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Gymnastics at home... what can a child do SAFELY to help progress in gymnastics

(44 Posts)
ReallyTired Fri 15-May-15 12:30:04

Dd does one hour a week of rec gymnastics. She is not remotely talented at gym, but is making progress. She can do a bridge, handstand, headstand, forward and backward rolls. She is not naturally supple so is unlikely to make any kind of squad or pre competition group however hard she works.

Dd wants to learn how to do a cartwheel and a round off and is trying to teach herself. At the moment she lacks the strength and balance to do either. She likes watching Seven Gymnastics Girls on youtube, but I don't think DIY gymnastics is entirely safe. However I don't think that dd will ever gain the necessary strength and suppleness from one hour a week of recreational gym. What can she do safely at home to help her gain good gym skills?

TwoLittleTerrors Fri 15-May-15 12:36:32

I can't see why you can't do cartwheels on a lawn. I never did gym so don't know what a round off is. But I'm sure a cartwheel is safe as we did it as kids!

ReallyTired Fri 15-May-15 12:42:24

dd is also attempting to teach herself the splits.

Trufflethewuffle Fri 15-May-15 15:31:58

Why not ask the coach for a list of things she can practise at home safely?

Trufflethewuffle Fri 15-May-15 15:34:29

Sorry, posted too soon.

Can she replicate the warm ups and stretches that she does in the session? My niece used to do this and made huge progress compared to others who simply turned up to the sessions.

She also used to use her garden swing to practice various bar manoeuvres.

sleepwhenidie Fri 15-May-15 15:45:49

My DD is upside down more often than upright lately, always practising cartwheels and handstands, doing handstands against the fridge (this will build strength really quickly in DC's), trying to get into splits or a bridge (getting stretchier all the time). They also have them doing what they call 'holds', which she also does at home - these but include what is essentially a push up position with straight arms (build core and arm strength), supermans (back strength), side planks (core) and a sort of inverted yoga boat (a half crunch with straight legs and pointed toes). All of that is great for improving strength and flexibility.

amybear2 Fri 15-May-15 17:39:42

If she only does an hour a week conditioning at home is imperative to progress.

If she can do a bridge, time how long she can hold it and see if she can beat that time a bit every day.Then try bridge walks and high bridges with her feet up on the sofa or something to stretch out her shouldesr.

Same thing with handstands.Support her every day and tell her to hold it for as long as possible.Then when she can do it for a minute or so, try have her doing it tummy to the wall (she will probably need to walk her legs up to the wall and hands as close as possible in.She will need help from you pushing her in to begin with, it takes a lot of core strength to hold it straight up and down tummy to the wall, but she will have a lovely straight handstand when she can do it.The trouble with doing it back to a wall is that it will encourage a banana back.As I said just support her yourself to begin with

If you have access to any kind of bar encourage 'chin ups' with palms
forward and backwards.
leglifts are important too.Start on the floor progess to edge of a table (with you holding her so she doesn't fall off) and the hanging from a bar.

Splits are best done after a hot bath or shower.Make sure she does the stretches properly, does them REGULARLY and HOLDS IT. Remember to do it with both legs and also box splits.If she is naturally very stiff she will need assistance with the last bit. See PNF stretching, or ask your coach, but not until she is nearly down herself.

amybear2 Fri 15-May-15 17:41:07

Forgot to say, It is easier to learn cartwheel over a low block swinging the legs up and trying to keep them straight.Loads of vids on Youtube

MomOfTwoGirls2 Fri 15-May-15 19:58:37

DD1 is not a flexible girl, nor is she a natural atelete. She practiced and practiced and practiced her splits (doing a progression of stretches and moves as they do in the gym), and eventually got them. Took maybe a year.
She can also do a decent cartwheel. This also took a while and lots of practice. She also does just one hour rec gymnastics.

If your DD is keen, ask her coach for a conditioning sheet, this will build her strength and flexibility.

I also recommend a decent gym mat, and also practicing moves on trampoline.

bigTillyMint Fri 15-May-15 20:17:05

I agree with sleepwhenidie, amybear and momof2- she could do conditioning at home and work on core strength and flexibility.

