A key component of any gymnastics warm-up, stretching prepares your muscles and joints for the range of motion they go through on the various apparatuses, while increasing your flexibility. You must stretch from head to toe, moving into the positions slowly, holding the static stretches still for 30 to 60 seconds, and never stretching to the point of pain. Only your coach can instruct you on all the stretches needed for your skill level.
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Hands and Feet
You’re constantly using your hands and feet in gymnastics, whether tumbling on the floor or swinging on the bars. To loosen your hands and wrists, clasp them together and roll them around. While sitting on your knees, place your hands palms down and then palms up on the mat, leaning forward on your arms until you feel a comfortable stretch. Stretch your feet by pointing and flexing your toes while you're in the pike position. Roll your feet around, and then shake out your hands and feet.
Neck, Shoulders and Arms
Prepare your upper body for your workout by stretching your neck, shoulders and arms. Move your head from ear to ear, look side to side, up and down and then roll your head clockwise and counterclockwise. Loosen your shoulders with forward and backward rolls. For your triceps, place your left arm over your back, with your hand on the back, elbow in the air. Hold your left arm in place with your right arm. Repeat on other side. With your hands clasped together, stretch both arms together over your head.
Legs and Hips
Your legs give you power on the vault and in tumbling passes. Lunges help stretch the muscles in your calves and thighs while increasing the flexibility in your hips. Complete at least two types of lunges with both legs: lunging with your leg extended to your side, and extended in front of your body. The butterfly stretch is one of the few necessary dynamic stretches, meaning your move your legs in the stretch. Sit with the bottoms of your feet pressed together and your knees pointed out to the side. Flap your legs up and down, like a butterfly flapping its wings.
Like your legs, you want to stretch your back in both standing and sitting positions. When standing with your legs together, lean forward and touch the ground. Slowly return to a standing position. With your legs in a straddle, lean forward again, touching your hands to the center ground, and then to your right and left legs. On the ground, again lean forward in a straddle, flattening your stomach to the ground. Then, lean down to the right and left legs, grabbing your toes with your hands. The arch or bridge position stretches your back, as well as your arms and hip flexors, as you push up to a regular, rounded arch, and then walk your feet and arms in opposite directions, straightening out your position.