Developing Elite Gymnastic Strength: Upper Body and Core
Gymnasts are known to have good upper body strength. However, most gyms do not provide enough resistance training exercises for them. Most gyms only offer pushups, pull ups and sit ups.
These types of exercises do not develop upper body muscles like squats or deadlifts do.
In order to develop upper body strength, you need to perform different type of exercises such as squats, deadlifts and rows. Therefore, it is very important for gym goers to train these types of movements regularly. Gymnasts usually don’t have access to equipment such as barbells and dumbells which would allow them to do these types of exercises properly.
Thus they must resort to using their own bodies in order to get stronger.
The following are some of the best exercises for developing upper body strength:
Squats – Squatting is one of the best exercises for building upper body strength. It develops all major muscle groups including your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. You can use a variety of implements such as a box, floor or even a step to squat down.
For beginners, start with just 5 repetitions at first and build up from there.
Barbell Rows – Barbell rowing exercises are a great way to build strength and muscles in your upper back. It targets your lats, rhomboids and all other muscles in your upper back region. In order to perform these exercises properly, set up a barbell on a rack that is around hip-height.
Grab the barbell with an overhand grip and keep your back straight. Slowly bend forward until your torso is about parallel to the floor. Then slowly pull the barbell until it touches your upper abdomen. Allow the weight of the barbell to pull you back to the starting position.
Trap-Bar Deadlift – The trap-bar deadlift is a variation of the traditional deadlift which uses a hexagonal bar. This is a great exercise for targeting your hamstrings and glutes while also building strength in your quads and lower back.
There are many other upper body resistance training exercises for gymnasts. However, the ones listed above are a great place to start for most people. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any type of strength program.
Also be sure to start light and increase weight gradually as you get stronger.
Gymnastic Strength Training Program
It is also very important that you perform these exercises properly in order to maximize benefit and reduce the risk of injury. It is recommended that you get instruction from a qualified coach or personal trainer in order to learn how to do these exercises properly.
Most professional gymnasts spend a large portion of their training time with their coaches learning new elements and tricks as well as practicing their old ones. Their typical day consists of many small meals eaten at specific intervals when combined with a rigorous strength and conditioning workout, this keeps the body fueled and allows them to maintain a peak level of performance.
While many people are under the impression that gymnastics is mainly about strength and power, it is just as much about flexibility, skill and endurance. Most gymnasts start their training at a very early age in order to gain a natural advantage over others. This includes everything from eating habits to sleeping patterns and many more things beside the actual sport itself.
They also work on several different types of apparatuses such as the vault, high bar, parallel bars, balance beam and floor. The most common being the floor where most of the gymnastics events take place.
As you can see, it takes a lot of dedication, practice and skill to become a top-level gymnast. That’s why these types of exercises are reserved solely for people who have already been training in the sport for quite some time. They are only a stepping stone to more advanced training techniques used by elite gymnasts.
The exercises listed above are just a sample of what’s available. There are many more types of strength training equipment for you to choose from such as squats, lunges and leg presses. All of which can be used to target the specific muscles which are used in various gymnastic events.
Check out the various gyms in your area and see which ones offer the equipment you need in order to perform these exercises properly.
Gymnastics Strength Training Programs
Barbell Deadlift – The deadlift might just be the king of all strength training exercises. It targets almost every muscle in your lower body and it also works your grip strength which is very useful for holding on to the bar.
Barbell Back Squat – This exercise is the pillar of every strength training routine. It strengthens your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves. It’s also a very functional exercise that mimics natural movements such as climbing stairs or lifting objects off the floor.
You can’t go wrong with including this in your routine.
Walking Dumbell Lunges – This is a more challenging variation of the regular bodyweight lunge. It strengthens your quadriceps and hamstrings in a more efficient way. You should use a lighter weight when doing this exercise if you’re not accustomed to this style of lunge.
You don’t want to get hurt by using too much weight and swinging it around from your hands.
Barbell Shoulder Press – The shoulder press doesn’t get the recognition it deserves as far as building up your deltoid muscles.
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