Author Archives: Karen Goeller, CSCS

Karen Goeller, CSCS has been training athletes since 1978 and adults since 1986. She has produced State Champions, National TOPS Team Athletes, and National Champions. With her books, articles, and in person, Ms. Goeller has educated thousands in the fitness and gymnastics communities. She is the author of the Swing Set Fitness books, the Gymnastics Drills and Conditioning books, and several additional products. Ms Goeller began writing after she was in an accident and suffered permanent spinal damage. Ms. Goeller shared “the Swing Set Fitness project was therapeutic for me in many ways.” As the Swing Set Fitness books evolved, so did Ms. Goeller. She worked on her own rehabilitation and realized that she could perform many swing exercises as part of her own fitness regimen. Besides success with her books, Ms. Goeller has worked for world famous gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi, owned a gymnastics club for ten years, and has been featured in newspapers and on television on numerous occasions, most recently in The Coast Star and Asbury Park Press. Besides an education that includes emergency medicine, physical therapy, nutrition, and advertising, Ms. Goeller has held fitness, CSCS, nutrition, EMT, and numerous gymnastics certifications.
Recently Karen Goeller started an acting career. She is already a Member of NY Women in Film & TV. Ms. Goeller has had speaking, featured, background roles on a variety of TV shows and in movies. She has hosted & directed countless events and has been interviewed on live TV and radio.
Karen is always looking for more acting roles and is available for interviews, to speak for your group, or for book signings. Call 908-278-3756.

Karen Goeller’s links…
http://www.KarenGoeller.com/
http://www.GymnasticsBooks.com/
http://www.BestSportsConditioning.com/
http://www.Amazon.com/author/KarenGoeller

Your Gymnast’s Life is in Her Hands, Literally

Your Gymnast’s Life is In Her Hands. Your Gymnast Will Peel Off the Bar if She is Not Prepared.


Web-CassGiantsMay05SideViewI think we will have more gymnasts peeling off the bars in the first month back than ever before. Why? Because many gymnasts have not done any strength for their grip-hands and forearms.

They will likely have only done shaping and core conditioning. How many have actually done conditioning for grip strength? I’d guess almost none of them. It is not something that is stressed once a gymnast has been doing giants on bars for a long time. Hanging on the bar daily builds that strength, but most gymnasts do not have a bar to hang from at home.

Please keep in mind that a gymnast’s life is literally in their hands when swinging on the bars. If they peel off during a giant, or any skill for that matter, they can cause serious injury or even death. The tensile force on the hands, forearms, and the rest of the body during giants could be several times their body weight. Will they come back prepared to withstand that force? If they cannot hold heavy dumbbells without dropping them or hang on the bar for 30 seconds to one minute and have not been doing grip strength exercises or hanging conditioning they should not be doing giants the first week back in the gym.

And be extremely careful in the straps too. Swinging in the straps creates even more tensile force because of the speed of the giants and circle skills. Gymnasts can cause tears in the soft tissue of their shoulders and the rest of their upper body.

Please keep your gymnast’s safety in mind when asking them to perform giants or any of their old skills for the first time in several months. Coaches must take the time to rebuild strength, power, flexibility, and confidence before asking gymnasts to perform familiar skills or learn new skills.

Each gymnast is an individual. Some will take longer to regain what they may have lost and others will come back well-conditioned and ready to perform skills more quickly. Ask your gymnasts what they did at home to stay in shape, watch their energy levels, and evaluate their strength the first week so they progress at a steady and safe pace.

Many will try to do too much too soon and we will see overuse injuries, more than in previous years, if we are not careful with the training.

Good luck with your return to the gym. Stay safe and let me know how I can help you.

Grip Strength Ideas…

  • hang 30-60 seconds
  • pull-ups in varying hand grips and other bar conditioning without coming off bar for 30-60 seconds
  • squeeze tennis or other balls
  • ring towel
  • bicep curl in over and under grip
  • dumbbell wrist twist
  • dumbbell writs curls in every direction
  • grip / squeezing devices
  • fingertip or fist pushups
  • farmers walk or just holding heavy dumbbells for 30-60 seconds

Always keep safety in mind when training. Your safety is your personal responsibility.

Karen Goeller, CSCS, Consultant
www.BestSportsConditioning.com
Gymnastics Drills Book
Handstand Book

 

Karen Goeller on Tweed Talk

Karen Goeller on Tweed Talks
Karen and Pedro Tweed go way back. Pedro, Crystal, and Karen talk about Karen’s books, the quarantine, bullying, and other subjects. Karen and Pedro have known each other for over 30 years through the gymnastics world. Goeller and the Tweeds all work in the film industry too. Listen to this relaxing and fun interview. And check out Karen Goeller’s books on Amazon.

