In just two very short years, we’ll all gather ’round the televisions and computers to watch incredibly strong, fit athletes compete in the gymnastics competition of 2016 in Rio. What makes these particular athletes such a draw? We’d venture to say it’s their astounding physiques and the unbelievable feats of strength and flexibility they perform in pursuit of their dream: gold.
It’s a given that these athletes have been training for, well, the better part of their careers, so with only two years left till the next competition, it’s crunch time. You might be surprised at the training going on for these athletes right now; aside from training on the specific apparatus used in each event, the athletes are also engaging in cardio training, flexibility/mobility training, plyometrics and core strength training. So it is, quite literally, crunch time. Crunches, squats, leg lifts, planks, and other exercises that don’t get the hype at the gym are the ones critically important to elite athletes. The rapid stretching and shortening of muscles in plyometric training optimizes strength and reaction and is deceptively simple. Flexibility is an imperative for the athletes, so a routine for stretching and mobility are almost always the first order of business in a training session.
For the junior gymnast (or those who want to work out like one), this all means that a routine at home or at the gym is easy enough to accomplish to help get the body in shape for the demands of a more stringent weight- and apparatus-training regimen. A well-regulated routine will include flexibility/mobility training, plyometrics, cardio, weights, and core strength training in addition to work on specific apparatus in a supervised gymnastics setting. But at home or at the local gym, safety is essential. An explosive plyometric movement or a simple unstretched twist can result in excruciating pain and delays in training.
The key to a successful gymnastics routine at home is to balance each of the training categories, allow for rest periods, and to work out in a safe environment. For activities like stretching and the jump training of plyometrics, an absorbent yet resilient flooring structure is a must. We recommend our resilient and durable EVA foam mats. For a high-impact, advanced routine, the 3/4″ mats are appropriate and will provide support and shock absorption. For a less high-intensity workout, the 1/2″ mats deliver anti-fatigue surfaces to help you last longer and train harder.
For children, tumbling routines are all part of learning to control the body’s movements and to react to impact and balance scenarios. Playtime at home can often be used to help in this endeavor. Every kid has vaulted over the back of the couch once or twice, right? And the couch cushions or the bed mattress end up on the floor (thankfully) while a first-time back bend is attempted. This kind of play is a positive way for kids to begin to experience the possibilities of gymnastics. To make sure their play is safe and that they are equipped with durable accessories for gymnastics play, we recommend our tumbling mats, tumbling octagons, and incline mats. Nothing will motivate the budding gymnast faster than cool equipment; send them in the right direction with top-quality gymnastics mats and accessories.