5 Quick Tips to Fix your Gymnastics
Success in gymnastics depends on a great foundation of basics. Each advanced skill is comprised of several basic shapes and parts, and if one of those parts isn't up to par, the skill is going to be incredibly hard, or even impossible. To fix the full skill, we need to fix the component parts. Here are some good places to start:
1. Your mobility is more important that literally everything. If you can't move, in any direction, your skills are going to suffer. Your spine especially needs to be able to move. Forwards, backwards, and twisting. If this is something you struggle with, try and find a full 30 minutes a day to work on your spinal mobility. Start with something like a Jefferson curl, or other weighted mobility to make stretching less tedious.
2. Fix your hollow body and strengthen it until it's second nature. Hollow body is essentially a combination of 2 things: Tucking your tail, and closing the ribcage. This position needs to be second nature or you will not be able to hold that position in motion, or in skills that require lots of coordination. Practice holding a hollow body at a wall (see below), pushing your toes into the wall until your lower back easily presses into the ground.
3. SHRUG in your handstands. Gymnastics handstands are not yoga handstands. Your arms need to hide or even be behind your ears. In order to do that, you need to use your back muscles to reach the arms further away from the body. You can think of this as pushing the floor away from you, or shrugging the shoulders. Practice the movement right-side-up first, before practicing upside down. Train handstand shrugs as a warmup or accessory skill, every day if necessary until your thoracic spine looks like a completely straight and vertical line in the handstand.
4. Add in oblique work. In most regimens, obliques are the forgotten ab, but add enormous benefits to your training, including stability in your handstands. The easiest way to do this is through stability planks or oblique lifts, and you can see the benefits pretty quickly.
5. Ring stability. Most new gymnasts need to work on straight arm ring work, and the first step to that is being able to hold yourself on the rings in a safe, stable way. The arms need to be completely straight on the rings, driving down into the rings with the shoulders as far from the ears as possible. The hands need to be as close to facing forward as possible, with the least amount of turnout being parallel. You should be able to hold this position for at least :30 before progressing to more advanced ring movements. See below.