Gymnastics is an activity and sport involving performance of exercises requiring physical strength, flexibility, agility, co-ordination, balance, and grace. Competitive Artistic gymnastics is the best known of the gymnastic sports. It typically involves the women's events of uneven parallel bars, balance beam, floor exercise, and vault. Men's events include floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar.
Gymnastics evolved from exercises used by the ancient Greeks, that included skills for mounting and dismounting a horse, and from circus performing.
We all love to watch the gymnasts during the Summer Olympics, but ideas from gymnastics can help you get a better workout, too! Obviously there are opportunities for kids as young as preschool up through college to take part in gymnastics, but it can be a great and fun activity and form of exercise for adults as well. There are adult gymnastics classes offered many local gymnastics facilities
If the acrobatics aspect seems a bit over your head, you can still achieve phenomenal fitness benefits by performing gymnastics-inspired conditioning exercises and basic drills. Some of the best physiques in the world have been developed based on gymnastics exercises. Here are some basic gymnastics exercises:
Seated on the floor with your legs out in front, press thru your arms and attempt to lift your legs and butt off the floor. Doing it with straight legs is tough—first try with your legs bent up. Even if you can hold for just half a second, you will get better with practice. This exercise develops your abs, hip flexors, shoulders, chest and triceps. Do 8 attempts holding yourself up as long as you can, even if it’s just a fraction of a second. You will get better with practice!
Place your hands on the floor with your arms straight. Start off with a very small kick and see if you can support your weight on your hands even for a brief second. As you get stronger and gain coordination, kick up harder until you are able to get all the way upside down. These can also be performed against a wall once you are able to kick all the way up. This exercise develops your balance, as well as your shoulders, back, triceps, and abs. Try 10 handstands for set.
Place your hands on the floor and your feel up on the edge of a couch. Keeping your body in a push-up position, lean your shoulders out beyond your hands as far as you can while keeping arms straight. This exercise develops your shoulders, triceps, chest, lats, low back, and abs. Hold for 5 seconds each and do 5 reps.
by Gina Paulhus, CPT
Adult Gymnast, AAU Ladies Level 8