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You'll have a lot more fun as an adult gymnast if you condition for success. By performing conditioning regularly, you will be able to execute the skills you already have with better form, you will learn new skills faster, and you will help prevent injury while you train.
As a personal trainer and competitive gymnast for 20 years, I have a good grasp on the best conditioning methods for adult gymnastics. Go here to read more about me.
Note: These exercises might be too advanced if you're a beginning gymnast. But if you can just begin to work you way up to them, you will have a real edge on learning skills. Don't be afraid to start light. You can always build over time.
I've split up the conditioning list into bodypart. Core workouts can be performed up to five times per week. Legs usually work best when performed twice per week, and arms three times per week. You can mix and match the lists as you see fit. I recommend conditioning core before practice and arms/legs at the end, or you can do it all during a separate training session. However, feel free to get it done in a way that works best for you.
If you struggle with having enough time, realize that something is better than nothing! Every conditioning session helps.
Perform the most reps you can with good form for 1-2 sets. If you have a significantly weaker side, do an extra set on that side.
Every event in gymnastics uses every body part - just in different ways. You cannot go wrong by getting strong!
Have you heard about our Adult Gymnastics Camp?
-Start with a 10 lb. kettlebell, add weight as you're able
-Squat with legs wide, swing the bell through your legs, and then up to shoulder height as you stand. Hold the bell with both hands.
Full Range Calf Raises
-Perform off the edge of a set of stairs or a beam.
-Down slow, up slow, and hold for 1 sec. at the bottom and top. Can be performed on single leg or double leg.
-Lie on a mat or other surface where you can hold on. Torso and hips are on the mat and legs and off.
-Squeeze a pit cube between your ankles and keep your legs locked. Chin stays down on the mat.
High Mat Jumps
-Find a mat that is at knee height or taller.
-Swing your arms and jump up onto the mat. You can land in a squat, but bend your legs the least you need to in order to land on top.
-Step down with alternating legs.
Rebounding Plyometic Bounces across floor
-Do passes of front, back and sides with legs squeezed together.
-Be sure not to bend your knees, it's all about push thru the ankles and tight body.
High Toe Balancing
-Rise up on your tiptoes and hold at the very top for 60 sec.
-Once that is easy try it on one leg for 30 sec. You can hold on lightly to something at first if you need to.
“Sprints” Pushing Mats
-Find a panel mat or small mat and push it across the floor as fast as you can.
-Once you're at the end of the floor turn around and push back. Repeat.
-Have a friend sit on the mat for an extra challenge
Lunge Switch Jumps
-Start in a kneeling lunge position.
-Explosively push off the floor until you're in the air, switch your legs, and land on the other side. Repeat, switching sides each time.
-Be sure to point your toes in the air.
Candlestick to Stand
-Roll onto your back in a candlestick with flat hips.
-Roll back to feet, standing up on both legs with feet together.
-Once that's easy, try single leg ones, alternating each time. Keep the free leg straight.
-Start seated in a pike holding onto the rope.
-Hands are one above the other. Pull your body up still in a pike. Lower your body back to the floor.
-Do an equal number with each hand on top. Hint: start w/ the tougher side first.
-Kick up into a handstand with your back to a wall.
-Bent your arms and get your head as close to the floor as possible, then push back up. If you can have a friend hold your legs even better so that you don't have to arch.
Cheater Chin ups
-Hold onto a low bar with your feet on a spotting block, body straight.
-Pull your chest to the bar without arching your back.
-Start on your knees.
-Perform a push-up where your hands end up leaving the floor because you push so fast. Perform a clap before doing the next push-up.
-Once that's easy, try them on your feet, being sure to keep core tight.
Handstand Shoulder Taps
-Kick up into a handstand
-Tap your left hand on your left shoulder and right hand on right shoulder, trying your best to not move around a lot from your initial spot on the floor.
-Place your thighs on a stability ball and your hands on the floor or on a beam or parallets with your body in a push-up position.
-Keeping straight arms, lean forward as far as you can, then lean back to the starting point.
-On the last one, hold the extended position for 10 sec.
-Kick up into a handstand with your belly facing the wall.
-Keeping eyes between your hands, shrug your shoulders up and down keeping a tight body.
Single Bar Dips
-Get into a front support on a low bar.
-Bent your arms until your ribs touch the bar, then push back up.
-Can be performed in overgrip or undergrip.
V-ups (or flying V-ups if those are easy!)
-Lie on your back on the floor.
-Jackknife your body and reach for your toes.
-Start in a hollow.
-Roll to your side, to your belly, back to your side, and finally back to hollow.
-Be sure to do both directions.
-Start on your belly.
-Rock so that when head goes down heels come up and arms move from overhead to out to the side at the same time.
Glute Bridges Single Leg (or try the one with a side leg lift if that's too easy!)
-On your back with knees together, point one leg out straight.
-Without arching your back, lift your hips. Be sure to do both sides.
Arch/Hollow Holds hanging from a bar
-Hang from a bar and hold an arch shape for 5 sec.
-Then hold a hollow shape for 5 sec. Be sure to squeeze your muscles hard from wrists all the way to toes.
Seated Back Extension Rolls
-Sitting in a pike, dynamically reach back until your arms and hands hit the floor (arms are locked).
-Try to turn it over into a push-up position (it's a mini back extension roll).
-Once that's easy try to do a full back extension roll from this position (keeping straight arms).
Hanging Leg Lifts
-Hang from a high bar and pull toes to the bar
-Avoid arching at the bottom.
Hanging Half Stalder Leg Lifts
-Hang from a bar and pull your legs up and through the bar in a straddle so that you're in an upside down pancake.
-Lower until only halfway and try to pull back up.
-If this is too hard just stick with full range Stalder Leg Lifts at first.
-Start in a front support.
-Roll forward like you're going to come off the bar, but keep your chin over the bar.
-Once your legs are hanging below you, perform a pullover, trying to keep legs straight.
-Can be done in overgrip or undergrip.
Beam Spider Walks
-Straddle a beam and place your hands on the beam.
-Hold yourself up in a straddle and walk all the way down the beam. Walk backwards once you get to the end.
-Try to avoid sitting on the beam during this exercise.
-Lie on your side with arm by your ear.
-Keeping a straight body (use a line on the floor) perform rockers without letting your feet or hand hit the floor.
-Lie on a line, then get into a side plank on one hand.
-The other arm points up toward the ceiling.
-If that's easy, perform hip dips toward the floor and then back to neutral.
-You can also lift the top leg for working hips more.
Leg Lift on Floor
-Lie on your back with arms out to the sides.
-Keeping straight legs, perform a leg lift and try to tap your feet behind you on the floor.
-Focus on rolling one vertebrae at a time to stretch your back.
Arch-up with legs on a mat (partner holds legs)
-Lie facedown on a mat so that hips and legs are on the mat.
-Extend your arms in front of your body with arms by the ears.
-Keeping a tight core, lift your torso and arms to horizontal.
These plans are premade by competitive level. There are also options for recreational adult gymnasts.
While these plans are not adult-specific, they are definitely skill-specific to the USAG DP and XCel Levels. If you are not sure where you fall, consider starting at the "pre-competitive" level. The free sample plan is for level 5/6, which would top off around a roundoff back handspring back layout on floor, or a cast handstand on bars. Gymnastics Conditioning Plans.
Remember--you want to condition for the level you WANT to be, not necessarily the level you are now.
If you find this information overwhelming or you don't understand the terminiology, consider hiring Gina to help create your own personalized conditioning plan. Gina has been a personal trainer and an adult gymnast for over 20 years. She's got you! Fill out the form below for more information.
If you'd like a plan catered to your specific needs and situation, request a Price Quote from Gina, or fill out the form below for a personal price quote.
Disclaimer: Adult gymnasts and coaches give advice and suggestions on this page. By reading and implementing the information, you assume all liability for injury. The advice given is for educational purposes only. Please check with your in-person coach and ensure that you have the proper pit, mats and/or spot available before trying any suggestions. If you don't agree to these terms, do not attempt anything that you see on this page.
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