As most are fairly familiar already, gymnastics requires extreme contortions that can really take a toll on their body without the proper training, but this isn’t just exclusive to gymnasts. The benefits of many exercises transfer from gymnastics over to other body training routines.
That’s why we’re giving you 5 essential gymnastics exercises you can do to prepare your body by making it more agile, flexible, and mobile. They will improve your core strength, make you less prone to injuries, and help you gain better balance.
These gymnastics exercises are great for beginners and can also be modified to challenge anyone of any skill level:
1. Invert Leg Stretch
Let’s start off with something simple, no need to jump right into the complicated things just yet. This leg stretch is a little bit different from just standing and touching your toes, we are looking to improve mobility which requires a little more effort than that. This mobility centered stretch helps to prepare the body for interactive workouts and exercises. Sports and CrossFit are two good examples of where this stretch would see the most benefits.
How to do it
While standing, separate both feet a little bit past shoulder width. Use the same side hand to whichever foot you are reaching for, so if you are touching your right foot it should be with your right hand. Lean to either side, touch your foot, and extend the opposite arm over your head.
It’s difficult to maintain straight legs, but try your best. As with most stretches, it’s best to rep in seconds so count to 10-15 seconds before alternating legs.
Basically, you want to avoid crossing your body over. It helps to do this with a point of reference in front of you. The point of reference (POR) is suppose to prevent bad posture (chest has to be facing POR) so if at any point your chest is pointed to the ground instead of the POR then posture needs to change. Think of the motion made when going into a cartwheel, chest open, one hand is on the ground, the other is reaching over. You get the idea.
2. Kneeling Rockers
A good way to warm up for any exercises involving your feet is kneeling rockers. This plantar flexion mobility stretch decreases the likelihood of potentially incredibly strenuous accidents from happening, like rolling your ankle. So let’s not make that a possibility and jump right into getting your body ready.
How to do it
Sit on the ground with legs underneath you, and the top of your feet flat against the floor. You should be positioned so that the bottom of your feet are undeath your butt. Now hold the ground on either side of you for balance and push your hips forward while using legs for support. This will cause quads to flex and helps test ankle resistance.
Here are time reps to go by:
- Beginner: 3 X 10 seconds
- Intermediate: 3 X 25 seconds
Spend the time you have in between sets (10-15 seconds) alternating resting and lifting your legs off the ground. Essentially you’ll be rocking back and forth with your legs underneath.
Due to the nature of this warm up it’s important to take note not to overextend the ankles while performing this stretch. Overextending can cause a number of things to happen, but the main being pulling a muscle.
- Katrin Davidsdottir: CrossFit Inc