Why do we have to warm up?” or “Why do we have to warm up for so long?”
Why do we have to warm up?” or “Why do we have to warm up for so long?” These are questions I often get asked by gymnasts. I know it stems from a desire to learn and to start doing the big skills but learning the big skills are a direct result of a proper warm-up and conditioning. When I was a gymnast myself I trained 8 hours a day and it was spilt into 2 or 3 training sessions. Each session started with a warm up and ended with conditioning. I will discuss conditioning in detail in another post.
The warm up is such a critical part of gymnastics and as a gymnastics coach it is something I take very seriously. Let me tell you why…
Maybe warm up is not the best term to describe what we do at the beginning of a gymnastics class because it is so much more than just that. Yes, we all know that we need to get the blood pumping around the body and warm-up the muscles for strenuous exercise as in all sports. But in gymnastics athletes must prepare their body towards having excellent coordination, flexibility, strength, focus, agility, balance and mind muscle connection. A combination of all of these will allow the bigger skills to be performed safely and precisely.
Think of the splits which is always a part of our warm up but also think of the importance of learning the splits properly for not only for basic flexibility but as a precursor to so many basic and advanced gymnastics skills. I will name a few - cartwheels, round offs, walkovers, aerials, leaps, back handspring step out, front handsprings. Warm up also gets the mind and body ready for these movements. It helps to prevent injuries and prepares the athlete for the skills they are working on.
Here are my all-time top ten reasons as to why the warm up is so important:
Physically prepares the athlete for movement by warming up the joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles.
Mentally prepares the athlete for gymnastics
Reinforces the fundamental movements that are needed in advanced skills
Improves coordination, agility and balance
Creates the atmosphere
Helps to get the athletes in the flow of gymnastics and this helps not only with confidence but with motivation to perform at their best
Don’t forgot to look out for my next post on the importance of conditioning…
About the author:
Meghan Lichtinghagen is a Canadian living in Switzerland and was a former member of the Canadian National Gymnastics Team. She has been coaching since she was 14 years old and is fully certified in the sport of gymnastics and trampoline by the National Coaching Certification Program of Canada and is a Senior Coach at Gymnasticals. Meghan is also an avid crossfitter and she runs a successful global health and wellness business that specializes in plant based and natural solutions to help people live better. For more information please visit: https://meghanl.myzija.com.
For more information about our gymnastics courses go to www.gymnasticals.com