Gymnastics is calisthenics combined with art. Any good gymnast knows that without proper leg, core, and upper body strength then things like floor routines, saw horse and uneven bars are pretty much impossible. This isn’t a surprise, even to the casual observer one can see all the muscles activating during gymnastic routines on television, like in the Olympics for example.
But if you’re just starting out, or if you are an intermediate gymnast looking to take your game to the next level, then upping your body strength FIRST is the perfect next step in achieving your goals. With a stronger body you’ll be able to perform what you currently can do easier and also add new more advanced techniques to your repertoire.
Benefits of Building Functional Muscle
Having a strong body is the base of which everything else can be built off. For elementary gymnasts building muscle comes naturally as the body adapts to movements and exertions that it previously did not have to deal with. This stress alone stimulates modest muscle growth.
Within the first years of gymnastics many participants experience significant muscle gain in their legs, core (abdominal region) and upper back, simply due to the consistent stress of practicing on a routine basis.
Working out in addition to practice is a great way to strengthen the body and prepare it for the stress of things like floor routines. With your body in check you can focus more on the mental aspect of the game and less on the preparation.
Consider your muscle and your body the foundation upon which you build your gymnastics house, or career.
Dangers of Not Building Muscle
While some body types are naturally suited to the rigors of advanced flips, swings, vaults and summersaults, others simply aren’t. Bodies come in all shapes in sizes (endomorphs, ectomorphs and mesomorphs) and some are naturally more equipped with more muscle than other. Usually shorter, squatter body types are naturally more muscular than longer skinnier body types. This is mostly due to genetics.
If you have a longer thinner frame, and you try to perform advanced maneuvers, you may open yourself up to injury as your natural skeletal muscle mass may not be enough to support the weight and stress of the action being attempted.
Having a body that is not trained to handle these stress loads can fail, meaning you can pull muscles, tear tendons or even break bones.
It’s not the end of the world however, because with proper nutrition and exercise anyone can turn their body into a bullet proof gymnastics performing machine!
Home Workout Solutions
Since you probably are in school most of the day, or working your day job if you’re older, and you spend every extra minute you have practicing in the gym anyways, you may feel like you just don’t have time to go to a weight training gym to do your exercises and strengthen your body.
This isn’t the case however as there are a massive variety of exercises you can do at home to prepare your body and grow into the strongest version of yourself.
Free Standing Pull Up Bars
A free-standing pull up bar is more than just a bar for pull ups. Sure, pull ups are a great exercise for strengthening the back, core and arms, but as a gymnast you need more right?
Free standing units are actually more like all-in-one home gyms than they are just regular pull up bars. This means most of them not only feature a place for different pull up variations, but also fixtures so you can perform:
- Dips for you arms, traps and chest
- Sit ups with your feet secured for abs
- Bars for pushups for your chest and back
- Captains chair fixture for lower abdominals and core stability
These type of setups are so useful most big gyms will even have them in addition to their free weights. Go into any Planet Fitness, Snap Fitness or even Golds Gym and you’ll find a free-standing pull up bar station.
If you’re a good welder, or know someone who is, you can try making one yourself. Otherwise we recommend you simply buy one. Check out Pullup Professors for a review of the best free standing pull up bars currently on the market. They aren’t cheap, but they are built to last a lifetime and should be considered an investment in your health, which we all know is invaluable.
Bodyweight exercises are another great way to train the body that doesn’t require a big up front investment to get started. Doing things like bodyweight squats, lunges, box jumps, pushups, setups, planks, etc will help you build an overall strong physique worthy of any Olympic caliber gymnast.
Check out the Fitness Tips section on Pullup Professors for good bodyweight exercise ideas. Otherwise check out the video below for some ideas!
Additionally Supplementary Work
Besides investing in a free-standing pull up bar or doing hardcore bodyweight exercises you can further train your mind and body by picking up some of the following hobbies:
There is a reason everyone and their mother is doing Yoga these days; it works! Yoga is great for flexibility and stress release. As you workout and go about your day your body builds up all sorts of stresses. Yoga helps to release these making you more limber and increasing your range of motion, which in turn makes you a better overall athlete.
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese art that is all about focus, connecting with your body and finding inner balance. It may sound a bit mystical but it’s anything but. Older people LOVE Tai Chi because they say it helps with their balance. Try out a few classes and you’ll quickly see why. For this reason alone its a great supplement to any gymnasts routine.
Swimming.. it’s a muscle building workout and cardio session all in one and the best part is it’s super fun! If you’re sick of gym room activities or just want to cool off, go for a quick 20 minute swim. This helps work your muscles in a completely different way than they’re used to and pools are everywhere. If you don’t live in a city then just jump in a lake! Mother natures training facility!
Hiking, and not just the leisurely picnic type, but actually hiking up and down mountains is an excellent workout for your quads and hamstrings as well as your calves and core. Add the fact that it’s also considered cardio and is WAY more exciting than standing on a treadmill for hours at a time there’s not reason you shouldn’t be hiking once and a while.
If hiking is a little too slow of pace however maybe pick up mountain biking or road biking? You move much faster so it’s exciting, and you can get pretty competitive as well. Legs and core are worked in addition to the heart so cycling is another great addition to your fit lifestyle.
In the end it’s all about diversification. Mixing up your fitness activities keeps the body confused and unprepared, which in turns stimulates it to grow bigger, stronger, more resilient and more flexible as well. All of these will aid in your career as a gymnast.
Recently a friend showed us a video that we have to admit, while completely dangerous and not something we would normally condone, sure did impress the heck out of us!
The video, now going viral on Vine shoes a pair of two extremely fit male gymnasts doing a synchronized routine over a series of parked cars. This is amazing for a few reasons.
