Dr. Keck here from THE SPORTS POD. Today we’re going to talk about 3 necessary exercises for a gymnast in the off-season. The issues that were going to describe today are often seen during the season and can be prevented in the off-season.
3 Important Off-season Gymnast Exercises
Three areas gymnasts should focus on are hip mobility, core stability, which is directly related to low back pain, and ankle mobility. Especially when dealing with the Achilles tendon. So let’s dive a little bit deeper and talk about hip mobility first. Something that we see a lot with decreased hip mobility is low back pain in gymnasts.
What we really need to focus on in hip mobility is hip extension. In a lot of gymnastic movements, our hips should be doing the majority of the work. If they are not, our low back takes on the additional load. One really good stretch is what I like to call the lizard lunge. One leg is going to be in front and then place both hands on the inside of that front leg. Then work on straightening your back leg and driving that back hip into the ground. Make sure to keep the back nice and flat, and really focus on that hip extension. If you want to get a little bit deeper into the stretch you can bring your back foot into your glute which will allow you to get into more hip extension.
Next, we’re going to talk about core stability which directly relates to low back pain. A lot of times what we’re seeing in gymnasts is that they will be stuck in an anterior pelvic tilt position with a curve in their lumbar spine.
If we gain core stability we will be able to protect the low back. So next we are going to do a hollow position. There are a lot of different varieties of the hollow position. But what we’re looking for in any of the varieties is that your low back is really glued to the ground and that you are not allowing it into an arched position.
If your hips come up and you can get my fingers underneath your low back, we don’t want that. So whatever variation we’re doing, make sure your low back is glued to the ground and your rib cage is really glued into your pelvis.
In order to do the hollow position we are going to put our feet up in a 90-degree angle and then put our arms above our head. From here, We want you to think about lifting our shoulder blades up off of the ground, and closing our rib cage into our pelvis. As soon as we have any space under our low back, we are going to regress the exercise a little bit.
Last but not the least we’re going to talk about some ankle stability that directly relates to the Achilles tendon. What we’re going to do is get into a deep squat, and you can use a partner for this. This is a good exercise for the hips, knees, and ankles.
We want our feet to be pretty straightforward but a tiny bit of turnout is okay. Then we’re going to go down into a deep squat, and from here you can rock side to side on those ankles, back and forth, really getting into that ankle mobility. We can do this with or without a partner.
This is really gonna work on ankle dorsiflexion and keep those Achilles tendons nice and ready for the season. If you have any questions about any of those exercises, we did, please feel free to reach out to us. We look forward to hearing from you.