Health and performance are interrelated to each other. We should be in a good physical (inner and outer) condition so we can train and achieve our optimum athletic performance. Likewise, undergoing training for better athleticism can, in turn, put you in good health.

Most of us lift loads to train. Have you heard about weights for mobility too? Gymnasts tend to use weights to gain mobility, increase flexibility, enhance strength for full ranges of motion, and prevent injuries. This fitness routine is called gymnastic strength training and listed down are its three sample exercises.

The Jefferson Curl

In gymnastics, it is common to flex your spine often. Even so, this instance may result in unstable hamstrings that affect the mobility of your knees, calves, and ankles. There are training that you can do to avoid injuries, though. One example is Jefferson Curl.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Stand upright on an elevated surface (e.g., bench or with weighted bar)
  2. Your chin comes down
  3. Keep your pelvis tucked under
  4. Slowly round (one vertebra at a time) your back forward starting from your cervical spine to at least hands under the feet
  5. Keep the load  on the balls of your feet
  6. Slowly return (one vertebra at a time) from the forward flexed position

In general, the Jefferson Curl  can:

       Lengthen your hamstrings and the spinal muscles
       Enhance flexibility in your hamstrings
       Strengthen your posterior chain
       Increase the movement options or control of spinal mobility
       Improve back health under load
       Result in a supple, strong, and mobile body

Further, are you having a sedentary lifestyle? Have you been hunching over electronic devices that made you stayed seated for a long time? Let me guess. You have a weak and sore back, haven’t you? This condition can lead to posterior weakness. It’ll inevitably cause chronic pain in your neck and lower back.

As shown above, the Jefferson Curls can aid in the stable progression of your overall spinal mobility. By increasing your hamstrings’ mobility and strengthening your posterior chain, it may be able to cure back pain. If done properly, it would potentially prevent possible spinal joint compensation from excessive flexion of the spine, such as desk work and overstretching.

The Hollow Body Hold

The Hollow Body Hold is one of the basic positions in gymnastics. It allows any doer of it to properly transfer force from their upper body to their lower body without draining your energy.

It doesn’t require any equipment. Also, it can be modified, depending on a person’s fitness level and unique skills. Nevertheless, one missed or improperly done step can lead to lower back and neck discomfort.

Here’s how you do it:

1.      Lie on your back

2.      Pull your knees up toward your chest

3.      Press your lower back into the floor

4.      Lift your head and upper back a few centimeters (like doing a crunch)

  1. Extend your legs outward and your arms overhead
  2. Hold that position for 10 seconds, then rest and repeat

Further, if you want someone or “something” to guide you over without going to the gym, there are many advanced intelligent fitness systems that can assist you. One example is the Tonal’s technology. It’s an interactive home gym that can provide you guided workouts, including specific sets and reps. You have to raise the attached pulleys when raising your legs.

Despite its simplicity, it’s a full-body exercise. It engages your core, arms, legs, and entire back. The difficulty is always pressing your lumbar spine or lower back against the ground for a long time. It becomes more challenging when there is a further extension of both your arms and legs from your core.

A strong hollow body position is an essential component for those who are aiming for high-level gymnastics strength. It is because a fully extended position can generate a load or weight that might be too extreme for other people. Try to execute a perfect 45-degree position and hold it longer to get a better result. In no time, you’ll surely get a strong and stable core.

Superman or Arch Body Hold

Another way to strengthen your core is to perform superman or arch body hold. Its main purpose is to for you to know any weakness on your posterior chain. Many individuals have chronic tight frontal body parts. How? The exercise can empower your posterior chain, chest, and hip flexors.

Like the Hollow Body Hold, it is also a total body workout. In general, it can strengthen your lower and upper back, glutes, hamstrings, and core. However, its position is the total opposite of The Hollow Body Hold.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Lie face down on the ground
  2. Place both of your arms out straight overhead
  3. Place both of your legs out straight behind you
  4. Relax your muscles
  5. Make sure your neck should be in a neutral position
  6. Raise your chest and legs off the ground like how superman does when flying
  7. Squeeze your shoulders, back, and glutes, while doing step number seven
  8. Keep your hands and legs straight
  9. Don’t bend your knees
  10. Hold for ten seconds, then repeat

If you can do a full superman position, that’s great! Otherwise, take it easy. You can start with raising fewer limbs or lift your right arm and left leg at once and vice versa. If you want something harder, you can try hefting your limbs just on one side of your body. It is one of the ways to emphasize the possible imbalance in your core muscles, as well. 

For gymnasts, superman improves their ability in controlling their core and torso during muscle-ups, kipping motions, and static holds. What is more, since you are going to do strong muscle contractions, you’ll be able to keep rigid flexion and torso extension. This ability can lead to better control and stability for dynamic gymnastic movements.

Takeaway

Nowadays, people wanted to get instant results and immediate gratification when working out. Having shortsighted, impatient efforts will result in insufficient and poor-quality outputs, as well as possible physical injuries. It is because you’ll get out the same thing that you put in.

That will not do in gymnastics strength training. Its greatest advantage isn’t related to physical ability nor body structure. It is more into someone’s approach and mindset. You’ll be closer to success when you prioritize mastery and quality.


Written by Kenny Kline


Nina Derwael, who became the first Belgian gymnast to win a gold medal at a World championships last year, successfully defended her title on bars today at Stuttgart's event finals.

British gymnast Becky Downie, who was the second competitor on bars, was in gold medal position up until she got outscored by the Belgium gymnast at the end of the competition.

This is Downie's first individual medal at World championships. She was part of the bronze medal winning GB team at 2015 Worlds. She is also the 2014 and 2016 European champion on the uneven bars.

After a rough all around competition, US Sunisa Lee managed to take third place. Teammate Simone Biles came in 5th. 

