your back. Then, lift your torso and legs at the same time and meet them in the middle, creating a "V" shape with your body. When lowering your legs back down, don't let them fall to the floor; instead, hold them slightly above the ground before lifting them back up again.
Strength is a major aspect of any type of gymnastics. To perform the skills they do, almost every part of a gymnasts body needs to be conditioned and powerful. In practice, gymnasts will do conditioning to build strength as well as practice skills. Below are some common strength-building exercises
- Calf Raises: In this exercise, gymnasts condition their calves and ankles. You start by standing on the edge of a mat or block with your toes on the surface and your heels hanging over the edge. Quickly go up on your toes, and then slowly lower back down. Several repetitions of this will work the calf muscles and increase gymnasts' explosivity and strength.
- Handstand Walks: This exercise can help gymnasts with their core muscles, balance, and arm and wrist strength. First, start by doing a handstand up against a wall. Once you feel comfortable with your balance, you can start trying without a wall. Eventually, you will get into a handstand position and alternate hand positions so you can move across the floor.
- Pull ups and Chin Ups: These exercises are key to any sort of arm training across many sports. Gymnasts can do pull ups and chin up on specific bars, or on the actually uneven and horizontal bars. This exercise not only works the arms, but can improve grip strength as well and gymnasts hold onto the bar.
Warm Up Exercises
Just like in any sport, gymnasts have to warm up before practicing. If they don't, their muscles won't be ready for the skills that they perform and they will be more likely to injure themselves. Here are some common ways that gymnasts warm up:
- Foam Rolling: Using foam rollers is one of the first things that gymnasts will do to warm up their muscles before a practice or competition. These rollers will help stretch out the muscles used for gymnastics, and athletes can do this on areas that they know might give them extra trouble.
- Kneeling Rockers: This exercise is great for warming up before practice. You will sit on the ground with your legs beneath you and the top of your feet touching the floor. Put your hands on the ground for balance and push off your feet up to move your hips forward. This exercise can be done in repetition to warm your ankles up, helping to avoid rolled ankles during practice.
- Bridges: Bridges are used in gymnastics to stretch the back and arms, and to prepare gymnasts for skills that require back flexibility. First, start on the ground with your back on the floor. Plant your feet down on the ground and put your hands above your head, palms down. Then, press up with your hands and legs so that your torso is lifted in the air like a bridge. Press your weight toward your shoulders and hold. When you come out of this position, make sure to roll your back the other way to balance the stretch.
Similar to warming up, stretching is key for gymnasts both before and after practice. Stretching muscles warms them up and gives them the opportunity to wake up before you start pounding them with skills. Here are some common stretches used by gymnasts.
- Inverted Leg Stretch: This stretch is similar to touching your toes, but you will stand with your legs shoulder width apart and switch between touching your right foot with your right hand, and touching your left foot with your left hand. While you are reaching toward your foot, your other arm should be stretched out in the other direction. This stress is focused on increasing mobility during practice.
- Pike Stretch: A pike stretch is a pretty straightforward and commonly used gymnastics stretch. From a sitting position, the gymnast will stretch their legs out in front of them with their feet together. Then, they will reach with their arms and torso to reach their toes. This stretch works the quads, the calves, and the lower back.
- Straddle Stretches: A straddle stretch is similar to a pike stretch, however, the legs will be split in a straddle position instead of out in front of the gymnast. You can reach to the sides to touch your toes, or reach into the middle of your legs. This stretch also works the quads and back, as well as prepares the gymnast for the splits.
- Other common stretches that gymnasts use are: lunges, splits, neck stretches, and wrist and ankle stretches.