Conditioning your body for gymnastics

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Image credit: Andrew Tan/SportSG

Gymnastic conditioning exercises are designed to help you strengthen your core, leg and arm muscles in an effort to improve your flexibility and control during a gymnastics routine.

Abs Having core strength is crucial for performing on various gymnastics apparatuses. It’s especially critical on uneven bars, high bar, parallel bars, and pommel horse – where thel egs need to be held up for much of the exercise.

Here are two exercises that you can easily practice:

Hollow body hold

The hollow body hold helps with strengthening your core, which you’ll need especiallyfor the bar events and floor tumbling.

1. Sit on the floor in a ball, knees tucked to your chest. 

2. Lift your arms so that they cover your ears. 

3. At the same time, extend your legs until your feet are 0.1 to 0.2 metres off the ground. 

4. Lean back slowly, pressing the small of your back into the floor. 

5. Hold in this position for 20 seconds.


1. Lie flat on the floor with your arms and legs extended. 

2. Simultaneously lift your arms and legs, touching your toes over the midsection of your body to form a “V” shape. 

3. Extend your arms and legs back to the floor, and repeat.

Lower back As you work on your core muscles, you will want to strengthen your lower back to ensure that both sides of your body are equally strong.


1. Lie on your stomach with your arms above your head, and your legs straight. 

2. Lift your arms and legs so that your stomach is the only part of your body on the floor. 

3. Lower your arms and legs to the ground before repeating.


In gymnastics, most events require a lot of arm strength.


1. Assume a face-down position on the floor, with your feet together and your weight on your chest. 

2. Raise yourself using your arms, with your weight supported by your hands and the balls of your feet. Repeat.


Building strength in the legs can lead to explosive tumbling and vaulting. It also helps in the balance and execution of other gymnastics skills.

Calf raises 

1. Stand on a mat with your heels hanging off the edge. 

2. Quickly rise onto your toes as high as you can, extending all the way through the feet. 

3. Make sure your feet stay pressed together, and remain straight. 

4. Slowly lower back down until your heels are off the edge again, then repeat.

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