Gymnastics/safety

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Question
Why/how are warm-up and stretching vital components to ensure safety of gymnasts?

Answer
Jenna,

I have just come from a sport medicine course in New York. Your questions were asked for all sports, not just gymnastics. There is much research being done to answer these exact questions. The current research even suggests that the answer to these questions will be different, depending on the sport.

The current data suggests that conditioning is essential. Young athletes are injured when they continue to participate in a sport without conditioning for the sport. Participating in the sport does not in fact condition you for the sport. Core is essential. Transverse abdominals, glut maximus and medius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, middle trapezius. These muscles require strength, endurance, and skill. The muscles need the endurance to continue to work efficiently, in fatigue situations.

An athlete that has shortened muscles needs to lengthen them to attain a longer muscle to generate more force. An athlete who has excessive range of motion, does not need to stretch to the same degree. Stability is more important for this athlete.

The skill is in determining the warm up and stretch required for each individual gymnast. One program does not fit all.

Hope this helps.

Kathy  

Gymnastics

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Kathy Tooman PT

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

Organizations
American Physical Therapy Association American Physical Therapy Association Sports Medicine Section

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

Education/Credentials
Physical Therapist, graduate of University of Michigan

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