Thanks to Sheelah Bearfoot and Julie Rolla for preparing these conditioning tips for our members. Thanks to Vinh Nguyen, Matej Jan, Sean Chilelli and Give it 100 for the visuals. :)
The Four Main Body Parts:
- Lower Abs
- Upper Abs
Core and abs are related, but distinct. Core consists of your glutes, quads, abs, and back. The key difference between working core and working the other body parts is that working core strength requires engaging all these areas at once as a simultaneous unit. Core conditioning can be roughly split into two groups:
- Abs engaged (front core)
- Back engaged (back core)
Why do we care about conditioning?
Common Injury Prevention
- Arms: Arm conditioning provides support for elbows and shoulders, commonly injured areas in gymnastics. Being stronger helps you do skills safely by having more control
- Abs: Ab conditioning is very important for having control and “staying tight” while performing virtually any skill in gymnastics, from handstands to front fulls. Keeping the proper body position is key to landing safely and preventing injuries to other body parts, something that is nearly impossible without some abdominal strength.
- Legs: Strengthening leg muscles creates support for ankle and knee joints and helps you safely absorb the impact incurred from punching off and landing.
- Core: A strong core has similar benefits to strong abs and legs; it helps you minimize the impact from skills and keep the proper body position. This is VITAL to preserving the most commonly (and most gravely) injured body parts in gymnastics: shins, fibula, ACL, anywhere in your lower back, and your meniscus.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Conditioning is NOT meant to be therapy or repair for an injury. It is a preventative measure. You need to do specific physical therapy exercises if you become injured.
Ease in Skill Progression
This is pretty intuitive. Being stronger and more controlled allows you to get skills faster and more cleanly. Proper form and body position is everything in gymnastics, and conditioning is what allows you to have it.
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