This is one part of training that is too often neglected, forgotten or avoided. It takes time and is often uncomfortable... yett should never be painful. Of course I am talking about stretching!
I feel like there are 3 types of people when it comes to stretching and flexibility training: Person 1. Loves it! Person 2. It's Ok I guess Person 3. Really REALLY doesn't like it.
We all have different natural ranges of movement, which is going to heavily impact on this outcome. The problem is that no matter what your opinion on stretching is, your attitude could be effecting your likely hood of injury.
If you are naturally very flexible and find stretching easy, there is a chance you could over stretch and injure yourself because you don't feel the stretching sensation like somebody else might. Alternatively if you truly dislike stretching you could be susceptible to injury through lack of stretching, lazy stretching or through a forced/strained range of movement.
The most common injury points I have witnessed occur through the hips or hip flexor region, back of the legs through the hamstring or sciatic nerve or also commonly through the shoulder in one of the many rotator cuff muscles.
A strain will occur if a muscle, tendon or ligament is torn. This could occur from holding a stretch position for too long, progressing too quickly, inadequate positioning while in the stretch or bouncing in a stretch.
There are 2 main types of stretching. Passive Stretching which involves holding a position over a long period of time with zero or limited movement. Active or Dynamic Stretching which involves a large range of movement through out a stretch (think lunge walks or needle kicks). Both have their benefits, but doing one completely on it's own in a training schedule will only get you so far!
I'm going to outline a very basic stretching routine structure for you all:
- Having a light stretch after getting out of a hot shower as the water will of raised your muscles temperature which will make it more receptive to stretching.
- Practicing a few stretches daily each time you wake up from bed. Don't expect to be doing walk overs first thing in the morning, but practicing simple stretches and joint articulation will really benefit you and the rest of your day.
Stretching is super important to maintain your over all health whether you partake in gymnastics or not. However if you partake in gymnastics it should be a priority of yours to not only maintain but progress your skills!
Do you have any stretching goals for 2019? Share them with us, we would love to know!
Signing off for now,
Our feet do a lot for us everyday, but how often do we spend trying to keep them fit and healthy? The human foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments. That is one complex structure!
Every person who has feet, will have different feet than you. They are very unique to your stride, balance and locomotion. Each person will have a slightly different arch position, width, length, ankle stability, toe spread etc. All of these attributes have been developed over the years of living and even before you were born.
Today I am going to share some great injury prevention exercises with you all to keep you on your feet for as long as possible!
Stand with your feet a comfortable distance apart from each other. Try to lift just your big toe's off the floor, leaving all other toes firmly on the ground. Next, try to lift all your little toes and keep your big toes firmly on the ground. Swap between these as many times as you can. This might take some practice as this is a bit of an unusual movement pattern. People who pronate, or roll to the inner arch, have a hard time lifting the big toes and most people who supinate, or roll on to the outer edges of the foot, have a hard time lifting the other toes.
This is an exercise most of us are familiar with and have likely attempted before. However you most likely only thought about it strengthening your calves. When this exercise is slowed right down and a lot of the intention is focused onto the feet, you get a lot of benefits through the gradual articulation of the ligaments.
Stand with your feet close together. You can use an object to help stabilize yourself, but not to hold your body weight. Gradually rise through the ball of your foot and lift your heels off the ground, as slow as possible until you reach releve or full height. Reverse this process until your heel is placed back onto the ground. Be aware of your feet through out the entire exercise and make sure you are not rolling in or outwards over your ankle, and that your weight is distributed evenly over all of your toes.
SOFT SURFACE BALANCES:
We are constantly walking on hard ground all day and our ankles rarely get the opportunity to stabilize you on uneven and soft surfaces. A bosu ball is a piece of equipment often used for this exercise however if you don't have one you can substitute this exercise by standing on pool noodles, a pillow, blanket, sand, crash mat or a sturdy rounded object.
Simply balance on one foot at a time on the soft surface and really consider all the engagement required by those muscles to keep your ankle in alignment. If you find this too simple, you can change it up by trying to do heel raises or balancing on one leg and trying to touch the floor with your hands while balancing or one legged squats.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a video to explain this one instead.
