Contents

10 ways to get ripped like a gymnast

“Most of gymnastics is about bodyweight exercises so you have to be able to lift your own weight in different situations,” says Whitlock. “We want a lean and light frame but we also have to be strong.”

To build real strength without unwanted bulk, switch to bodyweight exercises such as triceps dips, pull-ups, chin-ups, press-ups and leg raises.

2. COMPLETE THE SIX-PACK CIRCUIT

If you want the sculpted abs of a top British gymnast, you need to challenge your core muscles in as many ways as possible. “Before each training session we do a warm-up circuit which really works your mid-section from the front, the sides and the back,” explains Whitlock.

Although the Commonwealth Games star uses this routine for a simple warm-up, it will serve as a great abs workout for any amateur athlete in the gym. “The exercises include things like holds (e.g. planks), twists with a weighted plate, V-sits, rocking exercises (such as ‘the hollow rock’, in which you lie down, stretch out your arms and legs and rock gently forwards and backwards), sit-ups, and crunches with turns and twists. We do a minute of each exercise in the circuit.”

3. BECOME A LORD OF THE RING

If you’re going to master one piece of gymnastics apparatus which you haven’t touched since school, make it the rings.

“The rings are a really good exercise for people to try in the gym because they don’t provide a solid base so your body has to use more muscles to perform the exercise and stay balanced,” explains Whitlock. “If you can learn to do chin-ups or leg raises on suspended rings you will be working your upper body, mid-section and legs all at the same time.”

For the ultimate gymnastics challenge, try to accomplish ‘the crucifix’ – a brutally hard exercise, also known as the ‘iron cross’, in which you straighten your arms horizontally as you suspend your body between two rings. “It’s really tough,” says Whitlock. “When I was learning to do the crucifix I worked a lot on my shoulder muscles to help support me.”

4. GOOD VIBRATIONS

To develop muscle and boost your balance and coordination at the same time, try squats, lunges, bridges and press-ups on a vibrating PowerPlate machine at your gym. The platform oscillates 25-50 times per second, forcing your muscles to repeatedly contract and relax in order to stay balanced and helping you to develop strength and stability in an extremely short workout time.

“Vibrating plates are really good for massaging your muscles too, but also for strengthening the little stabilising muscles around the main muscles for better balance,” says Whitlock.

5. GET A LEG UP

If you enjoy working with machines or free weights in the gym, invest your time in the one body part everybody else ignores: the legs.

“When I go to the gym once a week I mainly do leg work,” reveals Whitlock. “It’s important for strengthening your knee joints and ankle joints ready for the landings we have to do, but also for building strength and power. The main exercises I do are leg presses and heel raises.”

6. DON’T FORGET TO RUN

To maintain a lean frame you need to combine workout circuits and core routines with cardio training such as running, cycling, rowing or swimming. Even gymnasts hit the road: “Once a week we go on a four mile run to keep up our fitness so when we do our routine build-up our general stamina will be slightly higher than average,” says Whitlock.

“Three weeks before a competition we also do a tough circuit in which we do 2-3 routines on each piece of apparatus – it’s very intense and gives you a massive stamina build-up.”

7. BE CONSISTENT

Whitlock trains six days a week for a total of 35 hours. You don’t need to do the same volume to get great results, but what matters is the consistency with which you train. “Doing a little bit every day is what it’s all about,” says Whitlock. This can be a core workout, a strength session, a run or a short walk.

“It doesn’t have to be loads or really intense but just regular exercise in moderation, like half an hour of something every day.”

Max Whitlock performs on the rings during the Men’s All-Around gymnastics competition at the Scottish Exhibition Conference Centre during the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland

8. GIVE YOUR MUSCLES TIME TO RECOVER

Training regularly doesn’t mean driving yourself to exhaustion. Gymnasts get plenty of rest in between each training session so that their bodies are fully repaired and recovered before their next workout.

“When I’m at home I am just resting and relaxing because recovery is half of the job,” says Whitlock. “I always stretch after every workout too – it helps to repair the muscles so you’re ready to go again the next day.”

9. EAY HEALTHILY – BUT TREAT YOURSELF

To develop the body of a champion gymnast, aim for a high-protein, low-fat diet. “Food is as important as your training,” says Whitlock, whose sample diet incudes Weetabix for breakfast, pasta with tuna for lunch and mince with a jacket potato for dinner. “You have to get the protein in as it aids recovery so sometimes in the evening I will lower the carbs and put more meat on my plate.” The gymnast has also honed the art of healthy snacking: “A cereal bar, a banana or some nuts and dried fruit is best.”

However, the 21-year old still enjoys a post-event binge and believes it’s crucial that you don’t allow your diet to get too boring. “It’s important to treat yourself and relax and eat what you want sometimes because it gets you in the right zone and the right frame of mind for when you start eating healthily again,” says Whitlock.

10. ALWAYS HAVE A GOAL

If you find that your motivation levels ebb and flow over time, it’s probably because you don’t have a definable goal to keep you focused.

“My absolute best piece of training advice is to set a goal,” says Whitlock. “I learnt that from my parents. If you haven’t got a goal, everything seems like hard work. Set yourself a target and you will always have something to work towards and achieve.”

Nissan are supporting Max on his road to Rio. To win a trip to Rio 2016, show your support at nissan.co.uk/RaceToRio. Follow @MaxWhitlock1

How To Get A Gymnast Body: Look Lean Using Only Bodyweight Exercises

“I wonder how you can get a gymnast’s body?” I remember asking myself that almost every 4 years when the Olympics came on. The body these Olympians carried was different than the typical bodybuilder look you found in magazines.

I was only a kid when I first saw the 1984 Summer games. The Olympics that year happened in Los Angeles and living in the city hosting the games was very exciting. Every night it was awesome seeing a group of athletes, the elite, giving their best effort to win gold. However, as a kid the two groups of athletes I wanted to look like were gymnasts and swimmers.

Why A Gymnast’s Body Is Appealing

When you look at a gymnast one thing that always stands out is how natural their physiques look. The physiques these athletes have achieved, both male and female, is one that is lean, muscular, very defined and have low body fat.

Another factor that sets this body apart is that it is very different from what you see in bodybuilders and gym rats. Gymnasts are not bulky, but rather follow more natural proportions that look attractive. These athletes have muscular definition without looking huge and unnatural. Their bodies are not a far departure from what you see in a model or Hollywood actor or actress. The body type these athletes have can look good in fashionable clothes and in workout gear.

How To Get A Gymnast’s Body

Although you can get a gymnast’s body using any type of strength training such as weights or kettlebells and resistance bands, here we will follow a bodyweight approach, after all gymnasts only use bodyweight exercises, similar to what you see in Jason Ferruggia’s Bodyweight Bodybuilding, to get in shape for competition.

The advantage of using a bodyweight program is that you can do these types of exercises practically anywhere and with little to no cost. If you are at home you can simply put an inexpensive pull up bar and use this for exercises like pull ups and leg raises or you can simply use the horizontal bar of a fence. The rest of the equipment you will need is only your body. Your body literally becomes your gym equipment.

A Bodyweight Routine To Get Lean

In order to get in shape and get that gymnast type body is much easier than you think. For best results I recommend doing strength training type exercises and cardio exercises. Rather than working out 7 days a week, 3 to 5 days a week schedule will work well.

A 4 Days A Week Routine

Day One- Upper Body Emphasis

  • Push Ups (chest and triceps exercise)
  • Pull Ups (back and biceps exercise)- use a palms outward and shoulder width apart grip
  • Close Grip Push Ups (Triangle Push Ups targets the triceps)
  • Chin Ups (targets the biceps)- use a palms inward and shoulder width apart grip
  • Handstand Push Ups (targets the shoulders)- this exercise can be performed against a wall or someone holding you by your ankles. You will be upside down. Proceed to lower your body slowly and press your weight back up. If this is too intimidating or difficult you can place your feet on the seat of a chair and place your upper body at a steep decline as if going down and headfirst. Lower your upper body slowly and press your weight back up.
  • Dips

* Note: You should do from 3 to 4 sets per exercise and 10 to 12 repetitions per set. Rest one minute between sets.

Cardio: do short burst interval training. Do a 30 seconds fast sprint followed by one-minute rest. Repeat this sequence for 10 to 15 minutes and finish with a 15-minute jog.

Day 2- Lower Body and Abs/ Core Emphasis

  • Squats
  • Jump Squats
  • Lunges
  • Standing Calf Raises
  • Planks
  • Hanging Leg Raises or Lying leg raises

Note: You should do 3 to 4 sets per exercise and 10 to 12 repetitions per set. Rest one minute between sets.

Cardio: Do a 15 to 20 minute walk or jog.

Day 3- Rest/ Cardio optional

Day 4- Repeat day 1

Day 5- Repeat day 2

Day 6 &7: Rest

A 3-Day Sequence

Week One
Day One- Upper Body
Day Two- Rest
Day Three- Lower Body
Day Four- Rest/ Do an activity like walking
Day Five- Upper Body
Day Six and 7- Rest

Week 2

The following week switch your upper body days for lower body exercises and your lower body day (day 3) for upper body exercises. Switch back the following week.

Week 3
Switch back to week one.

  • Follow this pattern for a 3-day per week schedule.

Cardio: do burst training interval style cardio on upper body days and walking or jogging on lower body days.

Developing a body that is lean and attractive can be done easily with a structured program. Bodyweight routines, like Jason Ferruggia’s Bodyweight Bodybuilding, are one way that is easy and can be done by anyone anywhere. By combining cardio along with a strength training approach you will see your body look leaner and more defined without looking bulky.

Learning how to get a gymnast’s body is not impossible. Much like a swimmer’s body it is easier to accomplish than the huge bodybuilder look- but then again, not many want to see that.

Grab My Muscle Definition Manual

Download My Free Course and Get Updates Delivered To Your Inbox

We promise never to spam

ABOUT COOKIES

Aug 12, 2015

  • ESPN The Magazine

If Aly Raisman, who’s 21 now, makes the 2016 Olympic team, she’ll be the oldest U.S. gymnast on the team. And like any seasoned veteran, she has life lessons she’s picked up along the way.

“I feel like I’m smarter now and wiser, so I’m able to understand the importance of staying hydrated and nutrition and the recovery process,” says the woman who captained the U.S. to gold in London. “But definitely my body is a little bit more achy than it was before.”

Seven-hour training days filled with the constant repetition of routines will do that to a body. Raisman sat down with the 2015 Body Issue to talk about how she keeps on ticking.

Sleep Schedule

Raisman says she doesn’t function well without some solid shut-eye, but training days that can last seven hours can cut into her sleep schedule.

“I don’t finish workouts most nights until 9 p.m., so I try to get home as quickly as I can. By the time I shower and everything, probably around 10:30-11, which is when I kind of wind down, because after a four-hour workout it takes me a bit to get myself to fall asleep sometimes.”

