You are here:

Gymnastics/Beginner's Progression

Advertisement


Question
Hello!

I would really appreciate if you read my story and give me your opinion and tips!

Since I am a very young I was searching for something that fills the “emptiness” in my life. I have always had a lot of friends, a nice family, good grades at school etc, but I was always kind of unhappy.
I wanted to go on adventures, play football, go snowboarding and always had a huge fascination for acrobatics, but there was not even a single person who shared my passion.
I grew up in a small village in Austria, no one here really knows about acrobatics or gymnastics, neither did my parents.

I am so extremely sad that they didn’t have the idea to put me in gymnastics or something at a young age!!!

Anyways, when I graduated from school I decided to become a teacher for sports and geography. I attended gymnastics classes at university and suddenly found what I was looking for my entire life – people who are like me, who like being active, have fun together and respect others as they are!

So like I said, I started acrobatics about 9 months ago and I think I am doing quite well. The coaches wouldn’t believe me when I said I have never done anything like that before. I think this is just because of my passion for it and because I am watching so many gymnastics videos! My “team” is just a bunch of students, most of them can’t even do a good straight cartwheel, but they train and have fun.
But I want more.
There is no opportunity for adults to train in Austria, but I am in these college classes 3 times a week for 2 hours, coaches are quite good!

Additionally, I do some bodyweight exercises 3 times a week:

warm up+prehab exercises for wrists+shoulders
25 minutes abs+hip flexors - Leg raises, L-sits, V-Sits/ hollow body rocks, planks, V-ups at the end
20 minutes legs – standing leg lifts and holds, calf raises, wall sits, hamstring exercise
15 minutes arms – push-ups variations about 50 in total (the hard ones with elbows very close to the body, they are 3 times harder than with elbows flared out!) 3x as many pull ups as possible
cool down + stretch

I am so happy, I feel like nothing can harm me because I finally found a hobby and a job that makes me happy!

The only thing I think about now is that I am really angry I didn’t start earlier. But then I try to tell myself, that maybe it is not such a big disadvantage to start later. Maybe I would have had a bad injury if I started earlier, or dropped out of it in puberty like many kids do. And now I know I really want it, I am even more focused and willing to work hard!

But I am afraid it will take me ages to learn some skills. I don’t want to be a superstar or something…!
ALL I WANT TO BE IS A FLEXIBLE AND STRONG ACROBAT, WHO CAN DO BASIC SKILLS, BUT THESE SKILLS SHOULD LOOK NICE AND PERFECT, NOT SLOPPY.

I will now write down my goals and I would really appreciate if you could comment on it and give your opinion.

My skills (I learned in 9 months):
all skills listed are decent and not sloppy at all, because this is very important for me!

Flexibility:
Front splits left and right
middle splits
good back and shoulder flexibility, I can nearly put my head between my feet


Strength:
15 hanging leg raises on a free hanging pull-up bar
5 hanging leg raises on stall bars
5 deadhang pull-ups
1 chin-up pullover
30 seconds straddle support
20 seconds L-sit
straddle handstand (from standing)

Skills:
handstand for about 5 seconds
cartwheel on both sides
one handed cartwheel
round-off
front and back walkover
(I have not worked on anything else yet, but the skills mentioned are really decent!)
front and back tuck on trampoline

So my goals are:

Flexibility:
Oversplits of 10 inches
Bow and Arrow
Needle

Strength:
20 hanging L to V leg raises on stall bars
10 deadhang pull-ups
7 chin-ups pullovers
L-Sit on floor for 50 seconds
V-Sit on floor for 10 seconds
press to handstand from straddle L (two in a row)
pike handstand (from standing)

Skills:
hold a handstand for about 20 seconds and do some variations (splits, stags, arched)
elbow stand for 1 minute
back handspring
back handspring step-out
RO BH
front/back tuck
Side Aerial
RO BH BT
 on floor!
and then I want to work on my layouts, front aerials etc on the tumble track

So do you think I can reach my goals? And if so, how long will it take with the amount of training I mentioned above?

I would like to have the strength and flexibility goals by September 2014 – is that possible?
And the skills I would just like to work on, maybe the RO BH, Front handspring and elbow stand also in September and the tucks and aerial somewhere around Christmas?

And one more question – doing press handstands hurt my left wrist, because of the extreme hyperextension. So after and training I feel discomfort when I hyperextend my left wrist.
I don’t want to aggravate any injuries!!!

So I do all of the bodyweight exercises like L-sits or push ups either on my knuckles or on parallettes and in training I stop as soon as I feel discomfort and I sometimes wear tiger paws when I do round-offs or handstands. Additionally I do a strengthening program for the wrists 4 times a week!

My question is: as press handstands are one of my main goals, it would be beneficial to work on those a lot, of course. But I don’t want to strain my wrists too much. So my question is: if I am focusing on working my compression strength a lot – as I do in my workout – will this be enough to get the press handstands? I mean, I already know the technique of the skill, I think I am just too weak! So if I train L-Sits, leg raises and stuff a lot and just try some press handstands every now and then, will I be able to make it once I am strong enough? Or do I NEED to train for them to master it, even if I understand the technique already?

I would be so happy if anyone has some advice, maybe I won’t be that desperate anymore that I didn’t start earlier!
Thanks in advance!

Answer
Hi Katharina,
From my experience if your wrist hurts when doing press handstands or tumbling then here are a couple suggestions:
1) ease up on the tumbling, and when you do it make sure you are thoroughly warmed up.
2) Spend more time stretching your wrists (see http://www.lifetimegymnast.com/the-key-to-flexibility-is-untimed-stretching/).  I had wrist pain for years until I was injured and spent a few months stretching without working out, then when I was able to train again the pain in my wrists was gone.

No one can tell you how long it will take you to reach your goals, only that having them will help you improve.

In my opinion, it is much safer and easier to learn any skill after spending lots of time with conditioning to improve you strength and flexibility.  The technique will come quickly if your body is ready to do it.
Regards,
Robert

Gymnastics

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Robert Davis

Expertise

I can answer questions about technique, strength and endurance training, healing from injuries, and competitions. I can also answer questions from parents of gymnasts, as I have six children of my own now. I plan to write a freely downloadable ebook or guide soon, go to www.LifeTimeGymnast.com to tell me what you want help with!

Experience

I competed in gymnastics for 16 years, from age 8 to 24, the last six of those years on the Arizona State Men's Gymnastics Team (www.sundevilgymnastics.com). After almost a 10 year hiatus I've returned to competition, see www.lifetimegymnast.com.

Publications
http://www.lifetimegymnast.com
http://www.goodfeelingplace.com
http://www.wilycode.com

Education/Credentials
I have a BSE and MS in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University. During those 6 years I was a member of the Arizona State Men's Gymnastics Team as well.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.