Gymnastics Training Exercises For Beginners
When one hears gymnastics training exercises for beginners, some immediately assume it's going straight to the mats and performing cartwheels or jumps; false! Contrary to what is assumed, most gymnasts develop a good portion of their strength and endurance off the mat. There are important aspects of a beginner gymnasts' body, most notably their strength, flexibility, and endurance that must be developed in other ways before they can grab that bar or walk along that beam. For any beginning gymnast, here are five ways that you can develop or fine tune your body in order to become stronger and more successful at your new craft.
- Yoga. While strength is an obvious necessity, you're going to need to be able to comfortably extend the range of your muscles if you want to impress the judges at the competition. Since many of the postures in yoga are based on heavy breathing and emphasize the gradual extension of muscles, it is one of the more calming yet more challenging methods to not only increase flexibility, but also develop positive breathing techniques and muscle stamina.
- Swimming. Instead of developing your cardio by running, which can actually be detrimental to a gymnast since the hard surfaces can erode the cartilage of the joints over time, swimming is an excellent way to build a lung capacity and upper body strength that can will be incredibly useful on the gymnastics mat. Beginning gymnasts may also enjoy swimming because the resistance used is their own body weight, which gives an incredibly full body workout and is much easier on the joints, especially the knees and ankles.
- Plyometric Workouts. Any workout that uses your body as the weight should be an integral part to your beginning gymnast workout. A good example of two workouts that are based on plyometrics is a plank, which helps develop and stabilize the core and lower back, and pull-ups, which help open up the back and are particularly effective at cutting up the wing-shaped latissimus dorsi and the forearms. The best part about these workouts is that there are numerous ways to increase the challenge, such as performing push-ups while in doing a two minute plank, or adding leg weights while doing pull-ups; the possibilities are truly endless and they will really help to give you control of your body.
- Boxing. Nobody is saying you have to compete in the Golden Gloves, but gymnasts will find that boxers have workouts that help develop muscle groups and endurance that will be needed on the mat. Lightly sparring or punching heavy bags is an excellent way to develop cardiovascular endurance while building lean muscle. By working them out together, you can become accustomed to how heavy your body is and will be able to control your movements for long periods of time. Other workouts that boxers use are jumping rope and shadow boxing with light dumbbells, both which serve to shred the core and build agility and stamina.
- Trampoline and Mats. You don't have to be at the gymnast's mat to practice your jumps and flips, but you still need to practice them. Using a trampoline at home or using mats, even yoga mats, can allow you to practice developing jumps you are starting to learn. Not only that, but all the jumping and flipping that you are doing really works up a sweat and can help develop leg muscles and build stamina. Another idea to use the mats is to use them to practice handstands, because the softer surface will not be so hard on your hands and they are essential to doing a myriad of different tricks. For the handstands, start by pushing your body against a wall, then over time, slowly move away from it in order to develop better balance and muscle stability.