Her wake-up call is at 7 a.m. for 8:30 a.m. workouts.

Healthy choices

“I eat really, really healthy,” Raisman says. “Everything that I put into my body is for the purpose of gymnastics.” Her key ingredients:

Water: “I always make sure that I drink a lot of water. I love having hot water with lemon. That’s really good for your metabolism.

Protein: “I have a lot of chicken and fish. My favorite food is sushi and salmon, so I eat a lot of that.

Good stuff: “I try to stay away from white bread or processed things. … I have a lot of fruit, too.”

Positive imagery

Raisman has a habit of saying something nice about herself in the mirror every day.

“It’s not like I literally stare at myself in the mirror first thing in the morning, but it’s just like if I’m in the mirror instead of picking out something I don’t like — of course I’m not perfect. If I have a negative thought in my head I try to change it and remind myself I’m only human.”

Hitting the gym

Raisman’s body is her tool, so it stands to reason that body-weight exercises are her main form of training. “We don’t do any kind of lifting. It’s a lot of punching on the floor, getting the rebound in your feet, calves and ankles — a lot of toe rises, a lot of conditioning on the bar, a lot of rope climbs. I do rope climbs without using my legs, only using my arms.” Well, not just her arms …

“Before the last Olympics I used to have to sit and put a 10-pound weight in between my legs and climb the rope without my legs all the way to the ceiling, so that was really hard. You’re lifting your whole body weight up by your arms with another 10 pounds added onto it, so that was really hard.

“You are also scared to drop the weight the entire time because you’re afraid it might land on someone’s head, so you have to be very careful. I’d say the whole climb was 15-20 feet.”

When her gymnastics days are over, she plans to pick up boxing, a sport she discovered when she took a year off after the Olympics. No weighted rope climbs there, but plenty of arm work.

Run, Aly!

Raisman’s afternoon warm-up “is basically all endurance and all conditioning. I have a four-hour workout at night, but after the warm-up and conditioning, I’m already tired.”

She also runs 15 minutes every morning, usually on a treadmill, but uses that as her “me” time when she can listen to music. Her favorite cardio is done outside, though.

“During the summer when it’s warm I like going for a run or a walk outside … I’m not a very good runner because gymnastics is all about a minute and a half routine and you stop and go again. I’m really proud of myself if I can go 20 minutes without stopping.”

Mental games

Raisman has some tricks for staying sharp when it’s her against the world out there on the beam (or floor or bars):

Fighting fatigue

“You’re standing up on the beam and it’s 4 feet high and 4 inches wide and you have to flip on it … you almost feel like you forget how to do it because you’re so overtired. It’s like 8:45 at night I still have a few more beam routines and I’m like I have no idea how I’m going to do this. … I try to think about using the Olympics as motivation, trying to win an Olympic gold medal again is pretty good motivation that normally does the trick.”

Finding focus

“I literally block everything out. When I was competing in London during the beam final, there were thousands of screaming people in the stands, but the only voice I could hear was McKayla Maroney — I was listening to her and she was talking me through the beam routine the whole time. I can block out everyone’s voice except for my coaches, Marta Karolyi and my teammates. … It makes me feel more comfortable when I can hear their voices.

Inside your own head

“When I actually think about how narrow the beam is or how high the bars are or how much it hurts just to fall, that’s what freaks me out. My coaches were just telling me, ‘You think too much. Just think about your favorite song or think about something else.’ Normally coaches tell you that you need to focus and think more about a certain skill, but they always tell me just ‘Don’t think, you’ll make yourself crazy.'”

Hair headaches

Raisman is not a fan of medicine when she can avoid it, but sometimes, the hair just demands it. “I literally put in like 15 hair ties because I have so much hair that it falls out so much,” she says. “So sometimes I’ll get headaches because my hair is pulled so tight and so back. … I’m over-neurotic and over-paranoid, so I try not to take medicine very often, but if I have to I’ll take the Advil for the hair headaches.”

From first-time yogis to veteran triathletes, each body in motion is a successful one. We created the My Body Can movement to celebrate that notion, and now we want to hear from you. Tag a photo or video with #MyBodyCan, and share with the espnW community what amazing things can your body do!

WIN A FREE SHIRT

As most are fairly familiar already, gymnastics requires extreme contortions that can really take a toll on their body without the proper training, but this isn’t just exclusive to gymnasts. The benefits of many exercises transfer from gymnastics over to other body training routines.

That’s why we’re giving you 5 essential gymnastics exercises you can do to prepare your body by making it more agile, flexible, and mobile. They will improve your core strength, make you less prone to injuries, and help you gain better balance.

These gymnastics exercises are great for beginners and can also be modified to challenge anyone of any skill level:

Let’s start off with something simple, no need to jump right into the complicated things just yet. This leg stretch is a little bit different from just standing and touching your toes, we are looking to improve mobility which requires a little more effort than that. This mobility centered stretch helps to prepare the body for interactive workouts and exercises. Sports and CrossFit are two good examples of where this stretch would see the most benefits.

How to do it

While standing, separate both feet a little bit past shoulder width. Use the same side hand to whichever foot you are reaching for, so if you are touching your right foot it should be with your right hand. Lean to either side, touch your foot, and extend the opposite arm over your head.

It’s difficult to maintain straight legs, but try your best. As with most stretches, it’s best to rep in seconds so count to 10-15 seconds before alternating legs.

Basically, you want to avoid crossing your body over. It helps to do this with a point of reference in front of you. The point of reference (POR) is suppose to prevent bad posture (chest has to be facing POR) so if at any point your chest is pointed to the ground instead of the POR then posture needs to change. Think of the motion made when going into a cartwheel, chest open, one hand is on the ground, the other is reaching over. You get the idea.

2. Kneeling Rockers

A good way to warm up for any exercises involving your feet is kneeling rockers. This plantar flexion mobility stretch decreases the likelihood of potentially incredibly strenuous accidents from happening, like rolling your ankle. So let’s not make that a possibility and jump right into getting your body ready.

How to do it

Sit on the ground with legs underneath you, and the top of your feet flat against the floor. You should be positioned so that the bottom of your feet are undeath your butt. Now hold the ground on either side of you for balance and push your hips forward while using legs for support. This will cause quads to flex and helps test ankle resistance.

Here are time reps to go by:

  • Beginner: 3 X 10 seconds
  • Intermediate: 3 X 25 seconds

Spend the time you have in between sets (10-15 seconds) alternating resting and lifting your legs off the ground. Essentially you’ll be rocking back and forth with your legs underneath.

Due to the nature of this warm up it’s important to take note not to overextend the ankles while performing this stretch. Overextending can cause a number of things to happen, but the main being pulling a muscle.

3. Hollow Body Hold

One of the most crucial techniques employed by gymnasts is the hollow body hold. This involves bracing your abdominal muscles and creating complete body tension. The more stable you are in this position, the better you’ll be transferring force from your upper to lower body. Mastering the hollow body hold will let you run, jump, kick, flip, and tumble faster and stronger. It also has the added benefits of gaining better balance and making you less prone to injuries.

How to do it

The hollow body hold is the foundation of any gymnastic workout regimen, and you should ensure that you are incorporating it into your routines as much as possible. Below is a basic outline of how to start doing the exercise:

Start by lying on your back with your legs together and arms over your head. Contract your ab muscles and lift your legs, head, and shoulders a few inches off the floor. Your body should be in a crescent shape from head to toe. At first it may be hard to hold this position for more than a few seconds.

Before moving on you should be able to be in this position comfortably for at least 30 seconds. Once you can hold the position begin to incorporate rocking back and forth while in the position. Start doing slow and small movements, and gradually increase the speed and intensity of your movement.

The key here is to keep your body as tight as possible by squeezing the targeted muscles, this will assure the most out of your workout. This simple exercise will do wonders for your core and help you when attempting more difficult techniques in the future.

4. Hollow Hold Pull-up

When you get tired of lying on your back, you can take what you’ve learned and apply it to the simple exercise of a pullup.

The hollow hold is actually very effectively utilized when doing pullups because the crescent shape of your body increases stability, and requires you to focus on the two factors:

  • The pullup
  • Keeping your legs up

While this is certainly great for your arms, it also will allow you to gain even more core strength when doing your pullups. You can use this technique while doing any type of pullup, so once you get the hang of it you can move on to more advanced grips and pullup techniques. My gymnasts typically use gymnastics bars for sale for these pullups, but anything you can hang from works just fine.

How to do it

Begin your pullup by hanging at arms-length. Contract your abs, press your thighs together and put your legs in front of you (your body should form the shape of a L). Make sure you keep this position for the remainder of the exercises, as breaking from it will greatly decrease the effectiveness of your pullups. Do as many reps as you can at first, gradually increasing over time. Once you master a normal grip you can move on to wide, close, or reverse grips and even try variations like the commando.

5. Handstand Walks

This quintessential gymnastic technique can help you tone your body and increase your overall agility. Perfecting a handstand has numerous physical benefits including better balance, core strength, overhead agility, and increased shoulder stability. Much like the other techniques in this list, perfecting a handstand takes consistent practice to see gradual progress.

How to do it

Place your hands on the floor a couple of inches from a wall. Make sure to spread your fingers as wide as possible. Kick one leg up at a time to get into a typical handstand position. Once you are in that position you will want to hold that for as long as you comfortably can.

Once you can hold the position for 30 seconds, try doing it without a wall. Just make sure you have a clear space in front of you in case you need to roll forward. It helps tremendously to have someone spotting you while you find your balance in the handstand.

Eventually, you will get to the point where you can hold a handstand for a period of time by alternating hand positions. Once you are at this point it’s all about putting one hand in front of the other (be sure to utilize forward roll bail out incase you lose your balance).

Concluding Thoughts

Take any necessary safety precautions prior to committing to any of these activities. Although you can do these exercises inside your home, it’s the obstacles near you that put you in harm’s way. Otherwise it’s safest to do outside.

Pre-wrap

Something gymnasts go through every so often are sore wrists, mostly because their hands are what do most of the support throughout the sport so it gets pretty strenuous. Likewise with some of these mobility exercises. Pre-wrap evens out the amount of activity your wrists need to do in order to complete a task.

Mastering these five simple exercises will improve shoulder strength, core tension, and your overall body mobility. Make sure to start slow and work your way up to more intense reps and positions. After a few weeks of doing these exercises you’ll notice immediate improvement in the way you move while practicing any physical activity.

How To Scale Muscle Ups for Crossfit – 6 Videos From Gymnastics Experts.

You love watching gymnasts doing tumbling routines–who doesn’t?

It’s a beautiful demonstration of strength, coordination, dedication, and artistry. And to most people, especially if you don’t have a gymnastics background, it feels utterly impossible.

But tumbling doesn’t only mean back handsprings, roundoffs, and aerials.

