5 Gymnastic-Inspired Exercises
Just like dance, gymnastics is a full-body activity, requiring an incredible amount of strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. (As always, it’s important to do a proper warm up—a dynamic stretching routine is a great way to prepare the muscles for work and should be a crucial part of any fitness routine).
So whether you’re a newbie at summersaults or a pro on the vault, here are five gymnastic-inspired exercises you can add to your fitness regimen:
1) Wall Handstand
Gymnasts do handstands on the beam, on the floor, on the bar and on top of the vault, but if you’re a newbie to the handstand world, stick to the wall! If it’s your first time attempting this posture, it might be a good idea to have someone spot you.
2) Stork Seesaw
No beam? No problem. This exercise works on your back, core, hips, butt, quads and hamstrings (whew!). Tip: Place your hands on your hips if you’re struggling to find your balance, and remember to keep your abs engaged and move at a steady pace.
3) Basic Bridge
While gymnasts are pros at backbends and back kick-overs, the basic bridge is a rejuvenating pose for newbies—it strengthens your core and lower body and energizes your mind. If you’re having difficulty supporting your weight in the bridge, try sliding a block or bolster under your hips.
4) Crow Pose (aka “Frog Stand”)
This yoga position (and beginners gymnastic exercise!) is designed to help stabilize your core, strengthen your hand-balancing skills and hone-in on your balance and stability. Once you master the frog stand, you’ll be able to perform an unsupported handstand in no time!
5) Tuck Jump
Talk about a plyometric exercise! Explosiveness and major air on jumps are two requirements of being a great gymnast. Just be sure to bend your knees slightly when you’re landing—this reduces the impact on your knees, hips and spine.