Getting Conditioned, Gymtime Gymnastics Style
At every Gymtime Team Practice, our girls follow up their 15-minute dynamic muscle warm-up with 45 minutes of essential conditioning! Gymnasts need to condition more than most other young athletes due to the pressure and torque they put on their bodies and joints. Proper conditioning is necessary first to protect the body from injury, and second to be able to achieve desired skill level. If gymnasts focus ONLY on skills, then they will never build the muscles necessary to actually achieve them, resulting in injury.
In gymnastics one uses ALL of the muscles in one’s body. This is why it is important to target all the major muscle groups in the gymnast’s body along with the smaller joint muscles and connective tissue. Our conditioning is therefore broken down into three large target areas:
1) Core muscles
Within each major area, we have three conditioning exercises that target different core muscles, different arm muscles, and different leg muscles. All of the exercises are repeated since repetition is very important in strengthening!
The same conditioning exercises are repeated for 3 weeks and the 4th week is called “Up-week!” This is the week we increase the amount of reps or time an exercise is held. Then the next week begins a whole new conditioning routine. So it is important to repeat these exercises for a while to truly strengthen the muscle; however, it is also important to change up the exercises throughout the year (for us it is every four weeks) to continue to strengthen the body’s plethora of small muscles in different ways.
At Gymtime we like to use all of the equipment in the gym for conditioning to keep it fun and interesting for the gymnasts! We use the bars, balance beams, mats, carpet sliders, jump ropes, therabands, ankle weights, partners, and more. We make sure to have still and slow conditioning movements along with fast and explosive conditioning movements, as both are essential to one’s gymnastics career!