Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

It’s no surprise that gymnastics is both a mentally and physically challenging sport. It focuses on body awareness, coordination, balance, and flexibility. So gymnasts train hard to build muscular strength and endurance without minimizing serious injuries.
You now know why gymnastics is so important for most people (click here to see the health benefits of gymnastics article) . It fights depression, increases bone mineral density, and promotes better mental and cognitive function.
So how to get started in gymnastics to reap all its health benefits?
Getting started with gymnastic routines:
Before I list all the important gymnastic skills to look forward to, it’s important to pick a gymnastics class that fits your age group. If you’re starting off late, it’s better to first attend a few gymnastics training programs. This will help you determine your physical abilities, strength, and flexibility. And it also helps you decide what you need to work on the most.
Floor
The floor is where it all starts. It involves basic gymnastic skills including balance and body strength. If you hold your ground, you then progress to more complex floor movements. Elite gymnasts master the basic floor moves like handstands, rolls, cartwheels, and somersaults. These are trained and performed on a standard mat or spring floor to avoid injuries or sprains.
Beam
Practicing on the beam involves better body movement and coordination. A beam is a made up of leather material, usually 4 inches wide. Female gymnasts often develop different gymnastic skills including tap swing and stride circle. The more complicated gymnastic movements on the beam are handstand, piked Jager, straddle back, and many more.
Vault
The vaulting table is where are complex skills are practiced. But for beginners, it involves more basic skills like handstands and straddles. Working your way towards complex vault movements requires muscular strength, flexibility, and better balance. It also means to “stick the landing” in a professional and precise manner.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at a few important fitness tips for beginners. This will help you get started with gymnastics in a healthy and injury-free manner.

1. Stick To A Schedule

Any gymnast would tell you how important it is to stick to a proper gymnastic training framework. As per expert recommendation, training 3 times a week is ideal for beginners to target all muscle groups. Each day focuses on a different training program starting from low-intensity, medium-weight intensity, to high intensity sessions.
Such versatile training programs can build up better physical endurance and flexibility for beginners. Also it offers you a day’s rest after every session for faster recovery. (21)

2. Get The Basics Right

As with any other sport, learning the basic moves is critical for training. Since gymnastics is a sport of flexibility, strength, and agility, it’s important to master the basics before moving forward to more complex moves.
Based on a scientific review, building upper-body strength is necessary. Beginners can work on that with basic push-ups. There are different variations of doing a basic push-up. So you can increase the number of reps each week as you get stronger.
Doing a frog-stand to develop balancing skills and target core muscles is next. To master this basic, you need to squat with your hands on the floor. It’s important to lead forward while lifting your legs and touching the knees to the elbows. Hold this position for about 30 seconds to master a frog-stand.
Other basic moves include a handstand and somersault. (22)

3. It’s Important To Learn The Rules

Gymnasts don’t take rules lightly. For accurate performance, especially on a competitive level, following the rules is critical. That’s why beginners are first taught the important rules of gymnastics before training begins. Following these general rules help gymnasts hit higher scores and follow the routine effectively.
For example, at the time of competition, skills such as balance beam and floor come with strict time limits. If a gymnast exceeds the prescribed time limit, it leads to a score deduction. Other additional rules are proper conduct, body position, etc. (23)

4. Stretch Before And After Your Training

Stretching for flexibility and stretching for injury prevention are two different things. Most people give least importance to stretching for injury prevention.
According to a recent study, stretching before and after gymnastics training has positive neural and performance benefits. It helps in relaxing all muscle groups to reduce muscle stiffness and cramps. Also, an increase in stretching leads to a significant increase in range of motion and balance.
Stretching is important to boost strength and prevent fatigue caused by high-intensity workouts. Gymnasts who stretch for injury prevention also reported better muscle strength and reduced muscle stiffness after training. This can also prevent frequent muscle tears and knee problems. (24)

5. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep and exercise go hand-in-hand for athletes and gymnasts. It’s important to get enough sleep for proper training, especially when you want to make progress. For gymnastics training, beginners need extra sleep to reduce stress on the muscles and bones. It also helps in recovery for muscle soreness, especially after the first few sessions.
That said, beginners should train during evenings that is neither too early in the morning nor too late. If you train during your early waking hours, it can cause tiredness throughout the day. While training too late can leave you with very little body strength to train with. (25,26)
So as beginners, giving your body complete rest and recovery by training in the evenings is easier to recover from.

