Gymnastics clubs across the country have been closed for several weeks in order to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in gymnasts focusing on stretching and conditioning at-home in preparation for when they can get back to the gym. This is a good time to address any flexibility and strength issues that may have affected an athlete’s ability to train earlier in the year and help with injury prevention when allowed to return to practice. Here are 6 key exercises to target common areas of weakness in gymnasts.
This exercise is good for strengthening the core and gluteal (hip) muscles and also helps with shoulder stabilization. Lie on your side with your knee bent. Push up onto a modified plank position. Keeping your feet together, raise your top knee toward the ceiling (separate about 12 inches high). Slowly lower back down. Make sure your hips do not move backwards. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
This exercise is good for strengthening the gluteal and core muscles to improve your landing mechanics. Lie against a wall on your side. Place a towel against your heel. Keeping your heel pushed back against the wall, slide your foot up about 24-48 inches. Slowly lower back down. Make sure you maintain contact with the wall at all times. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
This exercise is good for strengthening the gluteal and quadriceps muscles to help with alignment during the take-off of single leg jumps and during single leg landings. Stand on one leg and reach your opposite heel straight out in front of you. Make sure your supporting knee does not cave in and your heel stays on the ground the entire time. Return to your starting position. Reach your heel out to the side, tap the ground and return. Make sure your knee does not move inwards. Reach your toe as far as you can backwards while keeping your chest up. Return to the starting position. Perform 10 repetitions to each direction on each leg.
This exercise is good for strengthening the core, gluteal, and hamstring muscles and challenges your balance. Place a cone (or a cup upside down) about 12 inches in front of you. Stand on one leg, slowly hinge at your hip and reach towards the cone. Be sure to keep your back straight and your knee slightly bent. Perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions on each leg.
This exercise is good for strengthening your quadriceps, gluteal muscles, and core and it helps with improving your landing mechanics. Stand with a chair slightly behind you. Squat down by bending at your hips and knees. Lightly touch the chair and return to standing. Make sure your knees do not go in front of your toes and you keep your chest up. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
This exercise is good for strengthening your shoulder muscles and improving your posture. Hold onto a resistance band with your elbows straight. Pull the resistance band apart. Return to the starting position. Pull the resistance band to a diagonal. Return to the starting position and pull to the opposite diagonal. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Athletico provides rehabilitation services to gymnasts at all levels and abilities. Our goal is to evaluate, treat, and educate athletes in the prevention of practice and competition-related injuries. Technical evaluations can be performed to improve postural awareness and maximize the function of each athlete. We have physical therapists and athletic trainers, including former gymnasts and cheerleaders at the high school, collegiate and Olympic levels, involved with our Gymnastics and Cheerleading Program. Our clinicians understand the demands of the sport and use their personal and professional experience to effectively address the physical and psychological needs of each athlete.
For more information contact a Gymnastics and Cheerleading Rehabilitation Clinician by emailing Gymcheer@athletico.com.
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