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Karen Goeller’s Latest Interview

Screenshot (107)In this interview with Mindy Sheier of Gamut Management, Karen and Mindy discuss how working in the film industry with a disability is very challenging,  books, health, sports coaching, and other topics.

Karen is a signed Actor/Model with Gamut Management. She is available for film, tv, photo-shoots, book signings, consulting, and more.  Here’s the interview,  https://youtu.be/oVitWpxhmN8

Contact Mindy at Gamut for film, tv, and modeling projects. www.gamutmanagement.com. Click on the Contact tab.
Contact Karen for book signings and consulting work.
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Karen Goeller Books

How many have you seen? There are about 20 books available through bookstores by Karen Goeller, CSCS. Check them out here, www.amazon.com/author/karengoeller.

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Gymnastics Coach, Haney, 8 Year Suspension

Gymnastics Coach Maggie Haney was suspended for 8 years.

I had a handful of parents reach out to me after the news to say thanks for doing my part. I reported her to USA Gymnastics and SafeSport after I heard the sixth complaint in 2019. (USAG SafeSport Policy: Any adult under the jurisdiction of USA Gymnastics who becomes aware of an incident of child abuse or sexual misconduct involving a minor must immediately report the incident to law enforcement and the U.S Center for SafeSport.) When multiple families tell you the same story on different occasions, you know there is truth in it. I wish more coaches would help rid the sport of the abusive coaches that remain in gyms. We are now required to report abusive behavior. I expect more abusive coaches will be flushed out in the near future.

Please understand that not all gymnastics coaches are abusive. There are so many great coaches here in the tri-state area and throughout the USA. Be sure to visit a few gymnastics clubs before you sign your child up for training anywhere. Make sure you are very comfortable in the atmosphere, talk to the other parents, observe the team kids and learn whether they are happy, goal-oriented, injured, sad, or otherwise. Allow your child to be part of the decision on which gym you commit to.

Your child must be comfortable with the coaches, atmosphere, and equipment. If there is ever a day your child does not want to go to the gym find out why. There is always a reason and it is usually a very good reason. And believe your child if they say they are being abused, but also know that gymnastics coaches must be demanding, while respectful, because of the safety factor involved.

When your young child is on that balance beam or swinging on the uneven bars, their safety is literally in their hands. They must be clear-minded, able to focus, strong, agile, and able to follow directions to remain safe, progress, and be successful. So talk to your child, allow them to be coached, encourage them to try their best, but pull them out if there is any sign of misconduct or abuse, and report any abusive coach to the proper authorities.

Please remember, asking a child to perform to the best of their ability and focus is not abuse. Lack of focus causes accidents. Hard work is not abuse. Yelling at a child for unsafe behavior (such as horseplay) after they have been told nicely several times not to do something dangerous is not abuse because their safety is in jeopardy. Asking a child to take a break after several repetitions is not abuse, it is a safety measure to be sure your child can refocus. Yelling at a child for a mistake, putting a child down, screaming in their face, going overboard-punishing kids for mistakes, cursing, forcing them to remove medical devices, improper touching are all abuse. You’ll know it’s abuse if you see it.

Don’t be afraid of a good work ethic, but do remove your child from abusive situations. Just follow your gut instinct when it comes to your child’s training.

Advice for Athletes during COVID Pandemic

SONY DSCI hope that you and your family are remaining healthy. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if there is anything I can do for you. I’m still offering zoom calls at no charge for any athletes who have worked with me within the past year and at a very low cost for everyone else.
Some advice for our athletes…
  1. Try to make strength and flexibility goals for yourself now – for your return to the gym.
  2. Do activities that build strength (bike riding, stair climbing, swing set fitness, swimming, etc)
  3. Do activities that improve speed (sprints, sprints downhill, mountain climbers, flutters in pike and hollow shape)
  4. Try to keep up with body tightness and rebounding (bouncing, jump rope, hopping type drills, push up shape hops)
  5. Keep up with agility (do your pre-workout warm-up daily, playing tag with siblings)
  6. Try to have fun outdoors.
  7. Set a goal for the first week you return to the gym.
  8. Set a goal for two months after you return to the gym.
  9. Set a goal for the next state meet you compete in which would be next year.
  10. Always keep safety in mind when exercising at home and in the gym. You and your parents are responsible for your personal safety at home.
Swing Set Fitness is good conditioning for gymnasts. www.SwingWorkouts.com.
Legs Plus Workouts are great conditioning for gymnasts. www.LegsPlus.com
Gymnastics Drills Book www.GymnasticsDrills.com

Handstand Book  www.HandstandBook.com

Conditioning List, perform each exercise for 45-60 seconds non-stop or 25 repetitions non-stop. This is very little work compared to a four-hour workout.
  1. 1/2 Hollow Up
  2. Hollow Rocks
  3. Arch Ups
  4. Arch Rock
  5. Hip-Thrusts/Baby Candlestick
  6. Reverse Leg-Lifts, Single Leg-Lower-Lift
  7. Alternating Superman
  8. Arch-Legs Only
  9. Pike-Sit Leg-Lifts (Both legs straight and together)
  10. Pike-Sit-Flutters
  11. Straddle-Sit-Leg-Lifts (Both legs at the same time.)
  12. Straddle-Sit Leg Circles (Both legs at the same time.)
  13. V-Ups
  14. Alternating V-Ups
  15. Side Lifts
  16. Side Rocks
  17. Hollow-Arch (Both Sides)
  18. Hollow-Tilt Side to Side
  19. Arch Tilt Side to Side
  20. Plank
  21. Plank-Leg Extension (Lower-Lift Knees)
  22. Plank-Low Back Kicks
  23. Plank-Shrugs (Flat back-round back)
  24. Plank-Forward-Back (Planche-Back)
  25. Side Plank
  26. Side Plank-Lower-Lift Hips
  27. Side Plank-Small Side Kicks
  28. Plank-Side-Plank
  29. Walking or In-Place Lunges (Keep knees in line with middle toes!)

Gymnastics Drills Book www.GymnasticsDrills.com

Handstand Book  www.HandstandBook.com

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Gloves and Masks During COVID Pandemic

FYI… Regarding the gloves and masks. Yes, I have medical training-EMT-1990’s, Physical Therapy-1980’s.

Many people do not know how to properly remove the gloves and are spreading the germs their gloves picked up. Some are dropping the gloves all over the place, increasing the danger for those who are forced to pick them up. I have also seen people touch their faces with the gloves and masks on. What’s the point in wearing them? And then some people are driving with them on and likely walking into their houses still wearing the dirty gloves. You are spreading the germs from the gloves to your cars, keys, front door, and anything else you are touching.

To remove the gloves safely-pinch the glove at the top of the palm near the wrist to slowly pull the first one off, turning it inside out as it is removed. Use that glove to slowly pull the second one off, turning it inside out and rolling it over the first one. Wash your hands after removing your gloves! Throw the gloves in the garbage for everyone’s safety. Here is a method similar to my instructions, https://youtu.be/3I_kKVNrEMo. I would rather you use the inside-out first glove to remove the second, but the method in the video is ok.

And Masks that you make at home do not really keep you safe. They prevent you from spreading your germs (COVID) to others, keeping them safe. (Only the highest quality medical masks keep the user safe.) Apply the mask securely. When removing the mask do not touch the mask itself. Touch the elastic to remove and throw in trash immediately. Wash your hands! Here are instructions on applying and removing the mask, https://youtu.be/iOnYD3A_XY4

I am not saying not to wear gloves or masks, but please use them wisely for everyone’s safety. It is really sad that with all the recommendations on TV from media and politicians that people should wear masks and gloves, none of them have discussed how to safely apply and remove them.

Laundry Bag Exercises, a Unique Fitness Method

Goeller Laundry Bag Exercises…   If you want to workout and do not have weights, use whatever you have!  Working out with a laundry bag is definitely unique, effective, and fun. This is a full-body workout with exercises for every major muscle group. If you follow along, Karen only does a few reps of each exercise. Do the entire workout to learn the exercises and then repeat it with a higher number of reps so that you are getting more reps in than what is shown here. Exercises for legs, back, chest, arms, shoulders, and core. For more of Karen Goeller’s unique exercise methods check out www.LegsPlus.com  and  www.SwingWorkouts.com.

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When Gymnasts Return to Training after the COVID-19 Pandemic

From a sports-science point of view, there are specific training points we must remember when we return to training. I recommend the following for our gymnasts.

We should start slowly. We all want gymnasts to regain all they lost, but it will be a process. The same process as when a gymnast returns from an injury. We must be extremely patient with each gymnast’s limitations and hesitation in performing skills, physically and mentally. Many will have new fears and others will have become very weak. De-training, loss of strength, happens in children pretty rapidly.

As coaches, we must remember that when competitive gymnasts first return to the gym they should not be doing their highest level skills. They must spend time conditioning to regain the strength they lost. That may take six weeks. Most have not been doing effective conditioning at home to maintain or build the strength necessary to perform the skills they competed or were learning.

This really should be an industry-wide recommendation in order to prevent a high rate of overuse injuries within their first six-eight weeks. I recommend assigning conditioning and basic skills on every event in addition to the careful and deliberate warm-up. A rotation of conditioning, flexibility, balance, and visualization may be wise.

And I recommend that every gymnast perform beam complexes, alignment, and balance drills long before asking them to perform flight series, challenging skills, and routines. I would say at least two to three weeks of balance work should be practiced for beam in order to keep the gymnasts safe and comfortable. And then mix in the balance work with skills once the gymnasts look comfortable on the beam again.

Please keep in mind that it may take gymnasts a few weeks just to regain their ability to focus. The last thing we want is an accident, especially due to a lack of focus. The training should be structured, but not intense in the beginning.

Most gymnasts likely lost flexibility during their time off. Performing over-splits or doing manual stretching should be avoided. Allow your gymnasts to regain flexibility with careful stretching. Nerve gliding may be useful for many gymnasts to help ease them back into flexibility. For example, in the pike stretch ask them to point and flex five times then stretch. Allow your gymnasts to repeat the point-flex motion in each exercise.

Coaches, we really should allow our gymnasts to ease back into the sport, mentally and physically. Be patient and remember that progress in this sport is faster when the gymnast is well-conditioned and has a good state of mind. Mr. Wang who worked for me when I had my gymnastics club said, “gymnasts must have good emotions.” He was right.

Best of luck to all of the dedicated coaches and gymnasts when everyone returns to the gym. I hope the sport makes a come-back financially and continues to grow in popularity.

Let me know how I can help you. I am available through email, social media, zoom, phone, and in-person when we open gyms again. There aren’t too many CSCS’s in the USA with 40+ years of experience coaching gymnastics.

By Karen Goeller, CSCS

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What Can Gymnasts Do at Home?

What can a gymnast really do at home?

tn_web-me-bulgsqtWell, every coach will say conditioning and stretching. I agree. Maintaining strength and flexibility is very important. The skills will be there if the gymnast continues to perform general strength and sport-specific conditioning through this difficult time. Nearly all gymnasts remember most of the conditioning they do in the gym, but they all have favorite exercises. It is important to perform a variety of exercises. If they have space, they should perform their entire pre-workout warm-up to help stay in shape. A good warm-up with stretching and shaping is at least 45 minutes.

Many gymnasts will need a higher than the desired volume of hip flexor conditioning. I bet many will grow during this time. The hip flexors play an important role in the gymnast’s training. They not only allow the gymnast to lift her leg very high, but they help with posture. And when the hip flexors are weak or tight, the gymnast may feel low back pain. That is because they basically connect the spine and femur. When the hip flexors are tight they actually pull on the spine into a lordosis position. And when they are weak they become stressed when the gymnast lifts her legs such as in a glide kip, kick, or leap. As a coach, I can tell when a gymnast has tight hip flexors by her posture; there is a slight bend at the hip while standing. A well-conditioned, well-stretched gymnast usually stands with no angle and the front of the hip.

20151129_153808To keep the hip flexors conditioned I recommend the pike-sitting leg lifts. The gymnast will sit in a pike position, place her hands next to her knees on the floor and then lift both legs. And for the stretch, I recommend the quad-psoas stretch. Kneeling lunge with one foot out front and hips pressed forward. The gymnast should also do this with the back leg bent and that foot facing the ceiling.

But there are other things that will be helpful. For example, balance drills and visualization. For balance, the gymnast can do simple exercises such as RDL and slow-motion needle kicks with and without light dumbbells. They can also perform arm routines with their eyes closed. The gymnast would stand in place and perform her beam routine with just her arm and head movements. That is for both visualization and balance. When that becomes simple, the gymnast can perform it in a passé leg position, one foot touching the inner side of the knee. The gymnast should do this drill with each leg because most gymnasts have a sharper sense of balance on one side. When this becomes simple, the gymnast can add very light ankle/writs weights to the wrists or hold 1lb dumbbells in each hand. And to bring it up one step as far as challenge, the gymnast can do this standing on a softer surface such as a Bosu or balance disc.

And finally, for a change maybe they can do the Legs Plus or Swing Set Fitness workouts. Many of the exercises in my swing workouts were actually gymnastics conditioning exercises my gymnasts have done using a barrel mat. The Legs Plus workouts are really good general fitness as well as dismount-landing and bars conditioning. My gymnastics drills and conditioning book is useful to all gymnasts as well.

So gymnasts should try really hard to stay in shape and keep their sanity. Athletes can use this time to get stronger and heal any aches and pains they may have had.

And let me know how I can help your gymnast.

The books and exercises mentioned can be found at http://www.KarenGoeller.com, http://www.GymnasticsDrills.com, http://www.LegsPlus.com, http://www.SwingWorkouts.com.

Karen Goeller, CSCS

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