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Gymnastics Article – Simulate the Skills with Straight Arm Conditioning
We all know that there are so many different coaching methods, training programs and coaching personalities. Many gymnastics coaches are successful in strengthening their gymnasts, but they don’t necessarily incorporate enough sport-specific training into their programs. I’ve seen gymnasts benefit from general strength exercises such as push-ups, but when it comes time to perform certain skills, the gymnast’s muscles aren’t always prepared, used to the movement sequence for the skills, or strong enough. in each position required to safely complete the skill.
Gymnasts really need a variety of workouts to include sport specific training in addition to general strength conditioning to more closely simulate the skills of our sport. For example, many straight arm exercises such as the front side raise, handstand press, or plank exercises more closely simulate gymnastic skills than bent arm exercises such as push-ups, bench presses, or dips. reversed.
Here’s a straight arm exercise that has helped many gymnasts strengthen their chest, shoulder, and back muscles, getting stronger in two very important moves. Since the gymnast must often be able to open and close the angle of the shoulder during uneven bars skills, I have included a very useful drill that incorporates both upward and downward movements low. This one should help him learn to effectively transition from one arm motion to another with ease. Imagine your gymnast performing a glide kip, cast handstand, clear handstand on the hips. She will have to reverse the shoulder movements several times in this short period of time. Once you see the shoulder movements needed to connect these skills, you’ll understand why I integrated two exercises into one exercise over a decade ago. This exercise actually alternates the movements of opening then closing the angle of the shoulder.
Lie Up Cast/Kip Drill (bar/toning bar)
1. Spot your gymnast during this exercise. Give her full instructions before she begins the exercise.
2. Setup: Have your gymnast lie on their back between two folded panels with their arms above their head. His head should stay between the mats, but his hands and wrists should go past the mats to allow the bar to almost touch the floor after being lifted overhead for a full range of motion.
3. Folded mats should be a few inches higher than your gymnast when lying between them for safety reasons. The bar should be long enough that each end can rest in the center of one of the mats. The bar will be lifted and put back on the mats without touching your gymnast. There should be enough room for your gymnast to slide in or out while the bar rests on the mats. While you spot your gymnast, the mats will also help keep the bar from touching them. If one mat on each side is not high enough, please use two folded mats on each side. If the bar is lowered too quickly or falls, it should land on the mats, not your gymnast. This is a very safe exercise when the coach and gymnast keep safety in mind.
4. After the mats are installed, place the bar on the mats and make sure it will not fall between the mats or roll away.
5. Starting position: Once the mats and the bar are in place, have your gymnast sit between the mats, slide their legs under the bar, then lie down. She should position herself so that the bar is above her hips.
6. Once in position, allow your gymnast to grab the bar and then straighten their arms. Ask your gymnast to keep their arms straight, but not locked.
7. Be careful that the bar does not move into an unsafe starting position.
8. Next, have him lift the bar toward the ceiling, then toward the floor above his head to simulate a movement from the cast to the handstand with his upper body.
9. Remind your gymnast to continue to hold the bar firmly, then let them lift the bar off the floor, up to the ceiling again, then lower it to the mat above their hips to simulate a kip with the top of his body.
10. Allow your gymnast to continue with more repetitions if she is able. Advise her that it should be one continuous motion once she is comfortable.
11. Your gymnast will probably need more room to raise the bar from the mat (the initiation phase) which involves the shoulders (deltoids) than she will need during the return phase which involves the back muscles. back (latissimus). Be ready to identify all the phases of this exercise. You can ask a trainer to spot each portion. To spot the mat lift, kneel down on one of the mats to help your gymnast lift off the mat. Kneel by his head to spot the elevator from the ground. Make sure you can reach the bar, especially when it is above your gymnast’s body.
12. Start with the lightest bar possible, maybe even a broomstick to ensure proper security and form. Once accustomed to this exercise, your gymnast can use weights on a barbell or a toning bar, but this should always depend on their strength and experience. If you’re using a barbell without weights, you can wrap a thick towel around each end to keep your gymnast’s knuckles from touching the floor.
