Gymnastics Core Conditioning

In order to stay tight and control ones body during difficult skills you must have a strong core. Abs and lower back must be able to hold rigid with ease, as well as contract quickly to generate momentum for skills.


The abdominals are some of the most important muscles in the body for gymnastics and many other sports. Having strong abs is crucial to being successful in many skills, or just maintaining form in most skills.
  • Advanced leg lift - Lie on your back with your legs straight. Place each hand palm down, just under each respective glute. Keeping your head in, and body hollow, lift your toes towards the ceiling. Just before your legs reach vertical extend your torso to lift your lower back off the floor. The top point is a candlestick.
  • Basic sit-up - Lie down on the floor on your back with your knees bent or straight, and someone or something holding your legs or not. Sit up to an upright position.
  • Crunches - Lie down on the floor on your back, knees bent or straight, legs elevated or not. Bring your head up and in and lift your shoulders off the floor by rounding your back as much as possible. Holding your arms above your head will add to the resistance.
  • Hanging Sit-ups - Using gravity boots or simply hanging by your knees do sit ups. Compress as much as possible at the top.
  • N-ups - Yet again, on your back. This time lying flat and completely stretched out. Bring your arms in and shoulders forward while simultaneously bringing your legs up and in so that the top position is a tuck balanced on your butt.
  • Side conditioning - Lie on your side using your hand to balance. Lift your legs and shoulders and return to the start position.
  • V-ups - Begin like N-ups. Bring your arms and shoulders up while lifting your legs keeping them straight to finish in a V position.
  • V-ups variation - This exercise is a v-up except you use a gymnastics ball. Place the ball between your legs, lift legs and pass ball to hands, then lifts hands and pass ball to feet. (DAS note: This can be done with a medicine ball for additional load) Submitted by Beth

Medicine Ball Work

Medicine balls are a great way to help build power. Also many of the other exercises can be done holding a medicine ball. eg. try the squat jumps holding a 10 pound medicine ball. Do pull ups holding a ball between your knees.
  • Hollow rock tossing - This exercise requires 3 medicine balls. You and a partner each hold a medicine ball between your feet. Lie on your backs with your feet facing eachother about. (distance depends on how far you can throw the ball) Take the third ball and throw it to your partner. As you catch the ball rock back in a tight hollow then rock forward and throw the ball.
  • Lower Torso Conditioning - Sit in a pike. Hold the ball out in front of you with straight arms. Twist side to side fairly slowly, but with a wide range of motion. (If you do this too fast you can hurt your back)
  • Rear Overhead Throws - Go get your partner again. Stand 10 feet apart. Whoever has the ball turn around. Throw the ball backwards over your head to your partner. Turn around to receive their throw.
  • Reclined Throws - Get a partner. Lie on your backs with your feet towards each other, knees bent, about 10 feet apart. (increase the distance to increase difficulty) Throw the ball to your partner. Use an overhead throw similar to an overhead soccer throw, except you are lying down.
  • Russian Twist - Lie on your back with bent knees, feet flat on floor. Have a partner hold your feet. Hold a medicine ball with straight arms directly in front of you. Sit up so that your lower back is slightly off the floor. Twist back and forth as far as you can.


  • Arch Rocks - Lie on your stomach in an arch with your heels squeezed together and arms by your ears. Rock back and forth.
  • Candlestick extensions - Roll back into a candlestick with your arms by your ears. Lower your toes to the floor, then extend your toes to the ceiling. This also has the advantage of stretching your gludes, hamstrings and lower back in the process.
  • Hip abduction - Start lying on your right side then lift your left leg as high as possible and return to start position. Repeat on left side.
  • Hip adduction - Start lying on your right side with your left leg bent and left foot on the floor in front of your hips and your right leg still extended. Then, should lift your right leg as high as possible and return to start position.
  • Hollow Rocks - Lie on your back in a hollow position with your arms by your ears. Rock back and forth. Your lower back should be curved so that the rocking motion is smooth.
  • Hollow Rock to Arch Rock - Start in a hollow, do three hollow rocks, then roll onto your stomach without touching the ground with either your hands or your feet. Then perform three arch rocks and roll in the same direction back onto your back. Traverse the floor repeating this pattern, then be sure to go back the other way as the roll is not symmetric.
  • Hug a Twinky/Gag a Giant - Yes, it's an odd name. This is for lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. On a vaulting horse lie down so that your legs are dangling and the edge of the vault is at your lower abs. Lift your heels as high as you can, so that you are esentially standing on your chest, lower slowly. Some other object can be substituted for the vault. (The gag a giant term comes from the new vault).
  • Leg Lifts - Hanging from a bar, bring your toes to the bar keeping your legs straight and breaking your shoulder angle as little as possible. This can also be done by bending your knees and lifting your knees to your elbows. It can also be done straddled lifting to a stalder position. (This is one of the best ab exercises around for strength.) See it.
  • Leg lift straddle down - Start lying on your back in a hollow and lift your legs to vertical, then straddle both legs out to the side to swing them down to the start position. Then the motion should be reversed, straddling and bringing your legs around to vertical, and lowering your legs together to the start position.
  • Rear leg lifts - Start lying on your stomach. Then, lift one leg as high as you can and return to start position. Legs should be kept straight throughout. Repeat with opposite leg.
  • Seated Straddle Leg Lifts. - Sit in a straddle position, lean forward slightly and place your hands on the floor. Lift your legs up and back as far as possible. The farther forward your hands are placed, the more difficult the exercise will be.
  • Seated Piked Leg Lifts - Sit in a pike, reach forward so that your fingers are past your knees. Lift your legs. Again the farther forward your hands are placed, the more difficult the exercise will be.
  • Standing leg lifts - Stand and lift one leg as high as you can. Try to minimize the kick involved and lift your leg. This should be done with both legs and in all directions, forward, backward and to the side. The standing leg should be kept straight throughout, and the torso should be kept aligned. Leaning is to be discouraged. This should also be practiced holding onto a stable object, and free standing.
  • Straight Body Lifts - Lie on your back with a sturdy support within arms reach above your head. Hold onto the support and lift your body straight to a candlestick position. Try and stay as open as possible with no arch. Lower back to the floor slowly.
  • Tuck Ups - Lie on your back lift your knees towards your chest aggressively so you roll back into a tuck with your lower back off the floor.
  • Windshield Wipers - Hang on a bar. Lift your toes to the bar. Then rotate your body back and forth so that your legs behave like windshield wipers. Your hips will rise a little as your toes go to the side and down.