- They are flipping over entire parked cars, even two parked cars, which is a massive distance, both horizontally and vertically, to flip over.
- The cars are parked, naturally, on an asphalt parking lot, making this routine not only dangerous but painful on the gymnasts hands.
- It’s a duet routine, and they actually stay in sync quite nicely, making us think these are seasoned doubles gymnasts.
It’s always cool to see moves and routines that are honed in the gym over hundreds of hours of long hard practice finally used in public. People watching flips integrated with handsprings and somersaults are always left impressed, as they’re used to seeing these things in kung-fu movies only.
While we always stress the importance of proper safety, that is, performing gymnastics in gyms that have proper padded floors and trained supervision to prevent injury, we can’t help but fall in love with this risky routine from these two “street gymnasts” as they’ve been dubbed on multiple online outlets.
Watch the video below and try not to go crazy like the two women watching the routine, especially when these men perform their flips over three parked cars. Yes, three cars parked next to each other made for the first obstacle in this amazing routine!
Again, for the safety of our readership and their friends and family we must emphasize that we do not recommend you try this at home. Even with dozens of years of practice this is still a very risky maneuver and should only be done by people with additional stunt skills.
But with the safety warning aside, we can’t help but watch this video on repeat and be in awe at both the speed at which the routine was performed but also the insane physical fitness levels of the two men performing. How they can perform such high speed flips without damaging their hands on the rough asphalt we have no idea but we don’t care, this video is just that awesome!
Share it with your friends or anyone else that is into gymnastics, calisthenics or street fitness in general as this is a truly one of a kind performance.
There may be many fitness centers in your area, but finding the right one can be challenging. You should find a gym that provides all the facilities you need. Here are some tips that can help you to find the best gym for you.
Decide why you want to go to the gym
First, you need to decide why you want to go to the gym. Ask yourself whether you want to swim, do yoga, run on a treadmill or use the modern cardiovascular machine. Then find out which gym has all the facilities you are looking for.
Location of the gym
The gym you choose must be near your home or your workplace. The main reason why people don’t continue their fitness regime is due to lack of time. If the gym is close to your office or home, you will go there regularly.
Credentials of the staff
It is important that the gym has qualified workers. They will be able to guide you on exercise and with the proper alignment on a machine.
The amenities that are offered
A gym or fitness center must have things other than free weights and machines. If must have lockers, towels, pool, tennis court, etc. It can also have a massage center, spa service, restaurant ant and child care facilities.
The operational hours
It is important that your schedule matches with your gym classes. If the gym has limited operational hours, then it won’t be convenient for you.
Choose a gym that has multiple facilities and is quite affordable. For example, if you don’t swim, then there is no reason to search for a gym that has a swimming pool. Look for any added benefits that you can have, like free family membership, child care facility, etc.
You can talk to your friends or neighbors about the gym facilities. Become a member of a gym that has a good reputation for its facilities and instructors.
Spending hours in the gym won’t give you the best results. You should know the right ways to make most out of your gym workouts. Here are some great tips.
Eat something before the exercise
It is important to fuel your body before you work out. If you are feeling low energy, then take some carbohydrates and a little protein to give you the energy to workout.You should drink plenty of water before going to the gym as you need to keep yourself hydrated throughout the whole workout session.
Start your workout with something you like
First, warm up and then begin with the routine you like most. Whether it’s the crunches, yoga, weights, machines or dance, start your workout with the exercise routine you like the most.
Burn more calories
Include high-intensity interval training in your cardio routine. Make multitasking moves that will work various muscle sets simultaneously. These exercises will burn the most calories.
Get a personal trainer
Getting a coach will help you to achieve your fitness goal faster. Your coach will keep you focused all the time. If hiring a personal trainer seems too costly, then you can share a trainer with your friend. Many trainers offer small group rates.
When you visit a gym, try to avoid the peak times. If you go inside a crowded gym, you will not have the concentration to workout. You may have to use the gym facilities for a shorter period than during free times. So, set up a routine and visit the gym regularly to get a healthy and fit body.
It is very hard for someone who is not a morning person to wake up early in the morning. They have to take few cups of coffee before things get any better. One good strategy to get over with your sleepiness is to exercise. It may be hard in the beginning, but you will soon get used to it. Here are five great morning workouts to start your day.
1. Jumping Jacks
This exercise is good for cardiovascular health. It also helps to tone muscles. You first need to stand with your feet together. Then jump while spreading your legs and arms. Return to the original position and repeat it. First, do this for one minute and then you can increase the time.
2. Balancing Table Pose
It is a yoga pose and helps support your spine; gives you balance, concentration, and memory. Start with your knees and hands down, like a table. Breathe in. Then raise your left leg parallel to the floor and at the same time raise your right arm. Exhale while doing these movements. Breathe in again as you lower your leg and arm. Repeat it on the other side. Try to do this exercise 10 times every morning.
3. Leg Squats
This exercise not only involves your legs but your hips and knees too. You should first stand with your feet a bit apart. Spread your arms out in front of you. Lower yourself slowing to a sitting position until you reach a 90-degree angle. Then return to the starting point. Repeat it as many times as you can. This exercise benefits your knees and legs.
4. Push Ups
You start by lying down, and your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands must be in line with your shoulders. Lower your body while breathing in. Get back to the starting position as you exhale. First, start with a small number of push ups, and then gradually increase it.
You should stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your hands must be on your hips. You should take a big step forward with the right leg. Make your left knee go down to the floor level. Now alternate your legs. You can use weights while doing this exercise. It is good for toning and strengthening glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
Morning exercises can quickly make you feel better. It will also help you to control your weight and have a good night’s sleep. So, develop a morning routine to stay fit and healthy.