We spend about 25% of the practice doing strengthening and conditioning exercises. Actually, Coach Penelope would probably prefer the amount to be around FIFTY PERCENT, but I am able to get her to compromise for the sake of the students sanity. (You’re welcome everyone).
Why is strength & stamina so crucial for Gymnasts, Tumblers, and Trampolinists?
It becomes very important when it is time to learn the advanced maneuvers. When a pupil is having trouble learning a technique in a straight bodied position, sometimes it is because they are currently too weak to perform the move correctly. If this is the case, that’s not an quick fix. The coach must now spend several months putting the pupil on a strengthening regiment, just to learn that one particular skill. Thus, if we begin strength and stamina practice from the beginning of a student’s career, they will not run into these major road-blocks later.
Twisting maneuvers such as Baranis and Full-twisting Layouts require a powerful core, as well as very strong arms and very strong legs; even more so in the piked or straight-bodies positions. Double Somersaults require a ridiculous amount of power, especially if the pupil wants to perform them with a kick-out. And even more so for Triple Somersaults. It’s no wonder why elite gymnasts and elite trampolinists look so athletic and muscular, the amount of exertion required in certain routines can rival that of a power-lifter.
If you cannot get through a proper abdominal or leg workout, you’ll never be able to learn a double-somersault or a triple somersault. I would hesitate to teach you even a single flip. You must show me that you are physically ready to learn.
Another reason: the stronger you are, the less chances you will injure yourself. Even if a flip is “wobbly”, the athlete will have acquired enough core strength to pull herself/himself through and complete the maneuver even if it isn’t perfect. Whereas a less conditioned athlete may not have the strength to put themselves upright whilst airborne.
Your Flexibility is Important Too!
Flexibility is another factor. The more flexible you are, the prettier your Pikes will be. Your piked somersaults may finish more quickly, thus allowing you to kick-out even sooner. And flexibility allows you to land a little “off” and not injure yourself. Some of our athletes land a little bit funky from time to time, but they are so flexible, that they can just shrug it off and continue training.