Gymnastics at Home Training Manual - Online Book Sample

Table of Contents

PREFACE 

PART 1: INTRODUCTION TO GYMNASTICS 

 

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Stretching 

Chapter 3: Conditioning 

PART 2: THE LESSONS 

 

Chapter 4: Exploring the Body 

 

Lesson 1: Exploring the Body 

Lesson 2: Exploring Basic Body Positions

Chapter 5: Balancing

Lesson 3: Exploring Balances 

Lesson 4: Standing Balances 

Lesson 5: Non-standing Balances 

Chapter 6: Jumping 

Lesson 6: Exploring Jumps 

Lesson 7: Jump Skills

Chapter 7: Support 

Lesson 8: Animal Movements 

Lesson 9: Fundamental Support Conditioning 

Lesson 10: The Bridge

Lesson 11:  Advanced Holds

Lesson 12:  Handstand 

Chapter 8: Rolling

 

Lesson 13: Rolling Foundations

Lesson 14: Forward Rolls

Lesson 15: Backward Rolls

Chapter 9: Tumbling

Lesson 16: Cartwheels

Lesson 17: Round-off 

Lesson 18: Back Walkover 

Lesson 19: Front Walkover

Lesson 20: Routines 

Chapter 1: Introduction

 

Gymnastics offers many physical and mental benefits. It is a fun way to stay fit and fight off diseases. Here are some of the benefits that gymnastics offers:

  • Increased flexibility: Gymnastics conditions your muscles so they become more flexible. This will help you better control your movements, as well as reduce the risk of injury. 

  • Increase strength: Since you are constantly using your muscles in gymnastics, they will eventually become stronger. Your muscles start getting toned and you will find it easier to do exercises that you found hard when you first started. This strength also benefits other areas of your life as you will be able to lift heavier bags, and many other things.

  • Increase bone strength: Many gymnastics skills require you to support your body weight on your hands. This strengthens not only your muscles but also your bones. This will prevent bone loss and brittleness as you get older. 

  • Improve your coordination: Gymnastics requires very precise movements to be successful. As your training progresses, you will start noticing that you can move better, and learning new skills becomes much easier. You will also improve in other sports!

  • Helps you manage your weight: Gymnastics training helps you burn calories. It also helps you strengthen the muscles, helping you become lean and slim. 

  • Helps you be more healthy: Physical activity strengthens your immune system and helps you fight illnesses and diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

  • Build self-discipline and confidence: The benefits are not only physical as gymnastics offers various mental benefits as well. Gymnastics is among the hardest sport to practise and it requires constant training to improve. You will learn how to set goals and a strict daily routine, and how to develop your self-discipline. You will also become more confident as you start improving and learning new things! Gymnastics will help you develop your character and become a more honest, respectful, and caring person. These traits are as important as learning new gymnastics skills. You should always encourage your friends and teammates to do well, follow the rules and show respect to your opponents.

  • Make friends: Training gymnastics in a club will help you meet new friends, which will make you love gymnastics even more!

Gymnastics is a very difficult sport, and very few manage to compete at an elite level. However, this does not mean that you can’t still enjoy the sport and the benefits that come with it! Remember that, although competing in competitions is nice, the most important thing is your personal development... and that you have fun along the way!

Safety

Even though the benefits of gymnastics are many, it is also a sport that holds many risks, especially as you progress to the more advanced skills. It does not only require you to just show up for practise. You need to be prepared physically and mentally. It is very important to follow the guidelines in this book, as well as any other guidelines issued by the coach, to get the best possible learning experience. Keep in mind that you do not need to perform every skill in gymnastics. What is easy for one person may be difficult for another person. For example, if you do not have enough strength to do a handstand, you must first condition and prepare your body with easier exercises. However, you may find that doing a forward roll is easier for you. Do not rush your training, progress slowly and you will be able to learn new things. 

