Tag Archives: cscs

From 6 Inches to Split, 10 Minutes

I can’t believe the progress I had with one 14 year old gymnast yesterday.



Gymnasts must be able to do complete splits, 180 degrees. That’s a straight line from ankle to ankle. This photo is one of my gymnasts performing a split leap. It is better than the required 180 degrees a gymnast needs.

 A gymnast came to me for help with flexibility and other injuries. I asked her “stretch” on her own before we started. She spent about ten minutes stretching. I then asked her to show me her split on her less flexible side. She was about six inches from the floor. Her hamstrings had decent flexibility, but her hip flexors were very tight. To me it was obvious because her front leg was nearly all the way down, but the gap was between her upper thigh on her back leg and the floor. She was tilted forward.  

We then spent ten to fifteen minutes doing many variations of a hip flexor stretch seen here. I had her do the stretch with varying foot positions, leaning forward as seen here and upright. She said her coaches never allow them to do the stretch with their back leg up, but she said she always felt it more this way.

After that I asked her to try her split again. Her expression was priceless because she was able to go all the way down, 180 degrees for the first time in her life!!!  Why did it only take fifteen minutes to reach this success when it usually takes gymnasts several months to accomplish the same thing? The answer is simple. Many gymnasts are not actually stretching properly or they are not stretching the muscles they really need to stretch. They think doing a split will help the split, when in fact, it often will not. Wait, what? She said her coaches make her do “over-splits” for two minutes and it’s been that way for a really long time. Guess what, over splits do not really work.

You read that correctly. First, you must identify which muscles are tight. In her case it was the hip flexors, mainly the psoas muscle. Then, you must stretch that muscle individually. Stretch it slowly, in various positions, and in small increments.

The athlete and their muscles must be completely relaxed in order for any progress. This gymnast was happy the entire time that we were stretching. She felt the stretches, but no pain. After about ten minutes in the gym, her dad said “your voice sounds so soothing.” I just smiled and said there is no reason to yell or be angry.

Stressing an athlete out and making them hold one position for two minutes will not really do much for flexibility. And manually pressing on them while they are stressed can also cause problems such as locking muscles, reduced flexibility, and emotional trauma. Stretching an athlete to the point of tears is not necessary and it’s really abusive.

Once an athlete’s muscles lock up you not only prevent progress, you could be reducing flexibility, and causing injury. A gymnast’s skill performance may also decline as a result. Coaches want results and they want them fast, but why aren’t they listening to sports science? Unfortunately, many are just repeating what they did as gymnasts instead of doing their homework, going to clinics, and consulting with CSCS’s and physical therapists.

Let me know how I can help your team… Or check out www.GymnasticsDrills.com

Karen Goeller, CSCS
Gymnastics Coach 40+ years and CSCS
www.BestSportsConditioning.com
www.KarenGoeller.com

Overuse Injuries on the Rise

Overuse Injuries on the Rise
By Karen Goeller, CSCS

I was watching Real Sports with Bryant Gumbell, https://youtu.be/AGxxBER5xJU  and was not surprised by what I heard from doctors, parents, and child-athletes.

As a coach for over 40 years, I have seen many changes. The problem is fueled a few ways-Governing bodies, parents, coaches, and kids with passion for their sport.

Sometimes the child LOVES the sport and does not know when to modify training. They often hide aches and pains from coaches and parents due to fear or so they can keep training.  It is up to adults who know the consequences of overtraining to modify the training for the child who is injured.

A big part of the problem is also that governing bodies of sports such as USA Gymnastics. USAG encourages very young children, starting at age 5. (My opinion, it is a way too young and USAG has likely been motivated by money in membership fees.)  By the time some children are only 8, they are dealing with overuse injuries.

As an NSCA-CSCS, I have had to fix many injured gymnasts in the past decade. Some coaches and parents choose to treat these 5 years old children like pro athletes. They are children and many adults forget that with their eyes on that college scholarship. It takes many years to develop strength, speed, endurance, flexibility, an appreciation for safety, and maturity. It should be a gradual process. A child should not be training like a pro athlete at such a young age.

I have met many parents who are overboard, insisting their children train at home as well as the 25+ hours in the gym. I have had to remind a parent that an 8 year old that she should not be training at home on top of her 25+ hour schedule.  A few years ago I have several parents of five year olds ask for private training the week before their first competition. I said no to all of them. I’ve had parents discount children’s aches, pains, and fatigue and have seen those kids end up in surgery. There is only so much a coach can do when a parent insists their child train at home or pulls a child from a coach who refuses to have a child reduce training to heal from injury.