DD used to do all sorts of moves and practice her routines at home despite there not being enough space and me telling her not to!

AmateurSeamstress Fri 15-May-15 20:36:10

Good thread! Is there such a thing as an outdoor mat? We have decking.

My DCs' upper body strength has improved a lot since we added monkey bars to their climbing frame and a trapeze to their swingset. Not completely safe though!

ReallyTired Fri 15-May-15 22:30:05

We have got a mat from IKEA for £25

dd's cartwheels are a work in progress to put it dipolmatically.

Teacuptravells Fri 15-May-15 22:33:53

We were told a chin-up bar was fine if we wanted to have one for strength (literally chin ups with the bar up high) but under no circumstances to have it half height/ practice bar manouvers at home. I think its a mix of danger-to-self but also bad habits.

ReallyTired Fri 15-May-15 23:10:26

Thanks amybear for your post. The ideas are really useful.

MomOfTwoGirls2 Fri 15-May-15 23:52:00

The IKEA mats are rather thin. I think 3cm? There are other thicker mats available online. I paid £50 for an 8' x 4', 5cm thick, free delivery in UK. It is covered in heavy duty plastic, and gets dragged outside on a very regular basis. My mat doesn't fold up, but there are similar mats available that fold in 3, though a little smaller at 8' x 3'. Check Amazon and eBay.
Another useful piece of home equipment is folding balance beam. No legs, lays flat on ground. Available on eBay. Great for balance work.

amybear2 Sat 16-May-15 14:19:41

I bought a big (4'x6'x8inches) block of foam from a foam manufacturer online (you need to make sure you buy the right grade though.The manufacturer will tell you which-.I think it is closed cell?

AmateurSeamstress Sat 16-May-15 21:00:33

Thank you for the mat ideas, and sorry to have hijacked a bit, OP.

Jennifersrabbit Sat 16-May-15 21:11:14

Thanks, this is very useful. I also have a frequently upside down DD who loves her gymnastics but not much clue how to help!

Is a proper cartwheel literally like a cartwheel in a straight line, or is it right to turn and land standing at 90 degrees to the direction you set off in - is that the round off?

Jennifersrabbit Sat 16-May-15 21:12:43

Are there any of the YouTube videos people can link to? Much appreciated if so!

ReallyTired Sat 16-May-15 21:44:46

Amateur, you haven't hijacked my thread. Talking about affordable equipments is very relevant.

I am not deluded and I know there is little point in spends loads of gym equipment when did may lose interest. However a good affordable mat is a good investment.

amybear2 Sat 16-May-15 22:46:25

Jennifer A side to side cartwheel is where you are like a wheel.

A cartwheel-quarter turn (in) is where you start off facing in the direction of travel and finish up facing where you started.

A roundoff is superficially like a cartwheel, especially when they are in the early stages of learning it, but is used to generate backwards momentum for back tumbling.Yoi go into it as fast and low as possible push off your hands (so that you are monentaily in flight, and then snap your legs down and chest up sharply.If done right they will fall over backwards!!

amybear2 Sat 16-May-15 22:54:41

This is quite a useful site for telling you what the moves are supposed to look like (although normally you would tun and hurdle into a roundoff)

takeallday Sun 17-May-15 12:43:17

ReallyTired, thanks for starting this thread. Have a cake.

I too have an upside down flipping dd. My garden is too small for a good size trampoline so instead I want to get a gym beam perhaps a foldable one. Does anyone of you have one? Where did you get yours? They seem quite expensive. Has anyone heard a shop BeamStore?

ReallyTired Sun 17-May-15 14:13:05

I got this beam

However it is not particularly stable. I think it's hard to make a beam that folds and is sturdy enough to jump on. We find that it wobbles when dad walks on it. I would not recommend our folding beam. Other folding beams might be better.

takeallday Sun 17-May-15 15:07:37

Thanks ReallyTired for pointing out that 'it wobbles' I ve seen your beam on ebay. But the one showing on the beamstore website seems a bit more like semicircular shape. I wonder if it will be studier. Sorry I have to type with my phone so not easy to make the internet link. Anyway it s only a small website.

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