Use This Gymnastics-Inspired Workout to Build Relative Strength, Flexibility and Body Control

To increase your relative body strength, coordination and body control, try incorporating aspects of gymnastic training into your routine.

Even if they never plan on spinning around on a pommel horse, athletes can turn to gymnasts for moves to get them in shape to dominate their sports.

Gymnasts have high levels of relative body strength, coordination and body control. These are all attributes that are desirable in any sport.

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Try incorporating these aspects of gymnastic training into your routine:

Relative Body Strength

Gymnast training programs seek to maximize strength levels relative to body weight. For gymnasts to be at their most effective, they have to stay very lean. Athletes in other sports have similar goals of maximizing their strength levels relative to the weight ranges at which they're most effective.

Gymnasts build up their strength levels primarily with bodyweight exercise progressions. This typically involves progressions altering the center of gravity to increase the level of difficulty and the intensity. As an example, think of how Bodyweight Handstand Push-Ups are much harder than regular Push-Ups despite the fact that the load for both moves is the same.

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Flexibility and Body Control

Gymnasts display great levels of flexibility and body control, as they're required to move their bodies across large ranges of motion in the air and must stay in alignment throughout their routine if they want to achieve a good score. Athletes of all sports can benefit from improved coordination and body control. Sports are chaotic in nature, and one of the defining factors of elite-level athletes is their ability to react, adapt and adjust to whatever is happening on the field.

The best way to prepare for this is to train your body across full ranges of motion so that you know how to react if your body gets caught in an awkward position. This can be done by placing an emphasis on training the core, since core strength is crucial for stability through any type of movement.

How can you incorporate gymnastic-inspired training elements into your program?

1. Bodyweight training. Bodyweight training is one of the most excellent ways to develop and measure relative body strength. Even the biggest and strongest athletes can reap benefits from bodyweight movements like Pull-Ups.

2. Use greater ranges of motions. Moving your body across a larger range of motion forces you to recruit more muscle fibers, resulting in more strength in angles you might overlook. In addition, increasing the range of motion leads to improvements in flexibility and mobility.

3. Suspension training. Using tools like gym rings and suspension straps is beneficial for training strength and stability.

4. Isometric holds. Isometrics offer an alternative and challenging way to train strength compared to the traditional concentric/eccentric movements required by most exercises.

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Perform these exercises as a finisher during your normal training days or as a standalone workout on "active recovery" days.

  • Spider Man Push-Ups x 10 reps
  • Suspension Strap-Assisted Pistol Squats x 8 reps each leg
  • 3-Point Plank x as many seconds as possible
  • Dips x 8 reps
  • Pull-Ups x 10 reps
  • L-Sit hold x as many seconds as possible
  • Narrow Squat Stance x 12 reps
  • Hanging Leg Raise x 8 reps

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