For our purposes, tumbling just means maneuvering your body on and around the floor in a variety of ways, and it’s something everyone can benefit from, and anyone can learn.

In this tutorial, I’ll address some common fears, show you why tumbling is a good addition to your practice, and I’ll give you 3 basic tumbling moves to get you started. Plus, I’ll show you some combinations you can start working on, no matter what level you’re at.

Why Learning How to Tumble is Important for Everyone

When was the last time you did a somersault? For most adults, the answer is, “sometime around first grade.”

But part of why we even played with those movements at all during childhood is because we were learning how to control our bodies, and how to move them in the most creative and effective ways.

That need to engage our bodies with our surroundings doesn’t go away just because we hit adulthood.

After all, you engage with your surroundings every day, whether or not you try. If you’re more comfortable engaging in different ways, you’ll be better able to absorb unwanted impacts if and when they happen.

There’s a good chance you have no aspirations to start practicing high level gymnastic moves (if you do, that’s awesome!), but any form of tumbling–from the most basic cartwheel to the most advanced 720º turn–involves some serious body awareness and control, especially when the emphasis is on “making it pretty.”

When you practice even the most basic tumbling movements, you’ll improve your body awareness and control much more quickly than you might think.

If you’re anything like most adults, your body awareness and control are severely lacking–simply because it’s not something most people train specifically. (We talk about this in more detail in this related article).

Poor body control means you’ll have a harder time learning the skills you want, or using your body in the way you need to. The basic tumbling movements we’ll cover in this article will be a good start to better movement.

“But, tumbling looks really scary!” (Here are some fear-reducing tumbling tips for beginners)

Even the most basic tumbling skills can look really scary if you haven’t practiced them before.

People think they’re going to hurt their neck or back doing rolls, or that they’ll fall when doing various turns and flips. And being upside down can be totally disconcerting if you’re new to it.

Don’t worry, there are some simple ways to get past those fears.

Plus, the movements I’ll show you in the next section should allay your fears–I specifically chose variations that are approachable and not scary in the least.

But here are some tips to keep in mind before we get into the movements.

Take it Slow While Learning Tumbling Techniques

Probably the most common issue is the very normal anxiety and fear when learning a new skill.

And it can certainly be magnified when you have to assume positions that resemble falling! If you aren’t used to having your head at certain angles, along with the added pressure on the head the skills may generate, you and your body can interpret it as a dangerous thing.

The trick to getting past this anxiety is to take things slow, and break the new movements into manageable steps.

Work through each step deliberately and with good control and you’ll diminish your fear. Go too fast and try to just barrel through it, and you may get injured and further reinforce that fear.

Take your time, work though the skill with good technique, and you’ll progress much faster.

Pay Attention to Where Your Head is During Training

When working through basic tumbling such as rolls and cartwheels, it’s very important to know where your head is in space and in relation to your body. It’s crucial both for safety and for proper performance of the movement.

For example, your head position for rolling should be with your chin tucked in tight to your chest as you go upside down into and coming out of the roll.

This tucked chin position protects your neck from undue pressure and strain.

As you progress to more advanced tumbling movements, such as aerials and back and front flips, head position can determine whether you complete the move or fall on your face!

Be Mindful of Your Space While Performing Tumbling Moves

This may be obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. You’ll need a nice, clear area to practice. Remove all clutter and allow more room than you think you need.

In the beginning, when you are first figuring out what to do, this is especially important. Chances are, your body will be all over the place and your sense of direction and spatial awareness will not be as sharp.

Please take that into consideration when you pick a training area to work on these new moves. As you improve and you become very comfortable in your technique you won’t need as much space. As an example, take a look at this incredible video of a movement master aware of both his body and his surroundings.

Of course, just starting out, you won’t be able to move in such a tight space like that, but it’s something to strive for.

The Most Important Tumbling Movements Beginners Need to Learn

There are all sorts of fancy tumbling skills, and maybe you’ll want to work toward those down the line. But, just like anything, you’ve got to start with the basics. The movements I’m going to show you are the most important for you to learn, and they provide a foundation for more advanced skills down the line.

  • Forward and backward rolls can be quite intimidating, but the variations you’ll learn here emphasize rolling on your shoulder rather than on your head or neck.
  • I’ll also show you some cartwheel variations that you can work on, no matter what level you’re starting from.
  • And finally, I’ll show you some combinations you can start playing with at different levels

Let’s review the most important details for these movements:

Forward Shoulder Roll for Beginners

This variation is a bit different from the typical front roll you might see, which tends to place a lot of pressure on the head and neck. The forward shoulder roll takes the head and neck out of the equation so that you can move more freely.

  • Start by staying as close to the ground as possible (you’ll work your way up over time).
  • Make sure your head makes minimal contact with the ground. Extend your arm and roll onto the back of the shoulder, tucking the head through the other arm.
  • Lift the opposite knee as you do this, lifting the butt slightly up into the air.
  • Once you’re comfortable getting into and out of this position, you can start working on straightening your legs, lifting your butt even higher in the air. Don’t actually roll just yet, though!
  • After practicing that for a while, rather than letting yourself fall through, walk your toes forward, coming onto the back of both shoulders.

Over time, you’ll be able to speed this up while maintaining your control.

How to Do a Backward Shoulder Roll

Similarly to the forward shoulder roll, the backward variation has minimal head and neck involvement, and focuses instead on rolling on the shoulders.

  • Start by rolling to your side, by bringing your leg out to the side and watching your toes, with your arm extended.
  • Next, roll to the side and then walk your feet around to the back.
  • Finally, you can work on rolling straight backward, but make sure you’re rolling on your shoulder and not your neck, tucking your head under your other arm as you roll backward.

Once you’re comfortable with the forward and backward shoulder rolls, you can start combining them by rolling forward and then immediately backward, and vice versa. This will help you get a lot of good practice in.

How to Learn to Do a Cartwheel

The cartwheel is one of my favorite movements to teach. It’s so much fun, and there’s a lot more to it than most people think. By breaking it down the way we do in this tutorial, you’ll learn better control while removing any fear factor that may be there for you.

  • For the first variation, place your hands on an imaginary line, facing the same direction. Then step your feet at an angle from one side of your hands to the other side of your hands.
  • Next, start from a squat, placing your hands next to you, reaching far across with the opposite arm. Then, hop your feet over to land at an angle from your hands. Over time, you can work on pushing into the ground to extend the legs up overhead.
  • Now, you’ll start from standing. Place your hands down as you push off the front leg and lift the back leg into the air. Work on this push and lift until you are comfortable letting your legs follow you.
  • Next, we’ll work on a slightly different type of cartwheel. Start from a squat and reach behind you, then rotate and twist your feet, then hop your feet over. You can work on smoothing this out over time.
  • Finally, I show the gymnastic cartwheel, which is a more classic variation of the full cartwheel. This variation, which starts from standing, has you work on bringing your legs up all the way and focus on getting some float time.

Our full cartwheel tutorial will give you some more details on how to work up to a full cartwheel, but the variations I just showed you will help you get started.

Beginner Tumbling Skills Combination

Once you’ve had a chance to practice those 3 basic movements, you can start playing with combinations. In the video, I show a couple of options for combinations. Here are some key tips for the basic and intermediate versions.

  • The primary focus with any level of combinations is to “make it pretty,” focusing on making your movements as smooth as possible.
  • As you progress, you can work on moving through the combinations without pausing between movements. That ability will come with time and practice.
  • You can also work on slowing down your movements, really focusing on control.

The specific combinations I show are just examples. Take this as an opportunity to play with some different combinations–whatever feels good!

Tumbling Training FAQs

Since tumbling is so foreign to most people, we hear a lot of questions and concerns, which I’ll address below. For more FAQs, check out this podcast episode we did on the subject.

I feel dizzy/nauseated when I practice tumbling exercises. What should I do?

This issue comes up quite a bit and for the majority of people, it comes down to simply not being used to moving like this.

We spend most of our days upright with our head up, or lying down with our head horizontal. Not too many of us whip our heads around in our day jobs! So this is a new thing that takes some time to get used to, perhaps a couple of weeks or more.

Take it slow and take longer rest breaks between trials of the move.

Don’t go beyond the point of mild nausea, and let the feeling subside fully before doing the next rep. If it doesn’t go away, then call it a day and try again.

Now there may be some of you that have a history of vertigo, or other inner ear issues, and the dizziness/nausea may be intractable. Please check with your health care provider to see what is best for you.

Isn’t rolling on your spine super dangerous?!?!

In a word: No.

(But starting with the variations I showed you above won’t put much pressure on your spine anyway).

Take it slow, work on your technique, and improve your flexibility to get in the best positions for these moves. Your spine will not only be okay, it’ll be the better for it.

Do I need special mats for tumbling?

Again: No.

While proper gymnastic mats are a joy to roll on, you don’t need them to start practicing. Grass and carpet are just fine. Perhaps hardwood flooring and concrete aren’t the best for beginners, but you don’t need to buy special and expensive mats to work on these basic skills.

Improve Your Body Awareness with Basic Tumbling Techniques

The best reason to work on tumbling isn’t to do awesome tricks–though that can be nice–but rather, to use these great movements to improve your coordination and your understanding of your body as it moves through space.

Because it isn’t really a normal thing to flip upside down and back up again, or to spin and twist in the course of a regular day, these basic tumbling moves are a potent way to stimulate and invigorate our bodies and minds. And very quickly, you’ll have created a new body that you can use to explore and enjoy movement.

In addition to working on the exercises above, our free Strength & Mobility Kickstart will help you get comfortable with moving around on the floor, allowing you to build better strength, mobility, and body control.

Get Your 1-Week Kickstart

Gymnastics Workout: Cycle 1, Week 1, Day 1

These workouts are designed to help build a strong gymnastics foundation for athletes of all levels and ages. It doesn’t matter what your fitness background is or if you’re an absolute beginner. These gymnastics workouts will help you to move better and be faster and stronger.

This first cycle will concentrate on developing basic gymnastics strength, with an emphasis on handstands, handstand push ups, and muscle ups. It will also include a small introduction into planche work. The cycle will start out relatively basic in order to develop a foundation of body control, which will support the more complex movements that come later. It will also start developing awareness while both being upside down and on your hands.

Ideally, you should do your gymnastics workout in the morning and any strength and conditioning work in the evening, or vice versa. If that’s not possible, allow at least ten minutes between the two. The stretching and mobility components on days 2 and 4 can be done post-workout as a cool down.

All of these workouts should be approached with the mindset of quality, not just speed. Slow down to do and learn the movement correctly, and only speed up after mastering the movement. That being said, the time frames for each workout will vary for each individual.

