Gymnastics Conditioning

Conditioning is one of the most important (and sometimes least fun) aspects of gymnastics. Being strong and flexible makes gymnastics easy right? Wrong, it does make gymnastics significantly easier and safer to learn but gymnastics can ever be referred to as "easy". Generally if gymnasts are enjoying what they are doing they will work harder, perform better, and improve faster. The best way to keep conditioning and stretching fun is to keep it varied. Variety in a conditioning program not only makes it more interesting but also makes it significantly more effective. What follows is a list of exercises and conditioning sets that can be used to develop strength for gymnastics, other sports, or just for general fitness. I have left out numbers of reps and sets because those numbers will be determined by the individuals fitness and strength level. A good basis is you should be able to do 2-3 sets of the same number of reps. Ex: if at the end of 3 sets of 10 leg lifts the last few are done with great difficulty or with assistance, then 10 reps is a good number. More or less reps can be done, or weights can be used to change the difficulty. Be sure to lower through the motion slowly, as the negative is more effective for building strength than the positive motion. Most of the exercises contained here are for general gymnastics conditioning.

The conditioning is broken up into several broad categories. We've attempted to break the conditioning up into the areas of the body in which the excersize is focused. There will be excersizes that work multiple body regions, but are categorized under their main focus. In cases where the excersize works multiple body regions equally we've put them under "Works Everything". The injury prevention section is excersizes specifically designed to work critical areas to help reduce the chance of common gymnastics injuries. All gymnasts should be dedicated to preventative conditioning.

Some Nifty Sets

- A compilation of various conditioning sets to help keep conditioning interesting. In no particular order. All numbers can be changed to suit your ability. The numbers given are just to give an idea of ratio. Be creative, making up sets like these will help routine endurance, and keeps it fun.

Set A

- 5 over-grip pull ups to contact the back of your neck touches the bar, 5 under-grip pull-ups, 10 leg lifts, all without coming off the bar.

Set B

- On parallettes, L/V/Manna hold for 3, press handstand, 3 handstand push ups, lower to straddle L, press handstand, 3 handstand push ups, lower to L/V/Manna hold for 10.

Set C

- Dead hang on rings, kip support, L press handstand hold 10, lower to support, 3 cross pull outs, fall back to inverted hang, front lever, back lever, front lever, back lever.

Parallette Construction

- A very useful piece of exercise equipment that can be made quickly and cheaply. What you need: About 6-9 feet of PVC or ABS pipe (decide how much you need based on the measurements below). Four T connections. Four elbow joints. Eight end caps. (the diameter can be 3/4-1 1/2 in. depending on the size of the person to use the parallettes) Your local hardware store should have this great stuff.
  • 1. Cut two 10-14 in. pieces of pipe. (These will be the portions you hold onto) Stick an elbow on both ends of both of these pieces.
  • 2. Cut four 3-8 in. pieces depending on the height you want, keep in mind the elbows and T joints will add to the total height. The most important part of this step is to keep all these pieces the same length. Place these in the other end of the elbows, and attach the T joints to the free ends.
  • 3. Cut eight 4-6 in. pieces depending on the base width you desire. Wider is more stable, but takes up more space. Place these pieces in the available slots in the T joints and cap the other ends. You now have parallettes. 4. You will want to score the surface of the grip portion of the parallettes with a wire brush or scouring pad so that chalk will stick to it for a better grip.
  • See a layout.