For floor gymnastics, you don't need any equipment, just padding. It's gymnastics in its most basic form. Floor gymnastics allows beginning gymnasts to learn simple tumbling skills. Much like learning to walk before you run, floor exercises for beginning gymnastics prepare you for intermediate and advanced exercises. You will learn the movements intuitively as well as build the appropriate muscles.
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As with any physical activity, it is important to stretch beforehand. Specific stretches will limber you up and prepare you for beginning gymnastics exercises on the floor. Arm-up rotator stretches, standing high-leg bent knee hamstring stretches and squatting leg-out adductor stretches are the top three stretches recommended by The Stretching Institute. It is important to stretch the upper torso, core, hip, leg and arm muscles thoroughly, as these are all used in floor exercises.
Beginner gymnasts can do a wide variety of rolls on the floor. The forward roll is the most basic of these, with the backward roll being its slightly more difficult opposite. The forward roll can be modified by incorporating a straddle. The forward pike roll involves bringing the legs up straight in the middle of the roll. All of these form the basics of balance and coordination in gymnastic floor exercises.
Rhythmic gymnastics is similar to dance. It involves leaping, twirling and other movements that follow a choreographed plan set by a gymnastics instructor or choreographer. Rhythmic gymnastics can be done with apparatus, such as clubs, balls, ribbons and hoops. You can perform rhythmic gymnastic exercises on a carpeted floor. The exercises help you build endurance and get used to integrating several gymnastics moves together. They also acquaint you with the rhythmic gymnastics apparatus.
Being able to do handstands is essential for beginner gymnasts. Other movements may suffer if you do not master this skill. You should make your handstand as tall as possible. Hand walking is one way to build the necessary conditioning for the handstand. The forward handstand roll is a way to practice incorporating the handstand into other gymnastics exercises. The neck kip to stand, which requires you to push off your arms and neck into a stand, is another basic exercise that works the same muscles.