Week 1, Day 1

4 Sets of:

  • Push Up x 15
  • Strict Chin Up x 10
  • High Box Jump x 5

Remember when the TRX first came out? The hype was incredible. Suspension training classes sprang up everywhere and became one of the most popular classes around.
People started bringing suspension trainers with them on vacation and began using them for home workouts. The result was one of the most popular fitness tools and fad activities to ever exist.
Yet, the development of the TRX in the 2000’s was nothing new. In fact, suspension training had already been used to improve sports performance for decades before.
Gymnastic rings, like the ones we have here at Emerge Fitness, have been used long before any commercial suspension trainer to develop everything from flexibility and stamina to strength and power.

As the name might imply, gymnastic rings were created for gymnasts to compete in their sport. As a result, it’s been a mainstay in gymnastic gyms since it’s inclusion in the sport.

Despite this, many people still think that suspension training began with the TRX or Rip 60 device. A lot of people also think it’s the best tool to use to improve fitness, health or performance.
This is not the case though. The gymnastic rings can be more versatile and effective than most suspension trainers. Gymnasts and Crossfitters are a perfect example of this. It’s no coincidence that both sports have been using the rings since their inception and both offer the fittest athletes overall compared to other sports.
This is why many of the trainers now offer a gymnastic ring attachment. The wider handles and smoother finish allow for more mobility in certain exercises. This allows for greater versatility when programming your fitness routine.
So, if you’re looking to improve your fitness, gymnastic rings offer a versatile and cost-efficient tool for you to use anywhere.

Setting Up Gymnastic Rings

Another perk with using gymnastic rings is that they are easy to set up. Each ring is a standalone item that can be attached to any sturdy structure.
This is done by fastening the straps around the structure and securing them with the brace found on the fabric. For a visual guide in setting up gymnastic rings, you can check out this video.
From here, it can be used to complete any number of activities. But, no matter how good a piece of fitness equipment is, it’s useless if it’s not used properly. This is especially true for beginners.
Many enthusiasts purchase gymnastic rings and often give up when they find them too difficult.
We put together this guide on exercises you can do with the rings if you’re a beginner. We also included easy ways you can progress or adapt these movements. This way, you can quickly become an advanced user with the rings and improve your performance, physique, and health.

Warm Up Tips For Gymnastic Ring Exercises

Before setting out to use gymnastic rings, it’s worth mentioning that the added mobility allowed by the rings can make their use more demanding. For this reason, it’s important to warm up correctly before any session. This can be done by:

  • Completing a low-intensity activity like jogging or cycling until warm. 

  • Using a foam roller to mobilise the muscles you’re going to exercise. 

  • Taking special care to warm up and mobilise muscles like the shoulder, which can be prone to injuries with gymnastic ring exercises. 


10 Powerful Gymnastic Ring Exercises For Beginners

1. Ring Push-ups


This is one of the more basic exercises that can be done with the rings instead of a suspension trainer. It can be used to develop throwing power and pushing strength. For physique purposes, it can also help shape the chest and the arms.
Some subtle advantages exist with the rings over a TRX-style trainer too. The separation of the two straps with gymnastic rings allow a greater width and depth in the exercise.
This means they can easily be progressed to flyes or deficit push ups and can also easily be adapted by raising the height of the rings and completing them upright.
Place your feet against a wall or on the floor with your hands in the rings. From there, a push-up is performed by bending the arms and shoulders until the hands are in line with the chest. Then, both are extended by pushing into the rings until the arms are straight.
Adaptation: Standing ring push-ups
Progression: Gymnastic ring flyes or deficit push-ups

Video Source

2. Gymnastic Ring Rows


Just like the push-up exercise, rows are another great exercise that can be easily made easier or more difficult. This exercise will help you develop your back and arms and prevent injury. It can also improve pulling strength and power.
Begin by placing the feet on the ground or against a wall. The row is performed by pulling on the rings to raise the chest up to the hands, using the muscles in the back and biceps.
For grapplers, throwers, or those who spend time climbing, gymnastic ring rows are a good movement.
Adaptation: Standing gymnastic ring rows
Progression: Feet-elevated gymnastic ring rows
Video Source

3. Gymnastic Ring Pull-ups 


This exercise has a relatively unique benefit when done with gymnastic rings. If you start the pull-up with palms facing away and rotate them inward as you pull, you can increase muscle activation in the lats more than any other type of pull-up.
This means that it can help develop pulling strength and back development more than any other pull-up. The exercise is also very difficult to do with a traditional suspension trainer due to its design.
For those who find a pull-up too difficult to start, you can use your feet to assist in the move. To make it more difficult, weight can easily be added with a dumbbell or dip belt.
Adaptation: Feet-assisted pull-ups
Progression: Weighted gymnastic ring pull-ups
Video Source

4. Gymnastic Ring Dips


This is another exercise that is much easier on gymnastic rings than on a suspension trainer. The added size and shape of the rings make it easier to reach greater depth and makes the exercise more shoulder-friendly.
The dip is performed by mounting the rings and lifting the body off the ground. From here, the elbows are bent until a slight stretch is felt in the front shoulder. Then, the arms are fully extended while the body is kept stiff.
For those who can’t do a dip, the feet can be placed on a bench or a platform for added support. Like the pull-up exercise, it can also be made tougher by adding weight to your body.
Adaptation: Feet-assisted dips
Progression: Weighted dips
Video Source

5. Gymnastic Ring Front Lever (Knees Tucked)


While the above movements focused on the upper body, this exercise works the core. The stability required for a front lever makes it a tough exercise for beginner. Luckily, it can be made easier by bending the knees into the chest.
Slowly, this can be progressed by straightening the legs and placing more stress on the abs and arms.
The exercise is done by starting off in a hanging position on the rings, with the hands facing away from the body. The body is then raised until it is parallel with the floor. This position is then held for as long as possible before returning to the hanging position.
Adaptation: Plank
Progression: Full front lever
Video Source

6. Iron Cross Holds (Feet Supported)


There’s a reason you see many gymnasts and calisthenics enthusiasts practicing this move. The iron cross can help develop strength all over the body. It particularly builds stability and strength in the lats and core.
Take note: this a very difficult move to pull off if you’re a beginner. Keeping the arms closer to the body and supporting yourself with the legs is a better option. This way, you can slowly build up to a full iron cross for a tough gymnastic workout.
Adaptation: Isometric Iron Cross holds
Progression: Full Iron Cross
Video Source

7. Leg-Assisted Gymnastic Ring Muscle-ups


This exercise is one of the most popular movements used for the gymnastic rings. Again, this is because the rings allow for greater mobility and make the movement easier to complete.
The movement is carried out from a hanging position, with an overhand grip. This is followed by an explosive pull-up that transitions into a dip. Once again, using the legs to help lift the body by pushing off a platform makes it possible for beginners.
Adaptation: Gymnastic ring dips and pull-ups
Progression: Weighted muscle-ups
Video Source

8. Hanging Leg Raises On Gymnastic Rings


The hanging leg raise is both simple and exercises the lower abs, which can be neglected in most core workouts. It’s also easy to do for both beginners and advanced athletes.
From a hanging position, the knees are tucked and raised into the chest, before slowly being lowered down in front of the body. This can also be made more difficult by extending the knees and raising the entire legs at once.
Adaptation: Reverse crunches
Progression: Straight-knee leg raises and weighted leg raises
Video Source

9. Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat with Knee Drive


Gymnastic Rings are not as popular for lower body exercises as most suspension trainers. This is because some find it awkward or uncomfortable to do due to the harder rings.
But, it can be more secure for some movements like the rear foot elevated split squat. Here, one ankle is placed in a ring while a split squat is performed by bending the knees until the rear knee touches the floor. This is before rising back up to the starting position.
This helps develop power and strength in the legs to help boost running speed and jumping.
Adaptation: Split squats
Progression: Single-leg squats

Video Source

10. Glute Extension With Reverse Leg Curls


This is another great leg exercise that can be done on gymnastic rings. The glute extensions with a reverse leg curl is a great way to prevent injury and strengthen the glutes. This can help give more shape to your legs as well as improve athleticism.
The move is performed by holding onto the gymnastic rings and performing a glute extension. Once the hips are extended, the knees are bent and fully straightened for a number of reps before the hips are placed back in the ground.
Adaptation: Glute extensions from the floor
Progression: Single-leg glute extensions
Video Source

Cooling Down With Gymnastic Rings

Another great use for gymnastic rings are in cooling down from a tough workout. The separated straps mean they can be used to do a wide range of stretches. These can act as a gentle way to further boost mobility and relax the body after strenuous exercise.
For some ideas on gymnastic ring stretches for your cool down, you can see this video here.

Take Home Points And Tips

For those looking for a simple training tool that to use for improved health and performance, the gymnastic rings are a great choice.
Once properly set up and used, the rings can offer an easy way to develop strength, stability, power and speed. Because of the use of the body, each exercise can also be easily be made more difficult or easy depending on your experience level.
The added mobility the larger handles allows also makes it a better choice than many conventional suspension trainers like the TRX or Rip60.

So, if you’re considering including gymnastic rings into your training routine, then there are a few things you should consider:

  • Gymnastic Rings can also be paired with medicine ball and kettlebells for power-based workouts. 

  • A proper warm up should always be done before a workout on gymnastic rings due to the demanding nature of the movements used. 

  • You can easily use gymnastic rings to improve flexibility by using them for stretching. This can also act as a great cool-down routine after a tough training session.

  • For weightlifters, gymnastic rings can offer a great offseason tool for training. They can also be used in the preparation phase of their yearly programs to boost stability and help prevent future injury. 


Gymnastics At Home Workout Plans


We get emailed all the time about gymnastics workout plans that can be used at home. We know many of you go to gymnastics classes, but are still looking to improve and practice at home. So we’ve created gymnastics workout plans that can be used if you have some home gymnastics equipment.

Since there are many gymnastics levels, and even more variance of skill levels within those levels, we’ve divided the workout plans into beginner, intermediate, and advanced. They can be modified and adapted based on the level of your gymnast.

We’re first going to take you through some principles that are important when working out, then through a warm-up, event workout plans, and a conditioning workout plan.

Disclaimer: These workouts should only be performed with adult supervision and the proper equipment. GymnasticsHQ cannot be held responsible for any injury that results from using these workout plans.

Principles for a Good Home Workout

Before we get started with the home gymnastics workout, we want to discuss a few principles that will lead to a successful practice.

Quality is More Important than Quantity

If you rush through the exercises or skills without focusing on your form, you will not be working the proper muscles and won’t see the same benefit from the exercise or skill. One of the reasons practicing is so important is to teach your muscles the right way to do a skill, so it will be easier in the future. So to reinforce the right habits and muscle memory, focus on executing each skill and exercise with a good, tight body position.

Make Sure to Follow a Progression

Everyone is at a different level, so make sure you work up to each activity or skill. If you can’t do a skill or exercise, make sure you learn it at the gym before you attempt to practice it at home. If you can’t do a certain number of repetitions, work up to it.

