For speed, flexibility, and (most of all) power, read up on these hard-hitting 10 gymnastic strength training tips. As part of a regular gymnast's routine, gymnastic strength training is accompanied by proper diet and stretching. Gymnastic strength training is always followed and proceeded with a holistic approach to the sport that does not forget other aspects of the body. So if you'd like to hear some good gymnastic strength training tips for the future, read on fellow athlete:
- Stretch, stretch, stretch. Yes, we know your high school track coach harped about this all day and night, but it really is important. Stretching relaxes tense muscles that will otherwise impair and hurt your long-term gymnastic strength training goals.
- Use isometric exercises. Many famous body builders, martial artists, and gymnasts such as Bruce Lee have touted the efficiency of isometric training. Gymnastic strength training can be benefited greatly by the concentration of particular positions so as to support the body in a variety of circumstances.
- Use flexibility exercises. Dynamic flexibility (the ability to engage movements in the full range of a joints motion) is key to gymnastic strength training. Popular forms such as the "trunk twist" are often used in beginner classes for many athletic disciplines (such as Yoga, Taekwondo, and Association Football).
- Use core exercises. At the middle of your body is the core: a complex series of muscles focused around the abdominal region. Your "abs", as they are commonly called, support most stretches, positions, and exercises in gymnastic strength training.
- Jog. Seriously, your legs require quite a bit of lean power in gymnastic strength training. Not only does running increase your leg mass, it also gives your cardiovascular system some "clearing out". You will be able to breathe more clearly and last longer with cardiovascular exercises.
- Pull-ups. "Kips", exercises performed by rotating vertically around a bar with fluid motion, need practice to be performed. Pull-ups work the back, shoulders, laterals, and biceps, which all work together to bring the gymnastic stunt known as the "kip" to life.
- Calf extensions. The lower part of the leg propels the body forward in many gymnastic exercises. Calf extensions, "tippy-toes", and rotating calves all work to build a powerful lower leg.
- Do not overstep your boundaries. You are not a power-lifter, you won't be lifting huge amounts of dead weight purely for the sake of active movement. Gymnasts often prefer lower weight with higher repetition. Luckily for you, high reps and low weights encourage both lean muscle development and newcomers who don't exactly know their limitations yet.
- Do not over-train. Known to avid body builders as simply "over training", doing too much also affects gymnasts. Those who have high metabolisms should stay away from exercise sessions lasting over an hour, and those with heavier sets should be encouraged to resist the temptation of working very hard in one session. Your body can only take so much gymnastic strength training until your productivity will actually vanish and muscular atrophy (the process of loosing muscle mass) will begin.
- Do be mentally tough. If there is one thing that can't be stressed enough is the mental toughness associated with long-term gymnastics. Meditation aids in this process, and even controlled music can help. Your mind will need to overcome fears and replace them with physics, logic, and mental strength in order to hold/pull-off various stunts.
Although not included in the above gymnastic strength training tips, bringing a partner along has been beneficial for some gymnasts. On the other hand, many find that another person distracts them from the focus required for gymnastics (thus, it hasn't been included in this list of gymnastic strength training tips). One thing is for certain, however: partner or not, always be safe when acrobatically maneuvering across those bars, okay? Good luck, and enjoy the sport!