With many tumbling sports, such as gymnastics and cheerleading, one of the most obvious risks for injury is to the athlete doing the tumbling skill. However there is also a risk for the spotter.
The spotter is usually a coach or teammate who works to make sure tumbling skills are performed safely. For many coaches, the ratio of athletes to coach is such that they can be performing many repetitions of the same movement during a single practice. This can place added stress and increase the risk of injury to the spotter’s shoulder, wrist and low back.
Is your goal to learn the splits?
Beyond just improving flexibility, this skill can be useful for athletes in a variety of sports – from gymnasts and cheerleaders to hockey goalies. However, learning to safely perform this movement takes a lot of practice and consistency. See below for recommended stretches and some evidence-based tips for improving your flexibility and achieving this goal.
Gymnastics is a sport with large demands on the upper body. Male gymnasts especially rely on the strength and stabilization of the upper body for many of their events such as rings, pommel horse, vault, high bar, parallel bar and floor. Research has shown that a gymnast can experience up to 16 times their body weight through their arms during gymnastics events.1 Injuries are often seen at the shoulders in the male gymnast. In addition to overall shoulder strength, male gymnasts need shoulder stability to perform their sport.
Male gymnasts encounter different stresses on their joints compared to their female counterparts due to differences in the events they compete. In men’s gymnastics, there are multiple events that place stress across the joints of the arm including the rings, high bar, parallel bars and pommel horse.
Gymnasts require more flexibility than the general athlete to perform the necessary skills of their sport. Summertime is a great time to focus on increasing flexibility. Since stretching is an important component of training, it is a good idea to review some of the safest ways to stretch to prevent injury and progress flexibility.
Gymnastics offers a unique perspective, even allowing some athletes to see the world upside down!
Most people agree that gymnasts and cheerleaders must be very strong and flexible. Although each athlete is different, patterns of tightness and weakness are often found when screening gymnasts and cheerleaders. As with many sports, some muscles will become naturally stronger and more flexible, while others will be weaker and tighter due to the positioning of the skills practiced. Correction of these muscle imbalances is important to enhance skill level and prevent injury. (more…)