5 reasons to incorporate gymnastics elements into your training
Everybody is keen to show off their handstand or muscle up, but not many show the detailed work that is required to execute such movements safely and correctly.
Today we’re not talking about the showy tricks.
Today we refer to the “behind the scenes” exercises that give you the showy tricks. The difficult unrewarding exercises that are humbling and require a large amount of patience and discipline.
How many gymnasts have you seen with bad posture?
They’re pretty much non-existent.
Have you ever thought why?
Well the movement requirements of a gymnast are highly demanding.
Gymnasts spend hours on end working on specific joint strengthening and lengthening so they can organise themselves into the required shapes of their sport. The time and detail that they approach to this specific work is something we should all make a part of our exercise regime.
We are not saying train for 4 hours, twice a day, in fact one of the sport’s biggest shortcomings is the lack of management of training load.
We are saying, focus on specific or typically weak parts of your body which often happen to be our ‘posture’ muscles (thanks to our modern lifestyles).
2. Robust Body
By chasing the detail and improving specific joint and muscle strength and ROM, as mentioned above, you will find you have better conscious control over your body.
You will feel the muscles that move the shoulder-blade contract when you reach over your head, you’ll feel your abdominals support you when you stand.
The more you feel muscles like this, the more they will do their job when you need them to. For example, the muscles of the shoulder blade will help support the shoulder joint when you are reaching for the top shelf of a cupboard, reducing the chance of shoulder impingement and injury.
3. Movement Capability & ROM
By adding in gymnastic elements to your training program, your movement capabilities will skyrocket.
What we mean is, gymnastics has a big emphasis on range of motion (ROM) and more importantly, the ability to control your ROM.
Lack of ROM (along with muscle weakness) is one of the more common reasons people injure themselves. The strained hamstring in social touch, or rolled ankle thanks to an unstable sidewalk are generally a result of lack of strength and ROM.
A number of elements of gymnastics teach you how to improve both!
4. There is no hiding and this makes it humbling.
For anyone that has attempted gymnastics or incorporated it into their training can guarantee the difficulty is next level.
You might be strong and fit, but you might have missed certain elements of your movement and training to be able to handle the requirement of gymnastics training.
For example, people commonly don’t particularly train their back extensors in relation to the muscles that move the shoulder-blade.
So when you are required to do a sternum to bar chin up (one of the pre-requisites of a muscle up, a gymnastics classic) you may not be able to perform the movement completely. It requires, what feels like, 5 steps backwards to eventually move forwards and ultimately perform the desired movement (in this case a muscle up).
5. The ends are limitless
Unlike general strength training where you might be chasing numbers and the returns become diminishing (meaning you improve less the longer you train), gymnastics has a far greater range to improve in.
The desired outcome is generally movement-based rather than number-based.
For example, you want to learn to do a handstand.
You train for three months and boom you have a 30sec strict handstand. Now, what next? Well what about one-handed? What about a press to handstand? What about a cartwheel? By obtaining one movement, you open yourself up to a whole heap more flipping the diminishing returns theory on its head – yeah, the more you do the more you can do and the more you can do the more rewarding it feels.
So, if you want to know about the exact detailed movements and drills we are referring to, why not pop your head into one of our core, or even better, advanced core classes.
We use pilates, gymnastic and complex movement principles to deliver a package that improves posture, movement and every day physical and mental function.
If you’re a person that enjoys the journey, gymnastics provides one that is just about endless.
Come and get stuck in!