Gymnastics is a very broad sporting field. Staying true to the ancient Greek bodily idealism culture in which gymnastics was born, modern gymnasts have to be able to utilize their strength and flexibility to win in competition.
Grasping the Basics
Before you get to that stage, you’ll have to learn a few basics. Many of the complex and dazzling movements performed by top-level gymnasts are based on a few key skills that practitioners learn early on in their journey. Gymnasts are known to start their training early in life, but there is no reason why you should hold back on learning these moves whatever your age.
Gymnastics can take you to some pretty amazing places. From the Olympics (oh! To be like the fierce five) to a top college (check out asmscholarships.com for scholarship opportunities). But you won’t get far in the world of gymnastics without perfecting these five essential skills:
The handstand is an absolutely essential gymnastic skill. Almost all tumbling and bar routines involve handstands, and they are a great base from which to develop more complex movements.
You can practise your handstand form by doing a ‘spiderman against the wall’. This is essentially a handstand performed against a wall, which improves your balance and core strength (which you’ll need a great deal of to perform the perfect handstand).
Ever popular with children in the playground, the cartwheel is actually a very potent gymnastic skill. During freestyle and rhythmic gymnastics, cartwheels are often used to transition between moves smoothly and gracefully. A well-executed cartwheel displays wonderful balance and grace.
Casting is a crucial skill for gymnastics performed on the bars. When casting, a gymnast uses their core strength to create a hollow handstand form upside-down on the bars, with their face pointing at a perfect 90-degree angle.
Casting is an immensely fun skill to practise, but can lead to twisting back injuries if your form is not quite up to scratch. Have somebody spot you for safety.
One of the more impressive basic gymnastics skills, the back handspring is a graceful and powerful backwards flip in two halves. Crucial to tumbling routines, and the base for many tumbling ‘finishes’ such as full and half twists, the back handspring is a great addition to your repertoire, and absolutely essential to master if you plan on going into competition.
Nothing is more graceful than a perfectly executed split leap. Transitional parts of floor routines are lit up when a gymnast displays ballet-like aesthetic form – taking a seemingly effortless leap before completing the splits in the air.
Whilst it may not look like a particularly hard skill for a flexible person to master, the timing necessary to perform a good split leap takes hours and hours of practice. Like all basic gymnastic skills, the split leap will eventually become second nature, but until you break its back it might seem like a rather tall order. Getting somebody to hold your waist whilst you practise your timing and movement is a good way of making sure that you build up to the perfect split leap safely.