Here are 5 important body shapes that your gymnasts should definitely learn and perform correctly to ensure proper gymnastics and injury prevention!
Pushing Through Shoulders
Often times we see our gymnasts trying skills like back walk overs, back handsprings, or front handsprings where they start to sag in their shoulders as their hands hit the equipment. It is very important to teach your gymnasts to push tightly through their shoulder muscles rather than letting their upper back arch.
Drill Idea: Have your gymnasts hold handstands against an incline mat against the wall and focusing on pushing their bodies tight and tall through their shoulders.
With the sagging shoulder issue, your gymnast may also not understand the concept of rounding their backs and staying hollow. Arching the back, when it is not appropriate to do so, can cause weakness and possible injury if this shape is not corrected.
How to Arch Properly
Many times we see gymnasts arching solely through their lower backs during back or front walkovers, handsprings, and other skills. These improper techniques can lead to many bad habits while performing skills as well as possible lower back injuries.
Drill Idea: Let your gymnasts practice walkovers and handsprings on a tumble trainer, emphasizing the proper stretch through their backs.
Not only do gymnasts need to learn how to be on high toe because the judges like it, it also helps to strengthen their feet and ankles for more stability while doing their skills! It also helps to create a better toe point!
Flexed Stomach Muscles
Often when gymnasts are told to get their bellies in they just suck in air. When a coach says to get your stomach in, it is important that the gymnast knows that they need to flex and tighten their abdominal muscles, not just suck it in.
Drill Idea: Use an octagonal donut and have your gymnasts log roll across the hole, really focusing on not arching and keeping their bellies tight!