Gymnastics Speed Training
When it comes to gymnastics speed training, there really is no such thing. Gymnastics training tends to focus more on strength, flexibility and overall coordination. Speed is not all that important to a gymnast. Gymnastics does not require them to move very fast, except when doing a floor exercise or the running start to a vault exercise. Those are the only times a gymnast needs to worry about speed. Gymnasts need to be in top physical shape at all times. The grueling physical demands of some of the routines requires nothing less. A good training program that emphasizes cardio fitness will do that for you.
- Aerobics are one good example of this. Some coaches like to have their athletes jumping rope. Not only does it improve overall fitness, it will help improve your coordination, speed and reflexes. Speed training, or isometric exercise, uses the muscles of the body against each other. There are no weights, balls, bars or ropes. It's just you and your muscles. Isometric exercises utilize stretching certain muscle groups, while providing the appropriate resistance against others. This increases muscle strength and flexibility. It also trains the body's responses when it comes to moving faster.
- Isometric exercise can also benefit you in another way. Not only will it help improve muscle strength and response time, it will also help to reduce injuries. An athlete that isn't properly warmed up is 70 percent more likely to be injured than the one that did all the warm-ups. Any coach of any sport will tell you that. Isometric exercises are good because they utilize stretching so much, which will reduce muscle wear and fatigue, thus saving you some pain in the long run. One big advantage that speed training or isometric exercise can bring to gymnastics is obvious. One of the greatest strengths of a gymnast is in their legs. Isometric squats and calf raises gently exercise and stretch the muscles in the legs and calves. The calves are the hardest muscles in the body to exercise, so special attention should be paid to this.
- Isometric hip exercises can add speed and flexibility in a different way. The hips affect the way the body turns, which is very important to a gymnast. Over a period of time this will help increase strength as the muscles become stronger with repeated use. As with anything else, the key to speed training or isometric exercise is to make sure it is done correctly. Done the wrong way, it can cause more harm than good.
- Isometrics are simple, no equipment is needed. One of the most important things to remember is to breathe normally. Some people tend to forget that, and will either hold their breath or breathe faster when it isn't necessary; it can actually be harmful to your workout. Another key to success with isometrics is repetition. If you do two stretches, chances are you aren't going to feel much different. If you do three sets of ten stretches, chances are much better you will feel it. If done correctly, isometric exercise or speed training can be an asset in gymnastics or any other sport.
Remember, it is not about how fast you get there in the long run. No pun intended. But gymnastics isn't about speed, it's about coordination and flexibility, balance and strength. Granted, you gain some advantages in participating in these workouts. A prepared athlete is a healthy one. Be well and have fun.