There are numerous ways you can prevent injury or recover from an injury through consistent and comprehensive exercises. These are just a few that I like and find to be exceptionally helpful.
It's never too late to start taking care of your body!
Which exercise was your favorite in today's blog? Which do you think you will try first? Leave a comment below to discuss any ideas!
Signing off for now,
Are you running out of ideas for the kids over the summer school holidays? Not sure how a school holiday program works, or how your kids would enjoy it? Did you know we run an extensive school holiday program right here at FCGC?!
Trying to keep the kids entertained and active over the holiday period can be a challenge, especially if you have to return to work before the youngsters go back to school.
We all want to keep our kids happy, healthy and engaged! One of the best ways we can initiate this, is to allow them personal time to develop and explore in a safe environment.
Allowing a child to participate in a school holiday program, can boost a child's learning capacity in nearly all aspects of the social, personal, physical and emotional development. A child participating in our program will develop communication skills with others, leadership skills, group interaction skills, safe play skills as well as confidence and many more important skills for life!
FCGC's school holiday program has been created with an array of participants in mind. We truly believe we offer a unique program for all those involved.
Each day of FCGC's school holiday program has been designed so all children will get the most out of their experience. Our weekday programs offer multiple different themes, all with new exciting activities! From arts & crafts, to science experiments, food creations, brain teasers and more. Each individual experience should be special, fun and over all educational in many ways. The best part is, they will be having so much fun they will hardly notice they are learning as they play and create!
Our gym time and free play sessions will also allow them plenty of time to get all their sillies out - so to speak! Movement is the biggest facilitator for learning, for all gymnasts big or small, new or experienced. Rest assured your little gymnast will have plenty of opportunities to practise new and old skills, run, jump, climb and more!
Does this sound like the perfect program for you? I think it does too!
Check out our School Holidays Program tab on our website or click HERE for more info.
We can't wait to see you over the holidays!
Signing off for now,
-Yes, you did read that correctly. It’s also entirely accurate.
However, we don’t sit your little gymnasts down in the gym with a large text book on The Laws of Physics and ask them to “turn to page 203”.
Instead we are using Physical Sciences and Bio-mechanics to help teach your gymnast every time they do a roll, tumble, cartwheel, somersault or bar skill. Or maybe I should say, they are teaching themselves to be Physicists.
This is likely something that has never crossed your mind before, so let’s break it all down so we can understand together how and why Gymnastics is teaching your gymnasts Physics.
Let’s introduce you to some very close friends of a Gymnast: Velocity, Rotation, Momentum and Mass. These aspects of Physics are the driving forces behind everything you see in Gymnastics.
Expecting a gymnast to remember all the technical terms or being able to explain them isn’t crucial. However, without their knowing, they are learning to understand how they are applied to their actions and motion any time they do literally anything.
Every time they walk, they are learning how to adjust their Center of Mass. Whenever they run and must suddenly stop, they are making tiny corrections from their heads down to their toes that will affect their Center of Mass and Velocity.
In Gymnastics it is the same techniques but applied on a much bigger scale. As we all are aware, there are many apparatus’s and skills involved in Gymnastics and they all require a particular formula to be applied to get the desired result.
For example, when a Gymnast leaves the mat they have applied an angular momentum from their push-off. Once they have left the mat, the momentum cannot be changed. However, the Gymnast may be required to change the speed of their rotation while moving through the air.
Ok sounds simple enough, right? But how can they alter the speed of their rotation without pushing off an object? Simple. They can achieve this by changing their Centre of Mass from the axis of rotation. The Angular Momentum can be increased or decreased by compressing or expanding the distance between the Mass and the Axis of Rotation.
What I am REALLY saying is, the tighter the gymnast tucks… the faster they will rotate.
It might all seem a bit much and daunting, but that's ok! Our bodies are wonderful machines that can learn, adapt and apply these physics almost instantaneously.
Here is an informative video by Stephanie McGregor who is a Bio-engineering Major as well as a College Gymnast.
It is a fun video to watch, that will help to explain things a little further while demonstrating some very impressive Gymnastics Skills:
What did you think of today’s blog? Did you learn anything new?