6. Don’t Forget To Wear Protective Gear

There are many ways to injure when practicing gymnastics. Floor exercises causes the most injuries, according to a recent study. But amateurs can hurt themselves by falling off the beam or other sports equipment too.
The most common injuries are ligament tears, bone fracture, muscle sprain, and back problems. So in order to stay protected, wearing wrist straps, grips, spotting belts, and guards are essential. Proper footwear is also critical to prevent ankle injuries.
Wearing wrist guards and grips prevent blisters and skin tears, especially during amateur training. Since the outer layer of the skin is not used to such challenging movements, it can cause serious injections if you act irresponsibly. (27)

7. Practice Gymnastics After Eating

It’s important you eat a proper meal before training. It meets the body’s demand for a healthy, filling, and immune-boosting meal. That said, gymnasts incorporate smaller meals that are high in energy to control their weight and increase muscular strength. So during heavy training, fatigue and dizziness is out of the question.
Eating energy bars, cereal, toast, or dried fruits before training is also healthy. And during training, drinking carbohydrate-rich fluids can prevent weakness and build stamina. (28)

8. Make Sure To Stay Hydrated

Dehydration, according to a recent report, can cause many health concerns on sports performance. It leads to decreased blood flow, heat dissipation, and sweat rate during exercise. These factors contribute to many illnesses including immune-related diseases.
So for maximum physical performance, drinking sufficient amounts of water during the day is important. It also affects your mood and concentration during gymnastics training. With dehydrated muscles, your blood pressure drops, heart rate increases, and there’s not enough fuel to power your body. This leads to more fluid loss and fatigue.
Preparing for a gymnastics meet includes drinking small amounts of water every 15-30 minutes or so before, during, and after training. (29)

9. Eat A Healthy Diet

Your body requires proper nutrients for energy production and boosting stamina. Gymnasts, on the one hand, require high calorie intake to avoid tiredness, fatigue, and sluggishness. Other important nutrients include macronutrients such as carbs, protein, and fats.
Foods such as oatmeal, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, and vegetables are considered high-energy foods for a gymnast. It helps in proper fiber and protein absorption. While lean protein meals consisting of eggs, chicken, and lean beef also boost energy during training. (30)
Lack of proper nutrition can cause immune suppression which is characterized by an increase in stress hormones in the body. Longer recovery is also a partly responsible for lack of nutrition in the body. (31)

10. Don’t Stress Yourself Out

Did you know stress can affect sports performance causing high blood pressure, fear, and shortness of breath? Increased anxiety during physical performance can even cause serious muscle spasms and soreness.
A recent report on anxiety and sports performance determined that high stress levels disrupt concentration for more advanced skills in gymnastics. It can seriously impact a wide range of gymnastic skills such as handstands, somersaults, and other basic moves.
Beginners often fall and release lots of perspiration due to high stress levels during performance. So staying calm is critical to stellar gymnastics performance. (32)

Wrapping It Up

Knowing how well gymnastics can affect the human body is critical to sports performance. Many youngsters and elders are participating in this sport to build muscular strength and flexibility. An important aspect of gymnastics is a healthy sleeping and eating habit. If you do this, you feed your body enough nutrients to stay energetic.
Since gymnastics is a challenging sport, treating the mind and body is critical for good performance. That being said, if you have the time to practice gymnastics at least 3 times a week, it’s something to look forward to. Learning all the different gymnastic skills and routines requires flexibility and body coordination. And you can definitely achieve all this with consistent athletic and gymnastic training.
So are you ready to work on your body by participating in gymnastics?

Written by Jacky Miller
You can visit Miller's website here and follow her on Facebook and Twitter 

Axact

WOGymnastikA

WOGymnastikA is a blog turned website which brings you the latest updates on women’s artistic gymnastics as well as exclusive interviews with your favorite gymnasts. If you are interested in joining our team, please contact us on wogymnastika@gmail.com .

\

Post A Comment:

0 comments: