Tag Archives: covid-19

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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Gymnastics Conditioning at Home

Many competitive gymnasts are looking to stay in shape during gymnastics club closures due to this COVID-19 virus. That’s great! Just be sure the home program has effective and appropriate exercises.

Many of the drills and conditioning exercises in these books can be done at home. They are easy to read and simple illustrations help. The Gymnastics Drills and Conditioning book has exercises for press handstand, dance drills and conditioning, uneven bars drills and conditioning, vaulting drills, and running drills. www.GymnasticsDrills.com

The Handstand Drills and Conditioning Book has core strength as well as upper body strength and handstand shape.  www.HandstandDrills.com

And if the gymnast has a swing set in their backyard Swing Set Fitness would be very effective for core and conditioning specific to uneven bars. There are three books with swing exercises. The Swing Workouts book has over ten effective workouts. www.SwingWorkouts.com

And finally to keep good general strength gymnasts can use the Legs Plus Workouts. The Legs Plus workouts do involve using light weights and a medicine ball.  www.LegsPlus.com

With any home program, the gymnast must be mature enough to focus and follow written instructions. It is preferred the parent read along with the gymnast and be sure the gymnast remains focused during each exercise.

And please remember, with any movement injury is possible. You and your child are responsible for your own personal safety.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

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Handwashing is Not a New Concept… COVID-19

   Handwashing is really not a new concept. So many people are stressed because they must wash their hands more often as a result of this COVID-19 (Corona Virus). I laugh at the silliness of it all. We should all be washing our hands before we eat, after using restrooms, and when we first walk into our house after a day of work or being out and about.

   I’ve been living like this since my 1991 cancer surgery. I have one liquid soap dispenser and one foam dispenser on my bathroom sink. Do you know what’s in my foam dispenser? Listerine Ultra Clean. I use one pump of soap and one pump of the Listerine and wash my hands as soon as I walk into my house and right after I walk my dog.

   Here is an excerpt from my book telling people exactly what it is like to live like a germ-a-phobe for life.

  “Besides wearing the compression stocking there are many things that must be considered daily. In addition to dealing with the lymphedema, I must take precautions as I go through my day.

  The one thing that most people do not understand is that I must be careful with germs…

  I have to avoid athlete’s foot and clean between my toes carefully. I must make sure I do not step on anything that would cut my foot or cause infection. That is why I always wear something on my feet. I even wear slippers or flip-flops in my house. I never walk around barefoot.

  The research I read right after my cancer surgery, and the information the doctors confirmed, was that germs could cause serious complications with lymphedema. An infection could send me to the hospital. Great, a place where I can pick up MORE germs!

  After my surgery, it was recommended that I carry antibiotics, alcohol swabs, and a first aid kit to take care of any cut or other mishap immediately. I did do that for the first year. Keeping a first aid kit with me was annoying. I do still carry antibacterial wipes and a few Band-Aids, just in case. OK, I admit it, there is a first aid kit in my car.

  You would not believe how much there is to think about when doctors tell you to avoid germs! It’s insane! Can you spell GERM-APHOBE? I wash my hands often, use Lysol in my house to kill viruses on surfaces, and always make sure my food is prepared properly.

  Since my lymph nodes were removed, I have fewer “filters” than anyone whose lymph nodes were not removed. In other words, dealing with bacteria, virus, or other issues could be problematic. It’s a real pain in the neck to worry about germs and swelling all of the time, but again, the doctors saved my life with the surgery.”

 So stop stressing that you must wash your hands and clean surfaces. Many people with previous or current medical issues live this way daily. I bet if you keep up with the handwashing you’ll catch fewer colds in the future too.

   There is more information on the book is at www.LymphedemaBook.com. My blog is at www.KarenGoeller.com.

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