When the Olympics is on, few spectacles capture the imagination more than the gymnastics events. These athletes’ other worldly strength, power and flexibility seems almost unattainable, but these attributes are within your grasp because gymnastics is pretty much resistance training with bodyweight and you don’t have to be five years old to begin.
Regardless of the capacity in which you do your gymnastic moves, your endurance, flexibility, strength and physique will all improve. The only downside to starting gymnastics as an adult are that you need to be patient in mastering basic skills and safely progressing to more advanced skills.
Here are a few basic gymnastic skills to start. Warm-up properly beforehand with foam rolling and a treadmill walk.
Skill: Improves flexibility
A) Kneel on the floor extend one leg straight out in front. Gently slide forward to where you can hold it comfortably while keeping front leg as straight as possible and eventually your back leg, too. Having yoga blocks on each side can help to support you. Repeat on the other leg.
Skill: Core and upper body strength. 12-15 reps.
A) Assume a push-up position while keeping your feet wider than hip-width apart.
B) Round and hollow out your back. Tuck your chin in and drag your feet forward, keeping your hands still and your shoulders over wrists. Return and repeat.
Treadmill plank walk
Skill: Core strength and postural power. One minute.
A) Set the treadmill to a slow speed. Assume a push-up position with your hands on the treadmill and feet on the floor.
B) Walk using your hands while keeping your core engaged. Rest 1-2 minutes and repeat this sequence twice.
Skill: Core strength and focus. 15-20 reps.
A) Lay on your back, face up with your arms extended over your head and legs extended straight out.
B) Lift your feet and hands off the ground about 1-2 inches; exhale as you do so. Return to the floor and repeat.
Skill: Cardiovascular and leg strength. 20-30 reps.
A) Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent for stability.
B) Jump up and tuck both knees up toward your chest; you can hold your hands in front and bring your knees to them if that helps. Repeat on landing.
Skill: Balance, endurance. Two minutes.
A) Set the treadmill to a 15% incline then walk backwards for two minutes on an incline of 15%. Keep your hands up above your head and maintain a speed where you will not lose your balance. Rest 1-2 minutes and repeat this sequence twice.
Stability ball back bends
Skills: Flexibility in chest and shoulders. 12-15 reps.
A) Start low in a squat position with knees bent on a stability ball. Keep your feet hip width apart with lumbar and thoracic spine against the ball. Keep your arms out in front.
B) Straighten your legs and fold over the ball in to a back bend.
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