Everyone is Different

Everyone’s body is different. We are all put together differently, and have differing levels of strength and skill. According to Delavier’s Women’s Strength Training Anatomy Workouts, because of the way we are all different, some exercises force us into unnatural positions for our body, whereas, others feel very natural (15). So, if a movement or exercise is uncomfortable for you, simply don’t do it.

Safety is the Priority

You should never practice anything at home that is not safe, and that you have not already learned at a gym. You will see in these home workout plans that we do not recommend any skills that we think would be unsafe to practice at home. We think that home workouts should be mainly focused on practicing body positions, form, and basics in order to master them. So even in the advanced level workout plans, we recommend sticking to variations of basics.

Ok, now that we’ve discussed the principles to keep in mind, let’s dive right in to the gymnastics home workout plans!

Warm-Up

You will want to start out with a dynamic warm-up to get the blood flowing to all the muscles of your body. You want to stay moving throughout your warm-up, as studies have shown that dynamic warm-ups are more effective than static stretching.

Here is a simple warm-up, but feel free to do your own, or the national team warm-up.

  • 30 Jumping Jacks
  • 30 seconds of jogging in place with high knees
  • 30 seconds of jogging in place kicking your bottom
  • Swing arms from side to side, up and down 5 times each
  • Roll wrists and ankles 10 times each
  • Walk across floor in relevé, and then on heels
  • High kicks — forwards, backwards, each leg 10 times each
  • Stand in straddle, lean to right leg, middle, left leg and hold for a second each — do this 10 times
  • Stand in left lunge, twist to one side hold, twist to other side — do this for right lunge also
  • Sit on floor in straddle, lean to right leg, middle, left leg and hold for a second each — do this 10 times
  • Sit on floor in pike with feet pointed, hold for 10 seconds, flex feet hold for 10 seconds
  • Stretch out splits and hold each for 10 seconds
  • Bridge-push through shoulders hold for 4 seconds, tuck and roll — repeat x 2

Warm-up any other part of your body that doesn’t feel warmed up yet.

Once you’ve warmed up, you can workout on just one event, or several. If you are going to do conditioning it should be done at the end so that you don’t tire yourself out before you practice.

At Home Floor Workouts

You can do these workouts at home if you have a panel mat or some other kind of mat. All of these workout plans can be modified or adjusted based on your skill level. You can also adjust the number of repetitions since they are meant as a goal.

At Home Floor Workout Plan: Beginner

Exercise Focus Points Number of Repetitions
Jumps:

  • Tuck
  • Straddle
  • Split
  • In the tuck jump, try to get your knees up to your chest
  • In the straddle jump, make sure to keep your legs straight with toes pointed
  • In the split jump, make sure to keep your legs straight with toes pointed
10 of each of the jumps
Split Leap
  • Take a couple steps and split leap
  • See how wide you can get your legs to split, while still keeping your legs straight and toes pointed
  • You want your legs to split evenly on both sides
10
Forward Roll
  • Start and finish in a stretched, straight stand position
  • Make sure legs are squeezed together the entire time
5
Backward Roll
  • Start and finish in a stretched, straight stand position
  • Make sure legs are squeezed together the entire time
  • Make sure hands are pushing against the floor in the middle of the roll.
5
Handstands with Handstand Homework Mat or against wall
  • Make sure legs are squeezed together, bottom is squeezed and toes are pointed
5 Handstands try to hold for 10-15 seconds each
Cartwheel
  • Start in a lunge, cartwheel, and try to land facing the opposite direction from which you started in a lunge
  • Keep your legs straight and toes pointed
20
Bridge Kickover
  • Start in a bridge with your legs straight and together
  • Then move one leg up and try to kickover
5

If the beginner floor workout plan seems way too easy for you, and you routinely practice much more advanced skills at the gym, then maybe the intermediate workout plan is right for you.

At Home Floor Workout Plan: Intermediate

Exercise Focus Points Number of Repetitions
Jumps:

  • Split
  • Straddle
  • ½ Turn
  • Wolf
  • In the split jump, make sure to keep your legs straight, toes pointed, and to split your legs evenly
  • In the straddle jump, make sure to keep your legs straight with toes pointed — try to get your legs separated 120°
  • Make sure to keep your body squeezed in the ½ Turn
15 of each of the jumps
Split Leap
  • Take a couple steps and split leap
  • See how wide you can get your legs to split (try to get to 120°), while still keeping your legs straight and toes pointed
  • You want your legs to split evenly on both sides
10
½ Turn on Toe
  • Make sure to be in high relevé in a tight-body position
10
Back Extension Roll
  • Make sure you hit a nice, tight body position handstand
5
Handstands with Handstand Homework Mat or against wall
  • Make sure legs are squeezed together, bottom is squeezed and toes are pointed
5 Handstands try to hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute each
Aerial or Aerial Drills
  • If you can do an aerial, then practice doing them with straight legs and pointed feet
  • Otherwise, practice mountain climber-needle kicks or cartwheel close with sliders
10
Handstand Snap-Down Drills off Panel Mat
  • Handstand snap-down drills are helpful as practice for back handsprings, and even once you can do a back handspring are good to practice to increase the power of your tumbling
10

If the intermediate floor workout plan seems way too easy for you, and you routinely practice much more advanced skills at the gym, then maybe the advanced workout plan is right for you.

At Home Floor Workout Plan: Advanced

Exercise Focus Points Number of Repetitions
Jumps:

  • 1/1 Turn
  • Pike
  • Straddle
  • Split
  • Make sure to keep your body squeezed in the 1/1 turn and to land facing the exact same direction that you started facing
  • In the pike jump make sure to keep your legs together and toes pointed, and try to get your legs up to horizontal
  • In the straddle jump, make sure to keep your legs straight with toes pointed — try to get your legs split 180° and up to horizontal
  • In the split jump, make sure to keep your legs straight, toes pointed, and to split your legs evenly
20 of each of the jumps
Leaps:

  • Split
  • Switch
  • Chassé, step, split leap
  • Try to get to 180° of split while still keeping your legs straight, toes pointed and legs evenly split on both sides
  • Do Forward and Back Kicks with legs straight to increase the range of motion in your split leap
15 Split Leaps,

10 Switch Leaps,

15 Forward Kicks,

15 Backward Kicks

1/1 Turn on Toe
  • Make sure to be in high relevé in a tight-body position
15
Handstands with Handstand Homework Mat or against wall
  • Make sure legs are squeezed together, bottom is squeezed and toes are pointed
5 Handstands hold for 60 seconds each
Press Handstands
  • Practice both the straddle press handstand and the reverse — handstand lower into a straddle
  • Make sure you are maintaining control along with a tight-body position
10 press handstands, and 10 handstands lower into a straddle

At Home Beam Workouts

If you have a floor beam or a line at home to practice on, you can do these beam workouts. All of these workout plans can be modified or adjusted based on your skill level. You can also adjust the number of repetitions — this is meant as a goal.

At Home Beam Workout Plan: Beginner

Exercise Focus Points Number of Repetitions
Walks:

  • Forward
  • Backwards
  • Sideways
  • Dips
  • Kicks forward
  • Kicks backward
  • Try to keep your legs straight as you lift them off the ground
  • You can keep your arms out to the side to help your balance
1 pass down the beam, and back
Relevé Stand
  • Stand on your toes while trying to keep your body squeezed, your legs straight, your arms over your head
3 times try to hold for 30 seconds
Scales:

  • Front
  • Back
  • Knee
  • Start from a straight stand position and then lift your leg in front of you or behind you (except for knee scale)
  • Try to keep both of your legs straight with your toes pointed
5 scales on each leg, both front and back
Straight Jump
  • Start and finish in a stretched, straight stand position
5

If the beginner beam workout plan seems way too easy for you, and you routinely practice much more advanced skills at the gym, then maybe the intermediate beam workout plan is right for you.

At Home Beam Workout Plan: Intermediate

Exercise Focus Points Number of Repetitions
Walk in Relevé:

  • Forward
  • Backwards
  • Sideways
  • Kicks forward
  • Kicks backward
  • Walk in high relevé while maintaining a tight-body position.
  • You want to be completely squeezed and in control to minimize bobbles.
1 pass down the beam, and back
Relevé Stand
  • Stand on your toes while trying to keep your body squeezed, your legs straight, your arms over your head and your chin lifted with eyes looking at the end of the beam in front of you
3 times try to hold for 1 minute with no bobbles
Jumps:

  • Straight
  • Tuck
  • Split
  • Start and end in a straight stand position
  • Keep your body tight and squeezed with your legs straight (in the straight and split jump) and feet pointed
10 each
Leaps:

  • Split
  • Cat
  • Make sure to keep your legs straight (in the split leap) and toes pointed
10 each
Turns:

  • Pivot
  • ½ Turn on Toe
  • Make sure to be in high relevé in a tight-body position
10 each
Handstand
  • Lever in to a handstand and make sure to keep your bottom squeezed together, your legs straight and toes pointed
10, try to hold for 1 second each
Cartwheel
  • Start and land in a lunge
  • Make sure to keep your legs straight and toes pointed
Try to stick 10

If the intermediate beam workout plan seems way too easy for you, and you routinely practice much more advanced skills at the gym, then maybe the advanced beam workout plan is right for you.

At Home Beam Workout Plan: Advanced

Exercise Focus Points Number of Repetitions
Walk in Relevé:

  • Forward
  • Backwards
  • Walk in high relevé while maintaining a tight-body position.
  • You want to be completely squeezed and in control to minimize bobbles.
1 pass down the beam, and back
Jumps:

  • Straight
  • Split
  • Straddle
  • Wolf
  • Pike
  • Start and end in a straight stand position
  • Keep your body tight and squeezed with your legs straight and feet pointed
10 each
Kicks:

  • Forward
  • Backward
  • Sideward
  • Make sure to keep your chest up, shoulders dropped down, head facing forwards, and kick with both legs straight, feet pointed and core squeezed
10 each on both legs
Split Leap
  • Make sure to keep your legs straight (in the split leap) and toes pointed
10 each
1/1 Turn on Toe
  • Make sure to be in high relevé in a tight-body position
10 each
Handstand
  • Lever in to a handstand and make sure to keep your bottom squeezed together, your legs straight and toes pointed
10, hold for 5 seconds each
Press Handstand on Side of Beam
  • Start standing on side of low beam, and with hands on beam press into a handstand, and then lower to a standing position on the beam
10

At Home Bar Workouts

If you have a sturdy mini bar at home, like the Tumbl Trak Junior Pro Bar, you can do these workouts. Do not attempt these workouts if you have a less sturdy bar that you have not stabilized. If you have a pull-up bar, you can do some of the exercises in the workout plans. All of these workout plans can be modified or adjusted based on your skill level. You can also adjust the number of repetitions — the numbers listed are meant as a goal.

