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,
It’s getting close to the start of Term 4. How fast has everything seemed to of gone this year? Sometimes it’s overwhelming how fast time seems to pass. Especially towards the end of the year. We suddenly find we have all these birthday parties, family events, holiday parties, end of year celebrations and more we would like to attend!
As we approach our return to Gymnastics and to school, let’s take a breathe and prepare ourselves for the return to consistency and routines in our day to day life.
Routines are important to children and their development, as it allows for predictability in their lives. In turn this helps them to feel secure, safe and significantly less anxious. Routines either daily, or weekly will also aid in the development of independent gymnasts, self confidence and assist in a smooth transition between activities.
Re-establishing a routine doesn’t have to be sudden, or intrusive. In fact a slow progressive approach is more likely to be successful and sustainable. It’s also recommended to start introducing elements of a routine back into the household 1-2 weeks before reintroduction to Gymnastics or school.
Here’s some helpful ideas you might like to use in your routines:
• Bedtime and Wake Up time - We all know sleep is important, but sometimes we neglect an extra hour of sleep here or there for one reason or another. Especially with a more relaxed mood of the holidays. However in our Gymnasts, sleep is ever so important. When they are sleeping their bodies can heal sore/tired muscles, re-energise and grow. Adequate amounts of sleep also contribute significantly to emotion regulation, concentration, problem solving, communication, creativity and motor coordination. The Australian Centre for Education in Sleep recommends 10–12 hours of sleep for Primary Aged children and 8-10 hours of sleep for High School Students. Engage in an open conversation with your Gymnast about sleep expectations, bed time arrangements and work towards a happy and refreshed household.
Remember, slow introduction of a routine will be the most successful. Try slowly reducing the "staying up" bed time by 10-20 minutes a night until you have reached your desired and agreed upon bedtime.
• Routine Charts - Visual aids are also another clever and creative way you can re-introduce elements of a routine. As well as a personal way you can assign responsibility and independence in your Gymnast. For example, if you have agreed to assign your gymnasts the responsibility of packing their gymnastics bag the night before class... you may have a chart they can tick once they have packed all the required items. Leotards, water bottle, hair ties, leggings,
• After School Routine - Maintaining a consistent after school routine can be greatly beneficial, no matter what your routine may consist of. Keep in mind your gymnasts needs, take the time to organise a personal routine for your household. If you have a gymnastics class every Wednesday evening for example, you might decide to incorporate a snack time, a rest time, a minimal
electronic time, travel time, and an allocated waiting time at the Gym so everybody is prepared, relaxed and set up for success. Aim to give yourself and your gymnast time to recuperate. When you are feeling rushed, chances are your gymnast will be feeling it too!
• Time Telling - We live in a very digital and modern age, which can be full of fantastic learning tools and opportunities. However, we can still use things like analogue clocks to aid in self-management, time awareness, maths and fractions. Allocate times for each task, play time, and departure time. Display them as paper cut outs or as a real clock where it will be visible. Ask your child/gymnast questions, or inform them of a specific time that an event needs to occur. Watch over time to see improvements of self management, as they will be able to predict their routines and complete all tasks according to expectations.
These are just some ideas you might like to try, and there are many more ideas out there to be discovered as well! Get involved with your gymnasts, and work together to establish a reasonable routine for everyone in the household.
What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any techniques you believe to have assisted your Gymnast? Let us know in the comments.
Signing off for now,
“Positive thinking creates positive actions, and negative thinking creates negative actions.”
“Positive thinking, Positive outcome”
“How you see your future is much more important than what has happened in your past”
“A positive mind finds a way it can be done”
There are hundreds and thousands of sayings about having a positive mind set. Telling someone to think positive is very easy, but how can we break it down to a particle level to help them really apply it to what they are doing? How can we make them take it in and help them truly change the thoughts they are thinking?
You may think you cannot change what goes in in your brain, but there are strategies we can use to not only help ourselves, but also those around us, to have a brighter outlook on the task which is at hand.
It is important to remember that a positive thought pattern and activities like the S-B-V-GO! are learnt skills and they take practice. The more time you spend working on a positive mind set the easier and more natural it will become.
It is possible to change your mindset.
Choose to be happy.