Russian gymnasts Angelina Melniova and Daria Spiridonova finished in 4th and 6th places respectively.

Liu Tingting of China had a 7th place finish while Elisabeth Seitz of Germany finished last after a fall on her pak salto transition.



Written by Gigi Farid



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American gymnasts Simone Biles and Jade Carey took first and second place respectively on vault at the current World championships' event finals.

Both gymnasts went for the same vaults, Cheng (D:6) and Amanar (D:5.8). This is Biles 23rd medal at World championships and her second World title on vault. 

Carey was the silver medalist on the event at the 2017 World championships. It is worth mentioning that Carey topped Biles on the event during the qualifications.

British Elissa Downie took the bronze medal, which is her first individual medal at a World championships.

Downie competed a double twisting Yurchenko (5.4) and a Cheng. Canada's Shallon Olsen, who won silver at last year's Worlds, finished in fourth place.

Alexa Moreno, who became the first female Mexican gymnast to win a medal at a World championships last year on vault, came in 6th place.

China's Qi Qi got 5th place and Russia's Lilia Akhiamova got 7th. 

 South Korea's Yeo Seojeong had a fall on her handspring double twist attempt thus finishing last. Earlier this year, Seojeong became the first female gymnast to land the vault.




Written by Gigi Farid



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After a very strong performance, Tang Xijing captured the silver medal in the all around competition of the World championships that is currently being held in Stuttgart, Germany.


This is China's first World all around medal in women's gymnastics since Yao Jinnan in 2011.

What's even more impressive is that Xijing did not originally qualify to the all around final. Teammates Liu Tingting  and Li Shijia had higher scores in the qualification hence were the ones to head to the all around final. While, Xijing scored more than two full points lower than her teammates.

After Tingting withdrew from the final, Xijing filled in the spot.

Russia's Angelina Melnikova took the bronze medal, which is her first individual medal at a World championships. At last year's Worlds, she won silver with her team and finished in 5th place and 4th place in the all around and on floor exercise respectively. 

In 2017, she had a 16th place finish.

The gold medal went to Legendary US gymnast Simone Biles, increasing her World medal count to 22.

Her teammate Sunisa Lee finished in 8th place. 2017 World all around silver medalist Elsabeth Black of Canada placed fourth. Belgium's Nina Derwael and Brasil's Faliva Saraiva came in 5th and 7th place respectively.

By finishing in 6th place, Germany's Elisabeth Sietz had her best World all around placement.

The reigning European all around champion Melanie de Jesus dos Santos of France had a rough competition, falling off the bars twice and subsequently finishing in 20th place.

Written by Gigi Farid


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Double Olympian Jade Barbosa has been diagnosed with an ACL tear after suffering an injury during the qualifications of the 2019 World championships.

The Brazilian gymnast injured herself after landing her double twisting Yurchenko on vault. She was pulled out of the competition and did not compete on the uneven bars which she was considered an asset on for the team.

Brasil has missed the chance to qualify as a full team for Tokyo Olympics. Since her ACL tear would likely take from six to eight months recovery, Barbosa won't have the chance to try for an individual Olympic spot.

Teammate Flavia Saraiva secured her Olympic spot by qualifying to this Worlds' all around final in 10th place.

Twelve years ago, Barbosa became the first Brazilian gymnast to win an all around World medal, a bronze. The world championships were held in the same city that currently hosts the 2019 Worlds (Stuttgart, Germany).

Written by Gigi Farid


 


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Today, Italy delivered a historical performance at the 2019 World championships which is being held in Stuttgart, Germany.

La Squadra Azurra captured the bronze medal in the team final competition. This is Italy's first ever medal at a Worlds team final competition in modern day gymnastics and the first since 1950 which was also a bronze.

The team consisted of Desirée Carofiglio, Alice D'Amato, Asia D'Amato, Elisa Iorio and Giorgia Villa. In the qualification, they finished in last place.

With USA gymnastics team winning their fifth consecutive world gold medal, Simone Biles became the most successful female gymnast of all time at World championships breaking her tie with retired Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina.

The Russian gymnasts took silver, the same as last year's Worlds. While China settled for fourth place after suffering from several falls. China won bronze last year.

France and Canada finished in 5th and 6th respectively. Netherlands placed 7th. Great Britain finished last.

Via whipwhipdoublearabian

Written by Gigi Farid 



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Russia's Aliya Mustafina, who gave birth to daughter Alisa in 2017, made her comeback to elite gymnastics in 2018.

She competed in a number of competitions in 2018 & 2019 like 2018 Russian National Championships, 2018 World Championships in Doha and 2019 Stuttgart Cup.

Mustafina is an Olympic, World and European champion. She is considered to be one of best gymnasts, Russia has ever produced.

Here are GIFs of Mustafina's beam dismounts after her last comeback, she performs a round off to double back tuck which is rated a D :


2018


2018 World championships in Doha



2018 World championships in Doha



2019:
Stuttgart Cup

Birmingham World Cup 



Russian champion ships

By Gigi Farid


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Olympic champion and legendary gymnast Elena Shushunova died last night at the age of 49.

Russian Gymnastics Federation said in a press release that the Soviet gymnast died of complications from pneumonia last night after being rushed to the hospital.

Shushunova was one of the most successful gymnasts having won the grand slam of All-Around titles: Olympics (1988), World Championships (1985), European Championships (1985). She was renowned for pioneering complex skills as well as for her explosive and dynamic tumbling and high consistency.

She had two skills named after her, on the uneven bars and on balance beam. Her bars skill, swing forward with half turn – further half turn to counter straddle in flight over high bar, was previously rated a G and has been downgraded to an E.

Written by Gigi Farid