At Home Bar Workout Plan: Beginner

Exercise Focus Points Number of Repetitions
Casts
  • Make sure to keep your core squeezed, legs straight with toes pointed
  • Try to get your belly off the bar
10
Leg Cut
  • Make sure to keep your core squeezed, legs straight with toes pointed as you move your leg over the bar, and then back
  • Once you have mastered a simple leg cut, try to lift your body slightly off the bar, before cutting your leg back
3
Pullover
  • Start from a straight stand position on the ground, and then keep your legs straight and squeezed together with your toes pointed while pulling your legs over the bar
  • You want to be able to do a pullover with complete control
5
Tuck-Ups
  • Start from a hang on the bar and with your legs squeezed together, pull them up to your chest in a tuck position
10
Glide
  • Start and finish in a straight stand position holding the bar
  • Pike your legs and do a glide without letting your feet hit the ground, with your legs straight and squeezed together
5

If the beginner bar workout plan seems way too easy for you, and you routinely practice much more advanced skills at the gym, then maybe the intermediate workout plan is right for you.

At Home Bar Workout Plan: Intermediate

Exercise Focus Points Number of Repetitions
Casts
  • Make sure to keep your core squeezed, legs straight with toes pointed
  • Cast as high as you can while maintaining a tight-body position
20
Pike Glide
  • Start and finish in a straight stand position holding the bar
  • Pike your legs and do a glide without letting your feet hit the ground, with your legs straight and squeezed together
10
Straddle Glide
  • If your bar will allow, practice straddle glides, where your legs straddle but then come together in the front of the glide
  • Make sure your feet don’t hit the floor
10
Leg Lifts
  • Hang on the bar and with your legs squeezed together, pull them up straight to the bar
15
Pull-Ups
  • Start in a straight hanging position and pull yourself up to where your chin is over the bar
  • Keep your core tight, legs straight and squeezed together throughout
5

If the intermediate bar workout plan seems way too easy for you, and you routinely practice much more advanced skills at the gym, then maybe the advanced workout plan is right for you.

At Home Bar Workout Plan: Advanced

Exercise Focus Points Number of Repetitions
Casts
  • Make sure to keep your core squeezed, legs straight with toes pointed
  • Try to hit horizontal
20
Kip
  • Make sure to keep your legs straight with toes pointed throughout
10
Kip, Cast to Horizontal
  • Keep a tight body position throughout
10
Leg Lifts
  • Hang on the bar and with your legs squeezed together, pull them up straight to the bar
20
Pull-Ups
  • Start in a straight hanging position and pull yourself up to where your chin is over the bar
  • Keep your core tight, legs straight and squeezed together throughout
15

At Home Vault Workouts

Vault is a little harder to practice at home, so for Vault we like to practice sprinting and some plyometrics. You can do these workouts if you have space outside to run and jump.

At Home Vault Workout Plan: Beginner

Exercise Focus Points Number of Repetitions
50′ sprint
  • Go as fast as you can, and make sure you are accelerating
  • Keep your chest up
5
Jumps
  • Do these jumps right in a row as fast as you can, staying on the balls of your feet
20 jumps 3 times

If the beginner vault workout plan seems to easy for you, maybe the intermediate vault workout plan is right for you.

At Home Vault Workout Plan: Intermediate

Exercise Focus Points Number of Repetitions
60′ sprint
  • Go as fast as you can, and make sure you are accelerating
  • Keep your chest up
10
Jumps
  • Do these jumps right in a row as fast as you can, staying on the balls of your feet
20 jumps 5 times

If the intermediate vault workout plan seems to easy for you, maybe the advanced vault workout plan is right for you.

At Home Vault Workout Plan: Advanced

Exercise Focus Points Number of Repetitions
70′ sprint
  • Go as fast as you can, and make sure you are accelerating
  • Keep your chest up
10
Jumps
  • Do these jumps right in a row as fast as you can, staying on the balls of your feet
20 jumps 10 times

One of the most important aspects of a great vault is a powerful run. So by working on your speed, and practicing some simple plyometrics at home you should be on your way to improving your vault.

Conditioning

Conditioning is the most important part of training at home to improve your gymnastics. The stronger you are, the more successful you will be (think: Simone Biles). When you are strength training, you want to be doing vertical pulling, vertical pushing, horizontal pushing and horizontal pulling exercises –and equal amounts of all of them. In the intermediate and advanced workout plans we’ve included exercises that include each of these types.

Also, never add resistance (weights) unless you can do the exercise correctly without resistance.

Below we will lay out the conditioning workout plans first and then explain the exercises.

Conditioning Workout Plan: Beginner

Exercise Repetitions
Push-Ups from Knees 10
Arm Bends with Pull Up Bar Bend your arms while hanging on a pull-up bar,
Hip Lift 5 reps x 2
Squats 5 reps x 2
Fitness Ball Leg Curl 5 reps x 2
V-Ups 5 reps x 2

If you can do the beginner conditioning workout plan with ease, then maybe it’s time to move up to the intermediate plan.

Conditioning Workout Plan: Intermediate

Exercise Repetitions
Push-Ups 10
Bent Over Rows 10 using 2 lb dumbbells x 2
Chin-Ups with Pull Up Bar Try to do 5, if you can’t just try to bend your arms from a hanging position
Hip Lift 10 reps x 2
Kettlebell Deadlift 5 reps using 5 lb kettlebell x 2
Squats 10 reps x 2
Fitness Ball Leg Curl 10 reps x 2
V-Ups 10 reps x 2
Planks Hold for 30 seconds x 2

If you can do the intermediate conditioning workout plan with ease, then maybe it’s time to move up to the intermediate plan.

Conditioning Workout Plan: Advanced

Exercise Repetitions
Push-Ups 10 reps x 2
Bent Over Rows 15 using 3 lb dumbbells x 2
Chin-Ups with Pull Up Bar 10
Hip Lift 15 reps x 2
Kettlebell Deadlift 10 reps using 10 lb kettlebell x 2
Squats 15 reps x 2
Fitness Ball Leg Curl 15 reps x 2
V-Ups 15 reps x 2
Planks Hold for 60 seconds x 2

Conditioning Exercises

Listed below are descriptions of how to do the exercises in the workout plans above.

Push-Ups: Get into a straight-body plank position with your shoulders over your wrists. While squeezing your core and butt, bend your arms. You want to focus on your body position and only go as far down as you can while still maintaining control of your movement. Raise your body again by straightening your arms to complete the repetition.

Bent Over Rows: Stand with your feet together or slightly apart and your arms at your sides holding light dumbbells. Lean forwards slightly while keeping your back flat. Make sure to squeeze your core. You want your head to remain neutral. While squeezing your shoulders together, lift your arms up until the weights are near your hips. In a controlled movement lower the weights back to the starting position to complete the repetition.

Chin-Ups: A chin-up is similar to a pull-up, other than your hands are gripping the bar differently. In order to do a chin-up, start by facing your pull-up bar and grab the bar with your fingers pointing towards you, about shoulder-width apart. Start in a complete dead hang, then squeeze your shoulder muscles and pull-up until your eyes are at bar height. That is one repetition. Lower slowly and repeat.

Hip Lift: Lie on your back with your knees bent, your arms at your side and your feet on the ground. Lift your hips toward the ceiling, hold for a second and then lower your hips back to the floor to finish the repetition. Make sure you are keeping your back flat and squeezing your butt.

Kettlebell Deadlift: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Place a kettlebell between your legs, in line with your ankles. With a straight back, looking in front of you, bend from the hips, and reach down to pick up the kettlebell in between your legs. Your shins should be vertical and your lower back should be flat. Then pushing through your legs, return to a standing position.

Squats: Stand with your feet hip to shoulder-width apart. You can either do squats with your feet pointing out (with them slightly at a diagonal angle) or your feet pointing forwards. The squats will work different muscles depending on which way your feet are pointing. Keeping your back straight and your core squeezed, lower yourself with your weight on your heels. It can be easier with your arms extended out straight in front of you parallel to the ground. The goal will be for your thighs to become perpendicular to your calves, but only go as far as you can while controlling the movement. With the weight of your body in your heels, push against the floor and raise yourself back to a standing position in order to complete the repetition.

Fitness Ball Leg Curl: Lie on your back with your heels resting on a fitness ball. Then squeeze your butt and your core and lift your body off the ground until your body is in a straight line from heels to shoulder. As you squeeze your butt, pull your heels in towards your hips, until your legs are bent in a 90° angle or more. Then straighten your legs and return to the starting position to complete the repetition.

V-Ups: Start lying flat on the floor with your arms over your head and your legs straight and squeezed together. Using your core, pull your legs up at the same time as you pull your upper-body off the floor, making sure to not arch your back. You want your hands to touch your feet. Lower both your upper-body and your legs back to the floor to complete the repetition.

Planks: You can do a plank exercise from either your wrists or your elbows. When you are in the plank position you want to be squeezing your legs, butt and core. Your shoulders should be over your elbows, and your body should be in a straight line from your head to your feet. As you are squeezing all your muscles and maintaining a straight-body positions, make sure to breathe!

After you have done conditioning, you will have completed your workout!

We’ve given you workout plans for each of the four gymnastics events, along with a conditioning workout plan. You can modify any of the plans to fit your needs. As you improve, you can advance from the beginner to the intermediate to the advanced plan.

If you’ve enjoyed the gymnastics workout plans, we’d love for you to share them with your friends or on your favorite social media network!

Do you want to help your little gymnast become the very best they can be? These are some at home training drills that can really help them improve without all the gym equipment.

Spider-Man against the wall:

A hand stand is one of the most common positions in all of gymnastics. To practice this, the spider man against the wall helps practice the correct form for a handstand. Start with you hands on the floor in front of you, and put each foot on a wall. Slowly walk your hands closer to the wall and your feet up the wall until your stomach is against the wall and hold as long as you can. Keep your head neutral but look at your hands with your eyes. While in position, concentrate on tightening all your muscles.

Sprints:

A great way to improve your power and speed for vaults is by running sprints. Sprints can be done anywhere.

Splits:

Splits are another very common position in gymnastics in leaps and jumps.

Pull-ups:

Installing a pull-up bar is a great way to increase upper body strength necessary in gymnastics.

Scales: 

To practice scales, stand on one leg and lift the other leg directly in front of you for a front scale or directly behind you for a back scale. Scales help with flexibility and balance.

Jumps: 

Keep your body tight and jump as high as you can while maintaining body position.

Leaps:

Leaps are common in floor and beam routines. When practicing, concentrate on keeping the angles of each leg the same, keeping your legs straight and coming as high as you can off the ground.

Turns: 

Turns are also common on floor and beam routines and can be practiced in your socks on carpet or kitchen floors.

Conditioning:

Any exercise at all is good for gymnastics because gymnastics is a sport that uses almost all of your muscles and the stronger each muscle, the more you are able to do.

