Practicing gymnastics at home presents an excellent opportunity to enhance your skills and abilities, but it requires a safe and methodical approach. In this article, we’ll explore what to focus on during home practice, offer insights into safe exercises, and explain how to structure your training and optimize your gymnastics journey from home.
Why Would You Want to Practice Gymnastics at Home?
Engaging in gymnastics at home yields numerous benefits, including improved muscle memory, increased strength, and enhanced flexibility. This becomes especially crucial when regular attendance at gymnastics practice is challenging. Home practice allows individuals to progress rapidly, helping them advance through skill levels more efficiently.
To prioritize safety, we recommend focusing on strength training, stretching, and basic balancing drills at home. Advanced skills pose a risk of incorrect execution without coach supervision and can lead to potential injuries without proper spotting or safety equipment.
When in doubt, choose the safer route and consult your coach to determine the suitability of specific exercises or drills for home practice. Coaches can provide valuable guidance on what activities are appropriate outside the gym environment.
For effective strength training at home, start by identifying your next major goals. From there work backward to pinpoint the muscles that need strengthening to achieve those goals. For example, if mastering a back hip circle on the bars is challenging, focus on exercises like pull-ups and crunches to improve your arm and core strength.
This goal-oriented approach will help to keep you motivated and ensure meaningful progress. If you lack a specific skill goal, following a general conditioning routine can also contribute to overall strength improvement. Be cautious not to overtrain; listen to your body and adjust your training intensity accordingly.
Overtraining is something that you should always have in mind when practicing at home since it is additional to anything that you are currently doing in the gym. If you are practicing in the gym 3+ days a week for multiple hours that might be as much as your body can handle and it might be best to allow your body to heal and recover from practice each week.
Flexibility is another great skill to improve at home, especially since flexibility takes such a long time to build. So if you are not as flexible as you would like to be, stretching at home can be a great way to improve. This can help you increase flexibility much faster than you would by stretching only at practice.
For some helpful guides on what and how to stretch at home check out these various videos.
How to Improve Cardio at Home
It is no secret that gymnasts and cardio do not mix well, however with proper training you can improve your cardiovascular systems and increase your endurance for long routines. Oftentimes it is difficult to get good cardio in at the gym because all of the class time is dedicated to learning and improving skills. This often leaves cardio exercises less frequent, so they are great to practice outside of class.
There are many amazing ways to improve your cardiovascular abilities for gymnastics. Some of the most common would be running, biking, swimming, hiking, or many forms of HIT classes or workout-themed dance classes. All of the above will help you improve your cardio and increase endurance for longer routines. We recommend setting aside some time to work on one or many of these exercises depending on whatever is your preference. At the end of the day, it is all just about getting your heart pumping and keeping up the intensity.
Balance is another core component of gymnastics that can be infinitely improved. This skill is most commonly associated with balance beam and bars, however balance will play a role in every skill you compete. Increasing your ability to balance will improve every aspect of gymnastics.
Practicing balance will help you improve your overall body control which is key for performing your gymnastics skills properly. Make sure that you are practice balancing in practical ways that will help your gymnastics skills. For example, if you struggle on bars to hit a handstand then practice your handstands on a flat surface outside and try to improve your control. Work on holding it for as long as you can, and try shifting your legs around while remaining balanced.
Likewise, if you struggle on a beam try creating a beam on the ground by drawing with chalk or placing markers on either side the same width as a beam. Then try doing simple leaps onto one leg and retain your balance until you can do it with ease. This way when you are practicing in the gym, balancing will be a much easier process and you can focus on improving your skills to wow the judges at your next meet.
Working on gymnastics skills at home is a great way to fast-track your progress and growth in the sport. However, always make sure that you do so from a safety-first perspective. Always practice simple and safe exercises at home like the strength, flexibility, and balancing exercises discussed above. When implementing extra exercises, always avoid overtraining or over-exerting yourself. If you are ever unsure about something just ask your coach for advice on what is best.
We hope that this guide was beneficial and gave you some new ideas to work on at home. Good luck training out there and stay safe!
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