Teach Yourself Gymnastics

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When teaching yourself how to do gymnastics, make sure to practice on a soft surface so that the body is protected if you fall. Find out how to stretch to prepare to do gymnastics with help from a gymnastics coach in this free video on gymnastics and tumbling.

Part of the Video Series: Gymnastics & Tumbling
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Caroline and this is Katy, and we're here at Encore Gymnastics, and we're going to teach you how to teach yourself gymnastics. You want to make sure that if you're teaching yourself gymnastics, you're absolutely using a soft surface. Any time you're doing gymnastics, there's a possibility of falling, and you want to make sure you're falling on the softest possible thing that you have around. We're going to start by showing you some stretching to do before you start any gymnastics activity. Katy's going to show you how to stretch her wrists. You always want to stretch your wrists, very good, and ankles. And twist those around a little bit beyond their normal flexibility. Excellent. She's going to show you butterfly stretch. Reach up, and in, and very good. Each stretch that we're showing you, you're going to want to do for about thirty seconds. And then, up. And pike. Very good. Reach up, breathe in and out. You want to keep your heels together in this stretch, your knees flat on the ground. You're pulling yourself down, and you keep your chin up a little bit to pull your chest down. Keep your toes pointed, feet together, very good. And a straddle. There you go. And here you're going to reach up, put one arm under, go to one side. In this stretch you want to square your hip, your shoulders, so they come this way. You want to make sure your knees stay to the ceiling and your toes are pointed. Come to the other side. Like I said, each stretch for about thirty seconds each. And up, and then out in the middle. This is called a pancake. This is a very important part, keeping your knees up and your toes pointed, and getting your back as flat as possible. And, come on up. Next we're going to stretch your splits, so you come up on one knee. You're going to do this with each leg. We're just going to show you one. You want to make sure your knee never passes your toe. You're pushing your hips down, your shoulders are over your hips. This leg is getting a good stretch here, and your hip's getting a good stretch here, also. Then, straight leg, hands down to your foot. You're going to get a good stretch under here in your leg. Your going to hold that. And then you can slide into your split. Very good. When you're doing your split, your shoulders are over your hips, your knee is turned under, your toes are pointed, your chest is up. Very good, come on up. Another stretch that we do are froggy splits. They're a little bit easier than middle splits. It's a good beginning skill, where you're pushing. Your knees are out to the side, your hips are pushing you down right here. Very good. And lastly, we're going to show you a bridge. This is another good one before you start any gymnastics activities. You're going to push up. You want to make sure that your arms are really straight. Your shoulders are over your hands. You bring your feet together, push your knees straight. Pushing that way, you can rock back and forth a couple of times to really stretch it. Come on down. And rock your back out. Very good. The next thing we're going to show you are some conditioning exercises to strengthen your muscles. It takes a lot of strength to do any gymnastics activities, and, the first thing we're going to show you are push ups. So, we do push ups with our shoulders over our hands, our bottom tucked in, and, go ahead. Head to the ground. Very good. And again. Very good. The next one we're going to show you are V-ups. So Katy's going to lay down. Before you do V-ups you could do lemon squeezers or tuck ups. They're a little bit easier. So what she's going to do is, she's going to pull her knees into her chest, pull her chest up and hold. And back out. And hold, and back in. And hold. This is a good exercise to strengthen your core. Then she's going to show you a V-up, when you get a little more advanced. Keep your legs straight, reach up to your ankles. Very good. And relax. Another important body position in gymnastics is a hollow body, where you hold here. It's very important that there's no space between your back and the floor, right here. You want to push that into the floor. Very good. And roll over on your stomach. This is an arched body, exactly opposite. You want to make sure you strengthen these muscles if you're strengthening your tummy muscles, you want to be even on both sides. Very good. And come on up. Those are some important strength exercises. We're just going to show you some basic gymnastics moves. She's going to stand up. Arms up. She's going to do a forward roll. It's very important you don't touch your head to the ground, you start tall, you finish tall. You stay in these positions. The tuck position, so arms up. And hands down. Roll, and finish. You saw her move through the pike position that we did earlier. The next one is a cartwheel. You do a nice lunge. Her hands are going to be facing the camera. Ready, go. And finish. And, if she does her other leg, her hands are going to be facing me. Her other leg, yeah. There you go. And finish. And that's how you do a cartwheel. In gymnastics, it's most important to keep your arms straight when you do almost all these activities. The last one we're going to show you is a handstand. A nice lunge, and, into a handstand, holding up nice, tight and straight. Everything's strong. And finish. And a nice lunge. When you're teaching yourself gymnastics, you want to make sure that you do everything step by step, you do it in progressions, and you don't do anything that's too hard for you too soon. So, that is how to teach yourself gymnastics.

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