Your routine:

If you have a gymnastics routine, go through it without the tumbles. This is called a “dance-through.” The more you go over it, the less likely you are to forget it at a meet.

If a gymnast works on skills in gymnastics class once or twice a week, they may not see the progress at a speed that satisfies them. Gymnasts can boost their rate of improvement by practicing gymnastics at home. By practicing at home, gymnasts can go to the next level without paying for more gym time or making more trips to get there and back.

Why should you practice gymnastics at home?

When it comes to mastering a skill, repetition is the key to quick progress.

Practicing more is the fastest way to improve in gymnastics. Having the ability to repeat skills at home increases muscle memory and engrains skills into your subconscious so that you can do them well automatically.

Being safe while practicing at home is huge so the gymnast should only do exercises or work on certain skills with which they feel comfortable.

For gymnasts who like to work from plans, here are some specific home workout plans that can be used as is or as the basis of new plans.

How to practice gymnastics at home

Weather you’re a beginner or seasoned gymnast, it’s important to have the appropriate apparatuses needed for practicing gymnastics at home.

Balance is important to gymnasts in more ways than one. Practicing only a favorite apparatus won’t help gymnasts improve into a well-rounded team member or individual competitor.

No, practicing gymnastics at home is not a dream! It’s possible – and very beneficial – with a few pieces of home-use gymnastics equipment, including:

  1. Balance Beams
  2. Mats
  3. Mini Bars
  4. Air Tracks
  5. Gymnastics Accessories

Source: GymnasticsHQ

With this equipment, gymnasts can maximize what they’re learning in gymnastics classes. It is the foundation for other skills and apparatuses in gymnastics. Mastery in these areas helps to ensure the development of well-rounded gymnasts.

Shore up balance beam skills.

Beginners should do plenty of walks and jumps while advanced gymnasts can practice their across skills. Advanced gymnasts shouldn’t skip the walks and jumps. Doing these exercises (with no wobbles!) is a great warm-up for their more advanced skills.

Include:

  • Walk forwards and backwards
  • Walk sideways
  • Dip walks (walk and dip one foot pointed to the side of the beam)
  • Walk in relevé (on tippy-toes)- forwards, backwards and sideways
  • Jump down the beam (small jumps and then larger jumps)
  • Kick walks
  • Kick walks in relevé (on tippy-toes)

With a mat, a true beginner can get comfortable with exercises by doing them in a straight line down the mat prior to moving to the beam.

Make Floor routines perfect.

Clear out plenty of space for gymnasts to practice floor skills. A finished basement or playroom with a high ceiling works to ensure that the gymnasts don’t bang their feet or heads.

It can’t be stressed enough that safety is the most important thing to consider when gymnasts practice their skills using home gymnastics equipment.

Just as with balance beam skills practice, beginners should perfect their basic walks and jumps before moving on to across skills. Advanced gymnasts should be perfecting acro skills but also making sure that their walking and jumping basics are crisp and as clean as possible.

Include:

  • Walks- forward, backward and sideways
  • Walks in relevé (in a tight body position, concentrating on keeping your legs really straight)
  • Kick walks
  • Log rolls (for younger kids)
  • Split leaps (more advanced: switch leaps)
  • Crabwalk- forwards and sideways
  • Forward rolls
  • Backward rolls
  • Handstands
  • Cartwheels
  • Roundoffs
  • Handstand forward roll
  • Back extension roll
  • One armed cartwheel
  • Bridges
  • Bridge kickover or more advanced back walkover
  • Handstand fall to bridge and stand up or more advanced handstand forward roll

Front and back handsprings are left off this list because they just aren’t safe to practice at home.

The handstand is one skill each athlete should be able to hold and do perfectly so practicing it never hurts.

Master key skill in pull-up bar.

The pull-up bar is essential in building the upper body strength that is crucial to all gymnasts. Having a pull-up bar at home ensures that this skill can be practiced with almost ridiculous repetition so that the gymnasts’ strength continues to improve. When the pull-up bar is included in home gymnastics equipment, the gymnast can literally stop and do a few pull-ups every time they walk by!

Rotate these 3 options on the pull-up bar:

  • Hang on bar and do leg lifts
  • Hang on bar and do tuck ups (in a tuck position bring your thighs to your chest)
  • Pull-ups- and if you can’t do them yet, do small arm bends and work up to it

Gain many benefits from the mini bar.

Anchor the mini bar securely and then put gymnasts to work on it. Consider the height of those using it so that the mini bar is useful and safe. More advanced mini bar skills probably should be practiced at a gym where bar installation is most likely to be more secure than the home version. Here are some basic skills to practice:

  • Casts
  • Elbow dips (bend arms while in front support)
  • Leg cuts (bring leg over the bar and back)
  • Hanging leg lifts

10 critical gymnastics activities to practice at home

There are 10 practice activities that will help gymnasts tune-up and sharpen skills at home. Here they are:

Spider-man Against the Wall

Spider-man against the wall works on a gymnasts handstands. One of the most important positions in gymnastics, the handstand is done on the floor, on beam and on bars; in cartwheels, round-offs, back-handsprings and front-handsprings. Spider-man against the wall is basically a handstand against the wall and provides a way to practice correct form for the handstand. See the proper way to do Spider-man against the wall.

Sprints

Practicing sprints are a great way to improve vault skills and sprints can be practiced by running fast anywhere. Great vaults are quick and powerful, so the faster the spring before it, the more power the vault will have.

Splits

Working on splits is a way to improve flexibility at home. The split shape shows up frequently in gymnastics; the split shape is seen in leaps and jumps. The better the splits on the ground, the better they will be in the air.

Pull-ups

Pull-ups are another great exercise for improving gymnastics skills at home. A pull-up bar is installed in a doorway.

Scales

Practicing scales at home will help improve balance, flexibility and strength – all which are crucial for gymnastics. What is a scale? Stand on one leg and lift the other leg directly to the front for a front scale or directly behind for a back scale. Stand for as long as possible without loss of balance.

Jumps

Improve jumps by practicing straight jumps at home. Keep the body as tight as possible and jumping as high as possible while maintaining body position. Practice these jumps: Straight, Tuck, Straddle, Pike, Split, Wolf, Half Turn, Full Turn.

Leaps

Gymnasts are required to do leaps on the beam and in floor routines. Practice makes perfect and practicing leaps at home makes great leaps possible. Concentrate on keeping straight legs and coming high off the ground while keeping the angles made with the legs even on both sides.

Turns

Turns are requirements in both floor and beam routines – just like leaps. Practice turns at home on the carpet or on the kitchen floor wearing socks.

Any conditioning exercises that make muscles stronger will help improve gymnastics skills. Gymnastics is one of the few sports that uses most of the muscles in the body. Push-ups, Sit-ups, calf-raises are all great exercises to increase muscle strength.

The Routine

It’s best to practice a gymnastics routine at home without the tumbling skills. There just isn’t enough room to do a routine this way. Practicing a routine with just the dance elements is called a “dance-through.” More practice of a routine means that the chance that any details of it will be forgotten during practice or at a meet are greatly reduced. This is another case where repetition is beneficial. Practice, practice and practice again.

What must be mastered.

There are more skills, activities, techniques, and exercises that should be practiced than can be named – and many can be practiced at home. There are some basic ones that should be mastered. These activities are done on key apparatuses so that critical skills of a well-rounded gymnast are mastered. Learn about them in the 9 Basic Gymnastics Skills that Every Gymnast Should Master.

Tracking skills is important.

Even if gymnastics activities are being practiced at home, it’s important to keep up with every skill mastered. Report the skills mastered to instructors so progress as a gymnast can be tracked in the skill tracking feature of the gym’s class management cloud software.

Remember, everything done at home – whether on a home-use apparatus or a strength exercise – builds a basic element that makes an athlete a great gymnast!

How to Get the Body of a Gymnast

I was recently reading Tim Ferriss’s new book “Tools Of Titans”, and in that book (which I review here), Tim describes how his biceps strength and size, core stability, mobility, and explosiveness all notably increased the past year via the use of a strategy called “Gymnast Strong” from gymnastics coach Chris Sommer of GymnasticBodies.com.

It’s certainly been a little while since I’ve written about the benefits of gymnastics training (my first foray into exploring this style of training is detailed in my article “How to Get the Abs of a Gymnast”), but Tim’s experience actually inspired me to incorporate just a bit more gymnastics-style training into my own routine in 2017, and in this episode, you’re going to discover exactly why you should train like a gymnast, how to get the body of a gymnast, and some sample gymnastics routines for handstand and muscle-up.

Why You Should Train Like a Gymnast

Every four years, fitness enthusiasts around the world have a chance to marvel at the the impressive physiques of the gymnasts competing in the Olympics. The males have huge, muscular arms, broad shoulders, V-shaped waists, and extremely developed glutes, while the females are lean and strong with tiny waists and tight buns. Both sexes demonstrate impressive feats of not just strength, but also balance, coordination, and extreme amounts of mobility and flexibility.

So how are these folks training? What kind of exercise routines do they do?

Most of the types of movements these athletes are performing are quite powerful and explosive in nature, including handsprings, pull-up actions that involve hoisting themselves into the air and “muscling up” over a bar, mid-air abdominal tucks, and springs off beams and boards. This power requirement forces them to work their fast-twitch muscles like a sprinter, and to reap all the fat loss benefits of high intensity interval training.

Now granted: most gymnasts develop their actual muscle mass and low body fat over a number of years, with most starting to train when they are younger than eight years old, giving them around ten years to put on the muscle mass seen in the Olympics. But surprisingly, most gymnasts don’t actually lift much with traditional weight training exercises to achieve this type of muscle.

Instead, gymnasts perform a high number of relatively complex bodyweight and balancing exercises, which, due to the instability factor, can be extremely taxing on both slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers.

These moves include double and single arm pull-ups, ring dips and ring holds, balance beams, parallel bars, handstand push-ups and handstand walking, and isometric holds, often for 4-6 training hours each day every day of the week.

So what is the big picture here?

In a nutshell, to apply gymnastics training principles to your program, you need to add in more plyometric and explosive exercises and also more complex bodyweight exercises that involve balance and isometric holds.

When you do this, you will find that weightlifting is not the only way to build muscle mass or an impressive physique, and by instead implementing a variety of body weight exercises and complex movements in a workout, you can “attack” both your muscles and your overall fitness from a variety of different angles. The type of exercises you’ll learn below—exercises that require you to maneuver your own bodyweight—are far superior for developing the lean, functional muscle of an Olympic gymnast compared to moving around those heavy pieces of metal in the gym.

Pages

  • 1
  • 2
  • last “

What happens to a gymnast’s body as it ages?

