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Gymnastics/Abdominal exercises


Dear Ms. Tooman,

I just read an answer where you wrote, "Core is essential. Transverse abdominals, glut maximus and medius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, middle trapezius."  Can you recommend 1-2 specific exercises for each area that you mentioned?  If you're just beginning or out of shape, how many repetitions should you aim for, how many days per week, and what's a good way of progressing?

Thank you,

Hello Ina,

Good questions. I will begin at the end. Most evidence suggests that a strengthening program should be done every other day, alternating muscle groups. Aerobic activity is every day, taking one day off/week. Aerobic activity should not be increased more than 10%/week. Look up on line how to take your heart rate. Aerobic exercise can start at 65% or 75% of your target heart rate. There is plenty of information on heart rate on line. Training for gymnastics requires both aerobic and strengthening. You need endurance.

I have learned through years of practice, that when I tell someone to exercise every other day, the exercise does not get done. You miss one day, and then you have missed three days. I push for every day. Starting out goal is 3 sets of 10 reps of any given exercise. Bottom line, go for quality. If you can do 5 well and by 6 you are using wrong muscle group or losing your form, then 5 is your number of reps. Most injuries happen at the fatigue point in muscles, when good mechanics and form are lost. I push my clients to work toward 100 reps. It is also important to balance strength between sides. If your right leg can do 10 reps, and your left can do 5 reps, keep them both at 5 reps until they have equal strength. This is very important in gymnastics where you just kick over or lead with one leg. Progress most exercise using your body weight and then to theraband.

Please go to my website, The hard copy book, HOLD YOUR SHAPE, Gymnastics conditioning Flip Booklet has all the basic exercise you will need to start out. These are discounted for those who participate in AllExperts. The books are also sold on Amazon. My new book, HOLD YOUR SHAPE, Fit Kids, is an email version with many of the same exercises. It is available for Kindle books. I have written down many of them in previous postings.

Good luck,


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Kathy Tooman PT


Analysis of motion. What muscle length, strength, balance, coordination is needed to accomplish drills or skills. What is needed to avoid preventable injuries and to assist in rehab from a physical therapy perspective.


3o years as a clinical therapist with strong skills in figuring out why or why not an athlete can't accomplish their skills. Many hours with athletes on and off field, specially gymnastics, swimming, tennis, and soccer

American Physical Therapy Association American Physical Therapy Association Sports Medicine Section

HOLD YOUR SHAPE, Childrens Gymnastic Flip Booklet HOLD YOUR SHAPE, Parent & Coach Manual

Physical Therapist, graduate of University of Michigan

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