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