Maybe you want to learn gymnastics, or maybe you just want to be toned like a gymnast. Regardless of the reason, this beginner's workout guide will strengthen all your muscles to be ready for some flippin' around!
This 10-step guide will take you through strengthening exercises for your arms, legs, abs, and back. While there are plenty more, these beginner sets will get your started in building the muscles you want.
1. Shoulder-Touches: 2 sets of 10
Start in a push-up position. From there, lift your right hand and touch your right shoulder, then your left hand a touch your left shoulder, and continue going back and forth.
Shoulder touches will strengthen your shoulders, arms, and wrists, to get your body ready to be on your hands a lot more often.
2. Little Arm Circles: 30 secs forwards/30 secs backwards
Start standing up with your arms out straight next to you. Begin doing tiny arm circles backwards. To estimate the right size, pretend you are circling around a golf ball with your fingertips. After 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and switch to backwards arm circles.
The real challenge to this is NOT to let your arms relax for the entire set. Bonus points if you can go the whole minute without relaxing!
3. Assisted Pull-Ups: 5
Being able to accomplish a pull-up (overhand grip) is one of the most important strength-building exercises in gymnastics, especially for bar skills. But most people can't "just do" a pull-up.
The assisted pull-up is a great tool. Simply put your feet up on a block or higher surface, and pull your chin to the bar. Putting your feet on the block takes some of the weight off or your own body while still making you work for it a little bit.
4. Box Jumps: 10 forward; 10 backwards
Choose a mat, box, or other higher surface to jump on top of. Start facing the box with your arms up. Squat down and jump on top of the box with both feet. Jump back down (do not step down) and repeat x10.
With the backwards box jumps, start a lower height as jumping backwards is more difficult. The form is the same, just start facing away from the box, and jump up and back.
5: Toe Risers: 2 sets of 20
Start by standing on an elevated surface like a mat or a block standing with your toes on the mat, but your heels hanging off. From there, simply push up on your toes and back down.
Toe risers build essential muscle in your calves necessary for tumbling and jumping high.
6. Roll-Back-Jump-Ups: 10
Start standing (we recommend a mat or soft surface like grass). Sit down and roll backwards to candlestick with straight legs in the air, roll back up to your feet , and jump straight up. From there, you sit and roll back again and so-on.
Not only will this skill work your legs, and and glutes, but it will work up your endurance!
7. Crunches: 20
Start by sitting on the ground with your back and legs off of the ground. Extend to straight body, then tuck in your arms and legs for the *crunch*. Make sure your legs and back never touch the ground in between reps!
This will help build essential ab muscles and work your way towards the infamous V-Up!
8: Hip Risers: 20
Start by sitting on the ground with your legs straight up in the air in candlestick, and your arms on the ground next to your hips. From there, lift your hips off the ground without your feet coming down, and then bring your hips back down. Repeat x20!
Gaining muscle to support moving your hips is one of the most important aspects to gymnastics. Your ability to move your hips is what gets you from one side to the other, in a back-walkover, back-hand-spring, back-layout, and so-on.
9. Butterfly Sit-Ups: 30
Don't let the name fool you - these ones hurt. Start in a butterfly position with your feet facing each-other. Lie down while maintaining your legs in the same position. From there, crunch up and reach for your toes - lifting your head, neck and shoulders off of the ground.
10. Arch-Ups: 35
Start by laying flat on the ground on your stomach. You might want to find a partner to hold your feet down, or just tuck them underneath a mat or press them against a wall.
From there lift your hands up next to your shoulders so your arms aren't touching the ground. Then arch your back up and back down, without touching the ground with your hands the whole time.
Back muscle is oftentimes overlooked, but essential in getting gymnast-muscles!
So there you have it: the beginner's guide to a gymnast's body. Complete all these once a week, and you won't believe what your body will become capable of.
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