Strengthening Exercises Help to Prevent Gymnastic Injuries

/ July 13th, 2012/ Posted in Fitness / Comments Off on Strengthening Exercises Help to Prevent Gymnastic Injuries

Gymnastics requires flexibility, strength and power. Most gymnasts know the importance of hamstring, hip, back and shoulder flexibility. The following strengthening exercises will help improve the gymnast’s performance and help minimize the risk for injury. Since the gymnast may not have access to a weight room, these exercises can be done without weight equipment.

Key Points for All Exercises
Stretch prior to and after strengthening. Strengthen throughout the full range of motion. Use proper form at all times. Overload the area with a gradual progression of repetitions in an effort to prevent overuse injuries. Rest between sets for the same muscle group. Include 15 to 20 repetitions for each exercise. Repeat each circuit two to three times. Stop if the exercise becomes painful.

Strengthening Exercises

Feet together
Squat down to a sitting position — do not go lower
Knees should point over second toe
Return to standing

Squat Jumps
Feet together
Bend knees to a squat
Jump as high as possible
Land with feet together

Calf Raises
Stand on beam with feet together and heels hanging over edge
Lift up heels
Slowly return to start

Hamstring Curls
Stand with thigh against a wall
Curl lower leg toward buttocks
Have a partner provide resistance or lie with upper body on pommel horse (lengthwise)
Curl lower leg up toward buttocks
Have a partner provide resistance

Keep elbows near your sides
Keep body straight
At the end, push body up to hollow position
Progress to handstand pushups

Handstand Pushup
Perform handstand against a wall (have a partner provide support if needed)
Squeeze buttocks tightly
Tighten abdominal muscles
Lower body toward mat slowly
Push back up into handstand position

Grab uneven bar with palms facing your body
Keep body straight
Pull body up toward bar
Slowly lower body back to starting position

Pelvic Tilts
Lie on back with knees bent
Flatten back by tightening stomach muscles and buttocks
Hold for five seconds then relax

Back Extensions

Lie on stomach with arms reaching overhead. Arch the back by lifting up upper body and legs. Hold position for 30 seconds.

Lie on back with knees bent, arms folded across chest
Tighten abdominal muscles
Sit up
Return slowly to start position

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