When it comes to elite artistic gymnastics, most female competitors begin the sport at before the age of five and train around 40 hours a week, pushing their strength and flexibility to the limits, at times defying anatomy and biology to stick their routines.

Naturally, that level of physical and psychological stress can have an effect on a growing body, with most elite female competitors retiring from the sport in their early twenties.

Of course, there are exceptions like Oksana Chusovitina.

Gymnastics – At 41, it’s mission possible for Tom Cruise fan Chusovitina RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Being the oldest gymnast to compete at an Olympics has earned Oksana Chusovitina admiration as “brave”, but there seems to be one big reason why the 41-year-old keeps punishing her body – a love of Tom Cruise.

But what happens once a female gymnast hangs her leotard for good? What happens to the body as the years go by, as they complete puberty, maybe bear children, and go through menopause?

Injuries can emerge decades later

“Stress fractures are common amongst former gymnastics,” says Natasha Melacrinis, a physiotherapist from the Sydney Sports Medicine Centre and former elite sports aerobics competitor.

Many female gymnasts have low bone density issues. Decades of extreme physical exercises can lead to a later onset of puberty and therefore a lower level of oestrogen being released in the body. As a result, “bones play catch up” to fast-growing muscles.

Get in the know for Rio: the artistic gymnastics edition Want to sound like you know what you’re talking about when you’re judging the artistic gymnastics? Here’s a little guide to get you by.

“Oestrogen in essential to bone development,” says endocrinologist Dr Monique Costin from Northern Sydney Endocrine Centre.

These low bone density issues come to the fore later in life as muscles weaken, or lose their “competition-ready” form, and can no longer compensate for weaker bones.

Also as the body adjusts from a high-intensity training to a more relaxed exercise routine, stress fractures can come about. The adjustment process can take a lifetime for some gymnasts.

“Each person is different,” says Ms Melacrinis, “but for some gymnasts, the body gets used to the high stress of training and needs it to remain stable.”

How to run like an Olympian There’s a big difference between an elite athlete and a jogger in the local park.

A greater risk of osteoarthritis and chronic pain

Gymnasts are also at a higher risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, says Ms Melacrinis.

“Mostly in their wrists, knees, back, and ankles, where the impact of hitting a mat is felt most,” she says.

And as the body ages, or undergoes further stresses – like pregnancy, for example – some can face even more stress fractures or more severe chronic pain.

Chronic pain, particularly back pain, is something gymnasts experience, though it can usually be managed through ongoing rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

“But most former gymnasts keep up some kind of training routine for the rest of their lives. Their bodies tend to stay fitter and stronger than most people their age, joint and bone issues aside,” says Melacrinis.

Dateline tonight Dateline: Growing Old Disgracefully Meet the world’s oldest hip-hop crew. They’re called Hip Op-eration, the average age is 79, and they’re New Zealand’s most unlikely celebrities. Now they just have to convince their families that they won’t be growing old gracefully.

Hormonal side effects

High-intensity exercise can throw your hormones out of whack, especially if you are training during or just before the onset of puberty.

“Training that hard, nearly 40 hours a week, can result in delayed pubertal onset, particularly in young women,” says Dr Costin.

Though female puberty is a multi-staged process, delayed ovulation and amenorrhea (when you don’t have a period at all) are the most common effects of elite athletic training.

“The typical female body has 20 to 30 per cent of fat, and when that level of fat falls, as can be the case in elite athletes, the levels of the hormone leptin can be reduced,” says Dr Costin.

Leptin signals play an important role in the start of ovulation, which in turn encourages the production and release of oestrogen, necessary for several body growth functions in young girls.

“The hypothalamus speaks to the pituitary gland which talks to the ovaries. Leptin is essential for this process.”

Once a gymnast stops intense training, ovulation should resume as per normal, but if not gymnasts can look into induced puberty options, she says.

So how is it Oksana Chusovitina still competing at 41-years-old?

“I’d say it all comes down to genes, which can make a big difference on how some athletes cope with body stress and how well they recover,” say Ms Melacrinis.

“She probably has had to adjust her load – or the intensity of her training – over the years. And probably has a great rehab and physio routine.”

Read these too It’s 2016! How not to report that a woman has won an Olympic medal Three-time Olympian Corey Cogdell-Unrein won a bronze medal at Rio. Sadly, many publications reported this fact by replacing her name with the name of her football-playing husband. Comedian Rebecca Shaw, wife of nobody, takes issue. Ask evolution: Why do we have five fingers? Why not six? Or more? Or just four? Here’s why.

Ping Pong: a meditation on mortality and a joyous tribute to the human spirit. Watch the documentary on SBS On Demand or right here:

Your Gymnastics-Inspired Bodyweight Workout

If you’ve seen U.S. Gymnastics superstars like Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, or Simone Biles (the latest and greatest to grace the Olympic mat) in action, you know their bodies are the definition of #fitspiration. The incredible acrobatics they can pull off-using nothing but their bodies-are enough to get anyone’s jaw to drop.

Well, you don’t need to be an Olympic-level athlete (or even know how to do a back-flip) to get some of the best-body-ever benefits of gymnastics training. We tapped Nike Master Trainer and former USA gymnast Rebecca Kennedy for 12 get-fit moves to steal from the gymnastics playbook.

How it works: Do each move for 30 seconds, resting 20-30 seconds between each one. At the end of the 12 moves, rest for 60-90 seconds, then repeat one or two more times.

You’ll need: A mat (especially if you’re on a hard surface) and a pair of yoga blocks or parallel/parallette bars.

1. Hurdle

A. Stand with feet together, core tight, and arms stretched straight overhead.

B. Step forward with the left foot, punch the floor with the right foot, and explode off toes to jump in the air. Keep legs straight and toes pointed during the jump, forming a hollow-body position in the air. Land with feet together in starting position.

C. Step forward with the right foot, punch with the left foot, explode off toes, and land. Repeat alternating feet for 30 seconds.

2. Hollow Hold to Jackknife

A. Start laying face up on the floor with legs straight and arms extended overhead. Press the tailbone and lower back down into the floor, and lift arms and legs. Hold this position for 4 seconds.

B. Squeeze abs to lift straight arms and legs up to fold body in half, with hands and feet reaching towards the ceiling. Lower back to hollow hold without touching hands or feet to the floor. Maintain contact between the lower back and the floor. Repeat once more.

C. Continue alternating holding hollow body position for 4 seconds, then perform 2 jackknives. Repeat for 30 seconds.

3. Tuck Jump Stick

A. Stand with feet together and arms by sides. Keeping chest lifted, swing arms up and overhead while jumping off the floor. Pull knees up to chest in a tuck position.

B. Land back on the floor with bent knees to absorb the shock when landing. Immediately swing arms back down and then up to perform the next jump. Repeat for 30 seconds.

4. Bear Plank with Butt Kicks

Start on hands and knees on the floor. Engage abs to lift knees off the floor. This is bear plank position.

Beginner: Kick one foot up at a time to touch heel to glutes. Quickly alternate between kicks so that you’re hopping from foot to foot. Try to get you hips higher and higher during the kicks.

Intermediate: Kick both feet up to touch heels to glutes, then return to bear plank. Immediately spring back off toes to kick heels up again. Try to get hips over shoulders.

Advanced: Kick both feet up to touch heels to glutes, lifting hips to be directly above shoulders. Lower to bear plank. Repeat.

5. Crab Reach

A. Start sitting with feet flat on the floor and knees pointed towards the ceiling. Place right-hand flat on floor behind right hip, fingers facing backwards. Reach left arm forward, palm face-up, arm straight, and resting on left knee.

B. Press hips up and reach left arm back to stretch behind the head. Let the head hang to look backwards.

C. Lower hips and arm back down to starting position. Repeat for 15 seconds on each side.

6. Candlestick to Stand

A. Start standing with feet together and arms by sides at the front of the mat.

B. Lower down to seated position with feet flat on floor. Continue rolling back onto the mat, with arms palms pressing into floor. Roll hips up over shoulders and extend legs straight towards ceiling in a hollow body position, squeezing glutes and abs.

C. Immediately roll hips back down, and return to seated position with feet flat on floor. Squeeze abs and lean forward, reaching arms straight forward over knees.

D. Begin the next roll by lowering back down onto the mat, pressing palms into the floor, and rolling hips and toes up over shoulders. To make it more advanced, come all the way back up to standing in between each roll. Repeat for 15 seconds.

7. L Hold

A. Sit on floor with legs extended straight out in front. Place yoga blocks directly next to hips, under shoulders.

B. Place hands on yoga blocks and push directly into them to lift butt off floor. Keep chest lifted and do not let shoulders shrug.

C. Try lifting one foot a few inches off the floor and hold the position. To increase the difficulty, lift both feet off the floor and hold. Try to hold the position for 30 seconds.

8. Scale

A. Stand with feet together, arms outstretched in a T position.

B. Hinge forward at the hips and lift left leg straight behind you. Keep back straight and core tight. Try to get upper body and left leg parallel to the floor. Hold for 15 seconds on each side.

9. Push-Up to Plank Jackknife

A. Start in high plank position, shoulders over wrists and core tight. Lower into a push-up.

B. Push chest away from the floor to return to high plank. Then squeeze abs to jump feet in towards hands and lift hips into a pike position. Then jump immediately back out into plank. Lower down into a push-up to begin the next rep.

C. To modify, don’t jump feet as far in. Avoid bending the knees. Repeat for 30 seconds.

10. Handstand

Beginners: Wall Walks

Start in high plank position with feet touching a wall. Slowly walk feet up the wall and walk hands backwards until hips are above the head. To come out of the handstand, slowly walk hands out and feet back down to high plank. Try to hold for 30 seconds at the top.

Intermediate: Leg Kicks

Fold forward and place palms on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart and shoulders over wrists. Kick left leg straight up into the air, trying to point it straight overhead and to get hips above head. Push off right leg to help left leg reach the top. Repeat for 15 seconds on each side, trying to hold at the top.

Advanced: Handstand

Fold forward and place palms on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart and shoulders over wrists. Kick left leg straight up into the air, trying to point it straight overhead and to get hips above head. Push off right leg to help left leg reach the top, then extend right leg to reach straight up. Keep abs engaged and toes pointed and fingers spread wide on the floor. Try to hold for 30 seconds.

11. Pike Press

A. Start with feet together and palms flat on the floor. Place palms about 12 inches in front of toes, with shoulders over wrists.

B. Lift heels and lean body forward over wrists, pulling lower abs towards spine. Hold for three seconds, then lower heels and lean weight back into feet. Repeat for 30 seconds.

12. Planche Push-Up

A. Start in a high plank position. Rock weight forward onto toes so shoulders are in front of wrists.​

B. Lower into a push-up, with elbows touching ribs. Press away from floor to return to high plank. Repeat for 30 seconds.

  • By Lauren Mazzo @lauren_mazzo

Gymnastic workouts at home

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *