(Gymnastics Stretches) Although stretching is oftentimes overlooked in gymnastics, it is a very important part of the sport; stretching both increases the range of motion and flexibility of gymnasts. It is recommended that the body and muscles to be warmed-up before performing stretching exercises. These stretching exercises can be done at the end of practice or incorporated as stations at the various events. Hold each position for 20 to 30 seconds and, when applicable, repeat on the opposite side.
Straight (stride) On the floor, extend one leg forward and one backward. Hips remain square while working the lower torso to the floor.
With body facing forward, extend legs to either side at a 180-degree angle. Weight should be supported from the core.
LUnGE WITh TWIST (QUADRICEPS/hIP FLExoRS)
From a standing position, take an exaggerated step forward. With your foot pointing straight ahead, slowly bend your front leg to get into a lunge position. Place the elbow (on the same side of the rear leg) outside of the front thigh of the lunge leg. Use this arm to press on the thigh and create rotation through the core. Without arching the low back, shift weight forward to stretch the front of the rear leg. Attempt to create a straight line from the back knee through each thigh to the front knee.
WALL STRETCh (CALVES)
Lean against the wall in a lunge position with the back leg as straight as possible and front leg slightly flexed. Place both feet straight ahead. Lean into the wall and do not allow the back heel to leave the ground. You can change the angle of the stretch by slightly turning the back foot in toward the body (medial gastrocnemius) or by slightly turning the back of the foot out (lateral gastrocnemius). These stretches hit all three angles of the gastrocnemius. To focus on the soleus, perform the same stretch, slightly bending the knee of the back leg.
Sit on the floor with the left leg flexed at the hip. Bend the left knee so it is in line with the left hip. Extend the right leg behind you until the top of your foot is touching the ground and the leg is as straight as possible. While trying to achieve level hips, lean forward slightly.
FRoG DoUBLE (GRoIn)
Lie on the floor on your stomach. Slide both knees along the floor, bringing them as high as possible toward the chest. Extend the legs to achieve a split single position. Roll the hips internally and externally to change the angle of the stretch.
oBLIQUE STRETCh (oBLIQUES)
Begin in a V-sit position with both legs stretched straight out in front of you. Bend your left leg and place your foot on the floor across your right leg. Turn to your left side and place your right elbow along your knee. Use your elbow on your thigh to press down, causing rotation as you look toward your right.
STAnDInG hAnDS BACK BAR STRETCh (ShoULDER—AnTERIoR)
Stand facing away from a bar (or mat). Reach back with the palms facing down and grab the bar. Move slightly away from the bar, flex at the knees, and slowly squat. Keep your chest up and abdominals tight.
PARALLEL BARS STRETCh (ChEST)
With one hand up and the elbow flexed to 90 degrees, lean into a single bar or one side of the parallel bars or a door frame. Keep your elbow slightly below or even with your shoulders. Keep your chest upright and abdominals tight.
ExTEnSIon AnD FLExIon (WRISTS)
Grasp one hand and gently pull up (a) and press down (b).
Splits Basics FROM HERE