ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Stretch to Warm Up for Gymnastics

Updated on February 6, 2013
Source

Dynamic Stretching

The typical warm routine up that I always followed as an athlete, and always taught to my students, consisted of some aerobic exercises followed by a series of static stretches. However, recent studies have proven that static stretches (a stretch held for about 30 seconds)

  • does little to nothing to prevent injury,
  • and actually decreases the power of the muscle for up to 30 minutes.

Well, power is very important in gymnastics! The alternative to static stretching is dynamic stretching, which increases

  • power,
  • flexibility,
  • and range of motion.


The goal of a stellar warm up should be to

  1. raise the temperature of the body by light jogging,
  2. and loosen muscles and tendons through dynamic stretches,

NOT

  • tire the athlete through strenuous aerobic exercise before he or she has begun working out,
  • potentially cause damage by stretching a cold muscle,
  • or hold static stretches which would cause a decrease in overall power.

Examples of Dynamic Stretches

Dynamic stretches consist of slow, controlled movements that target specific areas.

Some common dynamic stretches which you probably already do are:

Running with High Knees

A lap or two across the floor of high knee running will dynamically stretch the knees and hips. Bring knees up as high as possible, and as quickly as possible.

But Kickers

Another lap across the gym floor of but kickers will dynamically stretch the quads and hip flexors. Kick heels back to buttocks as fast as possible.

Frankenstein Walk

Kick straight legs out in front of the body, as high as possible without coming on to tiptoes or losing balance. This will stretch the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.

Arm Circles

Stand with feet hip's width apart. Begin with small slow arm circles and gradually increase the circumference of the circle. End by windmilling both arms forward and back to dynamically stretch the shoulders and back.

Twists

Stand with feet hip's width distance apart. With a proper, relaxed posture, begin twisting from left to right, allowing your arms to lead the twist. Another variation is to bend at the waist and, keeping a flat back, alternate twisting straight arms.to toes. This stretch warms and loosens the spine.

Reasons to Warm-Up

A thorough warm up routine

  • increases the blood flow to the muscles,
  • raises the temperature of the athlete's body,
  • increases range of motion,
  • raises the heart rate,
  • prevents injury,
  • increases the athlete's flexibility,
  • and gives the athlete time for mental preparation.


Below is a three part video series from St. Vincent's Sport Performance Center demonstrating appropriate dynamic stretches specific to gymnasts. They are very good, and I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to review each of them!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

A Place for Static Stretching

I don't believe that static stretching is a bad thing that athletes should never do. It still drastically improves flexibility, but it should be done after the workout, during the cool down. The cool down is just as important to the work out as the warm up is.

Benefits of cooling down:

  • allows the heart rate and breathing to return to normal
  • and flushes out the lactic acid that makes you sore the following day.

It's also important to refuel your body after hard workout. Drinking a protein shake is the best way to provide your body with protein to rebuild muscle.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • sgiguere profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Giguere 

      5 years ago from Marlborough MA

      Yes, Sharkye11! It does apply to any physical activity-- I mainly use it for rock climbing, and I do notice a difference in the power I have in my legs.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very interesting information. I'm guessing this would be for any type of physical activity, such as tap and bellydance too? If so I guess I need to do some changes to my warm-ups! Thanks for sharing this!

    • sgiguere profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Giguere 

      5 years ago from Marlborough MA

      Thanks Rosie!!

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 

      5 years ago from Virginia

      Well organized hub! Easy to follow and understand. The point you made at the beginning about static stretches not being beneficial for warm-ups is interesting. I will be sharing this with my son who plays sports. Voted up and useful.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)