The importance of flexibility for gymnastics

You need to be flexible to be successful in gymnastics for three main reasons:

  • There are some skills that you will not be able to do if you are not flexible enough.
  • There are some ways to learn skills that can only be done if you are flexible.
  • And there are many skills that only seem good if you’re flexible.

    Flexibility speeds up learning!

    Most high-level training programs require that you meet minimum requirements for flexibility (and strength) in gymnastics because it speeds up the learning process when you are flexible enough to learn any skill and prevents gymnasts from developing bad habits of working skills incorrectly.

    Flexibility can be improved!

    Fortunately, flexibility is one physical trait that can be improved simply by taking the time to work on it. In general, the more time you spend the more flexible you will become.

    Train both statically and dynamically

    There are two types of flexibility most common in gymnastics training – static and dynamic – and these are also two of the ways you can work on your flexibility. An example of static flexibility is sitting in the splits. Split jumps are an example of dynamic or active flexibility. Other examples of static and active flexibility are (active) kicks and (passive) kicks.

    Body weight stretch

    In the case of splits, not only are you still, but your body weight can also help push your splits down. The back column is also a static flexed position but your body weight does not assist with the stretching effort.

    Power in full range

    Strength through the full range of flexibility is often important in gymnastics. Even if a gymnast is able to kick his leg into a 180-degree split to the back does not mean he is strong enough at that degree of flexibility to keep his leg a 180-degree split on the scale.

    Shoulder flexibility is just as important

    While leg flexibility mainly contributes to the emergence of dance skill on the floor and bar, shoulder flexibility is important in the correct execution of acro skills in each event.

    Evenly develop flexibility

    In both shoulder and leg flexibility, developing flexibility up to bilateral (left and right side) is a requirement. Inflexible gymnasts sometimes develop habits such as turning to their more flexible side when they do forward and backward walks. This habit is a disaster for pack consistency, not to mention an unattractive way to do these skills.

    Get creative and do what you need to do

    Flexibility is one of the few aspects of gymnastics that you can work on outside of the gym. Many gymnasts have found interesting ways to work on their splits and flexibility. Some gymnasts sit in splits when they watch TV. Some gymnasts never bend their legs when bending over to pick up objects from the ground to improve the flexibility of their spear. We’ve even heard of gymnasts who fell asleep in their splits.

    Referees will notice excellent flexibility

    The judges will take special notice of gymnasts who have 180 degrees as well as jumps and split jumps, although 180 degrees (or less in the compulsory) is all that is usually required. So if you not only want to avoid deductions, but you want to get an overall impression score for being more flexible, do your splits.

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