There’s no denying the sheer strength of a competitive gymnast. While they may not rely on fancy equipment or technology to achieve their fitness goals, there are no shortcuts. Serious gymnasts spend countless hours training and perfecting their form.
Benefits of adding gymnastics to your workout
Of course, increased strength and flexibility are the obvious benefits of adding gymnastics to your workout routine. However, learning proper form and technique takes time and patients, which is something most people have little of these days. Those who are willing to commit will also strengthen their minds, learning to appreciate small, hard-earned gains.
How gymnasts build strength
Strength training with gymnastics focuses on using your body weight as the source of resistance. The tension and contraction of muscles that occurs is what builds muscles and overall strength. Many of the exercises involve muscles throughout the entire body, which means you’re not focusing on one particular body part over another.
How to train like a gymnast
When competitive gymnasts train using their own body weight, they often have to increase the difficulty of the exercise they perform, as they can’t just add more weight like you would to a piece of equipment at the gym.
There are a few basic moves that all new gymnasts must learn, and that’s a good place to start when you’re adding gymnastics to your strength training routine.
A forward roll might not sound like it will do much for your strength training. However, being able to do a forward roll is key to many other gymnastics moves, making this an imports skill to master early on.
Starting position: Squat on a soft surface, such as thick carpeting or an exercise mat. You should be leaning forward with your hands on the ground in front of you.
Next: Tuck your chin toward your chest and place the top of your head between your hands. Your heels should be off of the ground, making it easier for you to push forward and roll your hips over your head.
Final position: Once you feel your feet passing over your head, push downward with your hands for an extra boost to get you back to a standing position.
The L-seat is another important exercise for gymnasts, as it’s a base component of many gymnastic routines, especially the rings and the bars.
Starting position: Sit on the floor between a pair of flat-sided dumbbells with your hands on the bars. With your hands gripping the dumbbells, straighten your arms as you pull your shoulders down toward the ground.
Next: While bending your knees toward your chest, raise your legs as well as your glutes up off the ground.
Final position: Slowly lower yourself down to the starting position.
Hollow Body Hold
The hollow body hold is key to gymnastics form, as it teaches you how to tense and support your body using you abdominal muscles.
Starting position: Lying on your back, with legs extended and feet together.
Next: Keep your legs straight and point your toes outward while extending your arms over your head. Your elbows should be straight and you should be facing the ceiling.
Final position: Using your core, lift both your arms and your legs off of the ground. You should be squeezing your abdominal muscles and pressing your lower back into the floor. If you’re doing it correctly, your body will take on a crescent shape.
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