Use Safety Equipment

As you start learning more complex skills, you will undoubtedly experience a few falls. However, if you use safe equipment, you can limit the damage of these falls. For example, the use of mats can help reduce the risks of slipping and reduces significantly the impact of any falls. The use of straps and powder also helps to protect the hands and increases grip as well.

Most of the exercises found in this book can be done on a soft non-slippery mat in a spacious area. However, gymnastics clubs have very expensive and specialised equipment. 

MORE information on the book, remember this is a sample :) 

Lesson 4: Standing Balances 

Relevé Hold

The relevé hold is a balancing position in which you balance on the balls of the feet.

  • Stand in a stretched-body position with your legs straight and together.

  • Form a letter V with your feet with the heels touching together, and toes turned outwards.

  • Keep the heels together and lift them off the floor so that you are now balancing on the balls of the feet. Try to reach as high as possible.

  • During this balance, keep the body in a straight line from hands to toes. Keep your head facing forward with the chin lifted and the neck long. Your legs and ankles should stay together and your abdominal muscles and buttocks should be contracted. 

  • Train both legs.

Challenge: How long can you hold this position without moving?

Coupé 

  • Stand on one leg and bring the free leg up to rest on the ankle of the supporting foot. The toes of the free leg should be pointed.

  • The knee of the free leg should face forward or sideways.

  • Your arm should form a crown in front of you.

  • Practise with both legs.

Challenge: How long can you hold this position without moving?

MORE information on the book, remember this is a sample :) 

Lesson 7: Jump Skills

All the jumps learned in this section can be done on the floor, and even on other apparatus such as the beam.

Stretch Jump

The stretch jump is a jump where the body is in a stretched position when airborne. 

  • Start in a straight body position with the hands down by the side.

  • Bend the knees and then swing your arms forward and upward as you jump up as high as you can.

  • When you are in the air, reach up high with your hands (try touching the ceiling) and make a stretched-body position. Point your toes so that they face downwards.

  • Land on both feet, bending the knees as you land. Keep the torso straight when landing and lower your arms back to the side and then forward again to stick the landing.

Tuck Jump

 

The tuck jump is very similar to the stretch jump, but instead, you perform a tuck in the air.

  • Start in a straight body position.

  • Bend the knees and then swing your arms upwards for momentum as you jump as high as you can.

  • When airborne, lift the knees to chest height and bring the arms forward to touch the knees or shins.

  • During the jump, keep the torso upright, chin up, and feet pointed.

  • As you land, bend the knees and lower the arms back to the side and then forward again to stick the landing.

MORE information on the book, remember this is a sample :) 

Lesson 13: Rolling Foundations

 Pencil Roll

The pencil roll is the easiest roll to perform. To do a pencil roll, simply roll on the mat with your hands and arms together, straight over your head (form a point with your hands) and legs straight and together with the feet pointed. Keep the arms and shoulders close to the ears. If you want to check whether you are doing the pencil roll correctly, place a bean bag or something soft between the elbows, knees, ankles, and hands and try to roll without letting the bean bags fall.

Easier Versions:

  • Ask someone to hold your hands and feet together as you roll.

  • Roll down on a cheese mat.

Challenges:

  • Can you roll with your hands and feet lifted off the floor?

  • Can you roll in a straight line?

  • Can you roll up a cheese mat? 

Egg Roll

An egg roll is very similar to the pencil roll but instead of rolling with the body in a straight line, you roll with the knees tucked to the chest.

  • Lie on the floor and bring the knees to the chest (tuck) and hug your shins tightly. From this position, roll sideways, keeping the body tucked and the knees together. Keep your head tucked in as well so you do not let the top of the head hit the floor.

Easier Version: Roll down on a cheese mat.

 

Challenges:  

  • Can you do the egg roll without holding the knees with your hands (your hands should stay close to the chest)?

  • Can you roll in a straight line?

  • Can you roll up a cheese mat?

 

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