The second exercise is more obvious. This one also helps the gymnast with specific gymnastics skills as she will be in and out of a headstand. The Plank – Virtual Handstand – Plank Drill is a great exercise for body contraction, control, upper body strength and core strength. This exercise is an appropriate exercise for gymnasts at many levels, including those who are expected to perform the molded headstand and the clear headstand on the bars in the near future.
1. Have your gymnast stand with their back to a cue block or pile of mats, place their hands on the floor, then place one foot/ankle on the block. Once your gymnast has one foot/ankle on the block, she can then place her other foot/ankle on the block.
2. Now your gymnast should be in a high push-up position with their feet on the block. Your gymnast’s legs, hips and chest should not touch the ground throughout this exercise.
3. Now that your gymnast is in a raised push-up position, have them bring their hands closer to the cue block and their shoulders forward to form a slight plank position.
4. Once your gymnast is in a plank position with their feet on the block, have them squeeze their butt and then tuck their navel. You should see your gymnast’s lower back lengthen into the correct lower back position for a headstand (pelvic tilt).
5. Once your gymnast has formed the correct form with their lower body, have them push off the floor and simultaneously pull on their chest. The part of your gymnast’s back between their shoulder blades should rise toward the ceiling. Your gymnast has just performed a protraction / shrug in a plank push up position. To help teach the shrug, touch the part of your gymnast’s back that sits between their shoulder blades and have them push up on your hand to form the rounded back.
6. Ask your gymnast to maintain this tight form for the rest of the exercise.
7. To begin the exercise, have your gymnast lift one of their legs towards the ceiling, but keep their other foot/ankle on the block. Your gymnast’s body, with the exception of the foot/ankle still supported on the block, must have moved as one unit to single leg handstand or virtual handstand. The leg pointing towards the ceiling should be the one that forms the headstand with the upper body.
8. Your gymnast’s shoulders, hips and one ankle should be directly over their hands while the other leg remains supported on the block. Inform your gymnast that their hips and shoulders should remain perpendicular to the block. His buttocks should be down, belly in, hips open, chest in, and shoulders in a shrugged/stretched position. Staying square and tight is not always easy for the gymnast.
9. Once your gymnast is in the correct single or virtual legstand position, they can begin the return movement by slowly lowering their free leg toward the block and shifting their shoulders forward slightly so that she returns to the push-up position of the plank. Your gymnast’s body should move as a single unit to the starting position. Have your gymnast keep their head in line with their spine, neither tucked in nor tilted back.
10. Next, have your gymnast return to single or virtual leg support position by lifting their free leg above their hips so that it is vertical except for their supporting leg. She should also open her armpits up and align her shoulders and hips with the block. Your gymnast needs to align their shoulders and head to regain the correct handstand form. Have your gymnast look at the floor just above their hands for the plank, then the block for the headstand.
11. Once your gymnast understands the movement from the virtual handstand to the plank and back to the handstand, ask her to do a few reps before stopping if she is able.
12. Advise your gymnast not to floor too far forward until she builds strength and becomes very comfortable not to collapse.
13. You should also tell your gymnast to communicate when she is tired so that you can allow her to rest. This exercise puts tremendous pressure on your gymnast’s wrists. You should allow him to rest when he communicates that his wrists are tired.
This exercise, when performed correctly, closely simulates the shoulder movements of the headstand cast and the headstand released on the uneven bars. You can use a floor bar as long as the floor bar is stable.
The constant change in shoulder angle causes a change in demand on your gymnast’s upper body muscles. Your gymnast should build strength in a wide range of positions after performing this exercise frequently and consistently over time.
As you can see, these exercises are so different from push-ups because of the straight arm workout that so closely simulates gymnastic skills. Your gymnast’s entire upper body will be challenged with this exercise. If performed frequently and regularly, this exercise should help immensely with overall upper body strength in addition to specific calisthenics skills.
While push-ups and bench presses are great exercises, they don’t really simulate the gymnastic skills of female gymnasts. Gymnastics skills must be simulated in a safe manner in order to train a gymnast’s mind and body to perform gymnastics skills safely and effectively.
Karen M. Goeller
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