Not every coach is aware of injury prevention or rehab. They have spent years mastering the sport, how to teach skills and create routines. Some coaches do not do the math when it comes to training. For example, if a gymnast has 5 jumps in her beam routine and you ask her to do 10 routines a day, that is 50 jumps per day on the hardest surface in the gym. Compare that to a routine with 3 jumps times ten routines to equal 30 jumps per day. That is a difference of 20 jumps in one day. The difference becomes really significant over time. In one week that is 250 jumps vs 150. Over one month that is 1000 jumps compared to 600 jumps, a difference of 400 jumps. Coaches should really do the math and learn the breaking point (when gymnasts start to feel aches, pains, fatigue) so they can keep the number just under that breaking point. You can be demanding without overtraining and produce healthy, strong, and successful gymnasts.

Need help with reducing injuries? There are very few high-level gymnastics coaches who also have the CSCS. It is not an easy-fitness certification. It is based on sports science.  A college degree is required to sit for the exam, you are given 6 months to study, it covers exercise prescription for competitive athletes, exercise technique, injuries, injury prevention, nutrition, and more. Not everyone passes the first time.  And in order to keep the certification, we must continue education by attending events, webinars, self-study, doing presentations, and writing.   https://karengoeller.wordpress.com/gymnastics-consultant-and-strength-coach-cscs/

www.BestSportsConditioning.com

www.BestGymnasticsTraining.com

Stay Focused in the Gym

Focus in gymnastics, It’s a Safety Issue  

Article, https://karengoeller.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/focus-in-gymnastics-its-a-safety-issue/

It’s that time of year… Gymnasts are returning to school and have much more difficult schedules. They may be getting less sleep and have much more on their minds. It’s now that we must remind them to stay focused in the gym. Accidents happen when focus is lost. Please be sure your child is getting plenty of sleep, fluids, and food. Please remind them to stay focused in the gym. It’s their safety and life that they are controlling each time they perform a skill or routine. Some are doing very difficult skills that involve great height, speed, and power. That adds to the risk. So again, please remind your child to stay focused, no matter what is going on around them and no matter what else is on their mind.It’s just that time of year when gymnasts adjust to new schedules and are very tired or overwhelmed. 

By Karen Goeller, CSCS

www.BestGymnasticsTraining.com

Cast Handstand Drills and Conditioning

Cast Handstand Drills and Conditioning by Karen Goeller, CSCS.

Originally published in my first book in 2000. If you like these drills visit www.GymnasticsDrills.com and www.HandstandBook.com.

Benefits of Home Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Benefits of Home Gyms and Fitness Clubs…
Karen Goeller, CSCS

As a fitness trainer and coach for many years, I’ve used both. Each has benefits.

The home gym is nice and private. You can workout in your pajamas, listen to your own music, and even do those crazy exercises you might not want to do in front of others.

You can use your home gym whenever you want, your home gym is open 24-7. That’s great for those who like to workout early in the morning or really late at night.

In your own gym you can stay very focused on your workout without interruption. That’s great for intense workouts or those who are distracted easily. The more intense the workout, the more effective it could be.

There is never a wait for equipment. You can use what you want, when you want. You can go smoothly from one exercise to the next without a long wait for equipment. That helps keep your workout moving along and increases your chance for good results.

And finally, you can shower in your own shower right after your workout, no need to bring a large bag with a bunch of toiletries along with a change of clothes. And no need to worry about all the extra germs that may linger in public showers.

A fitness club is usually more well-equipped than a home gym. That gives you a better chance to perform a variety of exercises. Performing a variety of exercises can lead to a more well-rounded program for better results.

There are a variety of people performing a variety of exercises at fitness clubs. It could be a good way to learn new exercises as long as the person you are watching is performing the exercise with good technique.

There are often classes, actually, a variety of classes. Classes are great for beginners who want guidance, workout routines, or more variety with their exercise program. Classes can be social too.

There are often many fitness trainers in clubs with varying styles of training and knowledge. Members looking to learn new exercises or in need of training can find one in a fitness club. And fitness trainers can help you learn how to adjust or use some of the equipment.

The other members at a fitness club may also be able to help adjust equipment or spot if necessary. Many long-time members already know how to use the equipment or spot each other for an exercise if necessary.

And finally, working out in a fitness club can be social. Where there are people, there can be friends to be made!
So, whichever you choose, home workouts or the local fitness club, good luck reaching your fitness goals.

Listen to all of Karen’s Quick podcasts here, https://karengoeller.wordpress.com/karen-goeller-podcasts/
Please share the podcast page and click the LIKE button on the blog posts and pages.

By Karen Goeller, CSCS
http://www.KarenGoeller.com
http://www.Amazon.com/author/karengoeller

Ballet… Not for Gymnastics

landingBallet… I love ballet. It’s truly a beautiful art.

I studied it for years as a child then again as an adult in the city. I even searched for adult ballet classes in NJ, but could not find one. That’s how I ended up in ballroom dance.

Anyway, my reason for mentioning ballet is because I recently heard of some gymnasts doing ballet with the intent to help their gymnastics. Unfortunately, that is ineffective. With ballet, most leg positions, leaps, jumps, landings, and turns are done in a turn-out position. And the crown arm position is not a stable position for balance beam. With gymnastics, especially on balance beam and dismount landings the gymnast’s feet and legs must be in parallel, not turn-out. Parallel landings are more mechanically safe for the body, especially when the gymnast is landing with a force of 10-13 times her body weight. A ballet dancer might only land with twice her bodyweight. If the knee is not in line with the middle toes, severe damage to the knees can occur. Most knee pain is from the knee not being in line with the middle toes and hip upon landings or take-offs. More specifically, if a gymnast lands with her feet turned out on balance beam and her knees move forward due to momentum, she will cause damage, and may actually roll her ankle, fall, and get seriously injured.

Again, I love ballet, but not with the intent to compliment gymnastics. So when you are looking for cross training to help your gymnasts, try to align the movements with the sport you are trying to improve. Ballet, as wonderful as it is, does not do that.

Some knee articles…

https://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/STOP/STOP/Prevent_Injuries/Knee_Injury_Prevention.aspx

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321294.php

https://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/sport-injuries/knee-pain

Shoveling Snow… An Unexpected Physical Challenge

It’s snowing out there… Are you in shoveling shape? No, really… Are you in shape for unexpected physical work?

karen-legs-plus-book-2018Many people are not. But when it comes time to shovel the snow, pick up the groceries, do the laundry, or pick up that little family member who wants to be held many people simply can’t do it. It’s often not from injury or illness, it’s from being too sedentary for too long.

So, if you want those unexpected physical challenges to be a bit easier, start exercising now. If you do something very physical after being so sedentary, you risk serious injury and a miserable few days to several weeks after that. Why risk it?

There are plenty of appropriate workouts you can do. Start at the beginning then work up to more challenging workouts. Two of the workout types that I have developed are unique and get results. You can check them out at www.swingworkouts.com and www.legsplus.com.

Good luck… and get in shape now for those unexpected days later…

Listen to all of Karen’s Quick Podcasts here, https://karengoeller.wordpress.com/karen-goeller-podcasts/

No Need to Eat 100% Healthy 100% of the Time

No need to eat 100% healthy 100% of the time. Yes, you heard right. Karen Goeller, CSCS, the person who has been teaching people about health, fitness, and strength for over 30 years just said that!

cartIf you try to eat 80%-90% healthy, you’ll likely be satisfied and remain close to your ideal weight. But first, define healthy.

In my opinion, healthy foods are food from the produce, fish, and meat sections of the supermarket. That’s fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Yes, potatoes and yams included. Just stay away from the boxed meals, fast-foods, and junk foods.

Try really hard to snack on high-quality foods rather than cookies, candies, and other processed foods with low or no nutritional value.

And yes, I DO eat bread and a high protein-omega-3 pasta made from legumes. I personally enjoy Oat Nut bread and Barilla pasta in the yellow box. The Ezekiel bread is high quality too. And of course, your beverages count. Keep the sugar and syrups OUT of your coffee!

So try this. next time you go to the store, be sure that 8 or 9 of every ten items in your cart are actually healthy items. I personally only eat 80%-90% healthy. Remember to define healthy before you make changes.

Good luck… Stay healthy!

karen-legs-plus-book-2018And if you want to start exercising, try the LEGS PLUS workouts. www.LegsPlus.com

P.S. Follow your doctor’s guidelines for you if you have a specific diet. Discuss all changes with a medical professional.

 

Athletes…

karen-spotting-hsAn athlete’s hard work with a coach’s guidance is what propels them to success.” K. Goeller

Two most popular gymnastics books…

www.GymnasticsDrills.com

www.GymnasticsJournals.com

My two most popular gymnastics books, Gymnastics Drills and Gymnastics Journal.

And check out the Gymnastics Lessons Learned book and Gymnastics Coloring book!

These books are nice gifts for gymnasts and gymnastics coaches.

#gymnastics #gymnasts #gifts #books #gymnasticsdrills #gymnasticsjournal

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