Being a gymnast requires having a body that is extremely flexible, enabling you to move the different parts of your body in various directions to fully master your routine. This makes performing muscle-loosening exercises critical to doing as well as you can while on the mats or bars. Here are three of the best, most basic flexibility movements you’ll want to add to your fitness regimen if you haven’t already:
- Pike Stretch
This exercise helps stretch the muscles in your back and lower body. To do it, sit on the floor with your legs outstretched fully in front of you, knees together. Bend forward at the waist, grabbing your feet with your hands as you lay your head and upper body on your legs. Hold this stretch for 10-12 seconds and then release.
- Shoulder Stretch
Because you rely on your shoulders to help you make it through your routine, stretching them regularly will help improve their flexibility. To perform the shoulder stretch, remain sitting on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you. Place the palms of your hands on the floor behind you as far back as you comfortably can with your fingertips pointing at your buttocks. Slowly lean back until you can feel the stretch in your shoulder area and hold it for 10-12 seconds before returning to your starting position.
- Seated Straddle
If your goal is to help loosen the muscles and soft tissues in your inner thighs, the seated straddle is the exercise for you. Still seated on the floor, spread your legs as far wide as you can, keeping them straight and your toes pointed. Lean slightly forward, just until you feel a small pulling sensation in your groin, and hold that position for 10 to 12 seconds.
Do these three exercises regularly and you’ll notice greater flexibility to perform your gymnastics routine!