I wanted to talk a little bit about warm-ups today. I do warm-ups a little bit different than some people. I know a lot of people want to get in the gym and do a quick stretch and get right to business, but my warm-ups tend to be longer than most. That’s because I tend to try to add some body shaping, some conditioning, and possibly some skill specific work into the normal “stretching” period of warm-ups. I don’t want it to take too much extra time, so I tend to put these exercises in when the gymnasts are near whatever position they’re going to need to be in. Ie. doing some variation of planch holds after doing seal stretches. That way they’re already on their stomachs.
This first one I really like, especially because it works a lot of the same muscles gymnasts need to hold that compression shape in kips. It’s a really easy thing to throw in after they’ve stretched their pikes. One of the things to remember about putting things like this in your warm-up, is that they will be doing this EVERY DAY. The muscle memory and strength they’ll gain from doing an exercise every day in warm-up is a lot more than they’ll gain from doing it once a week as a side station.
One of the things that I feel like I never can do enough of is needle kicks, or variations of needle kicks to get that back leg drive really efficient. So they are another great thing to add into your warm-ups. After kids have done their splits on that side, have them do 2 sets of 5 needle kicks. You’ll be surprised how quickly you see a difference with them doing them every day.
Bent knee hollow holds are another one of my favorites to add to warm-ups. No equipment necessary and you can modify. If bent knees are too easy straighten them – but make sure gymnasts are actually hollow and not just in a pike rocking on their bottoms. Again, it’s what you do every day that counts. So if you do these every day – you’ll see your bars change drastically.
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