Dance and gymnastics are two sports that require an extreme amount of mobility and flexibility, as well as strength, power, and endurance to be successful. Mobility is different from flexibility and flexibility is not an indicator of good mobility. Flexibility is defined as the muscles’ ability to stretch temporarily. An example of flexibility would be a rubber band; it can temporarily lengthen but returns to a normal resting rate. Mobility is a joint’s ability to actively move through a specific range of motion. To simplify this explanation of flexibility versus mobility, flexibility is related to muscle length and mobility is related to a joint’s ability to move.
Gymnasts have a very long season- they usually practice year-round with the main bulk of the competition season occurring during the winter and spring for many levels. Due to this type of training schedule, gymnasts need to make sure they are taking care of themselves during and after practice. Here are some tips for self-care for gymnasts to keep them healthy and on track for a great season.
If you’re a gymnast, you know the pain and inconvenience of sustaining a rip. Rips are a common and painful occurrence in gymnastics, caused by separation of the upper layers of skin in the palm of the hand or around the wrists from the lower layers of skin. Rips can happen from an excessively tight grip, or a callus buildup which causes the skin to bunch as the gymnast swings around the bar. The force of the swing pulls the upper layer of skin away from the lower layers which can lead to a blister or cause it to fill with blood. Rips can also form near the wrist if rubbing occurs against a wrist brace or the gymnast’s grips. Callus formation is also extremely common, and gymnasts most often get calluses on the palms of the hand from repeated friction on the bar. The good news is that rips can be prevented, and the most effective way to do so is by focusing on overall hand and callus care.
Gymnasts are strong, and they have to be to do their amazing tumbling passes, hang and spin on the bars, and perform their routines on beam or pommel horse. Weight lifting is a common way that many athletes build strength. However, in the gymnastics world, weight lifting has mixed reactions. Historically, many gymnastic coaches and athletes have discouraged weight lifting routines as they may “bulk” up the athlete. Gymnasts need to maintain certain agility and flexibility to perform their skills and be able to fly through the air. The question becomes, “can a gymnast lift weights for strengthening purposes without causing harm?”
Cheerleading has become one of the fastest-growing sports, and it is no surprise why! Cheerleading has evolved into an activity involving gymnastics, stunts, jumps, and dance jam-packed into a three-minute routine, while most times simultaneously cheering for your school. We hope these tips help you feel more prepared for your big day!
Foot and ankle injuries can occur during various sports, but a shoe or cleat may protect the foot from more severe injuries. However, some sports are performed barefoot, such as gymnastics. Gymnasts have high demands on their feet and ankle, especially when landing their skills on vault, bars, floor, and beam. Gymnastics places high impact forces and high repetitions on growing young athletes. Gymnasts train all year and are therefore susceptible to overuse injuries.
Gymnastics is a unique sport where athletes spend a large amount of time on their hands. Handstands, tumbling, rings, and bars require the athlete to place their entire body weight through the arms and into the hands. Other sports do not place these heavy demands on the upper extremity. When tumbling, the athlete puts not only their entire body weight through the hands but can have up to 16 times their body weight in force going across the wrist2. No wonder 80% of gymnasts will experience wrist pain at some point in their career!6 In a study comparing injuries in male and female collegiate gymnasts, men suffered more hand and wrist injuries than their female counterparts1. We will be taking a closer look at the types of hand and wrist injuries both male and female gymnasts may experience and how to treat or prevent these injuries.
Warm-up and recovery are important parts of a workout routine that often get overlooked. A dynamic warm-up prepares the body prior to exercise; conversely, recovery or cooling down after exercise can help manage soreness. Active recovery is a great option to help manage normal muscle soreness symptoms after high-intensity workouts. It is normal to have muscle soreness after high- intensity exercise; this can last for several hours up to several days. Active recovery may help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.