We are fortunate enough to be working with Club Champion Gymnastics, the premier gymnastics facility in all of California. Located literally next door, we provide movement and performance screening, fitness, injury prevention and health programs for their competitive gymnasts.
The question that we often get is, “Why do we do certain exercises that look nothing like gymnastics?”
The answer is simple, “It doesn’t always have to.”
We live in a day and age of early specialization, where many young athletes stick to only one sport. This lends itself to overuse of particular movements and muscle groups, placing a great deal of stress on their bodies.
What we do is objective screening, injury and health histories, and collaboration with their coaches to help decide what areas we need to target the most. For example, some gymnasts have incredible hip flexibility going front to back, but not necessarily into rotation. We take all of this information to come up with the best way to address their needs.
- Are there certain injuries that are more prevalent than others?
- What trends do we see as the competitive season progresses?
- What skills or events seem to be difficult for these particular athletes?
- How much time do they spend in the gym?
- How much sleep do they get a night and what is their typical energy level?
These are all prevalent questions that have an impact on their fitness, health and mental focus.
When it comes down to actual gymnastics skills, objective testing helps us break down specific movements and physical qualities. For instance, is the athlete having trouble with split leaps secondary to a lack of flexibility, stability, or power?
We will tell you right now that if your split leaps are markedly better on a trampoline versus the solid floor, there is a good chance you aren’t developing enough power to get off the ground. Once that this is established, we can break down exercises to target lower body power and separation.
The body is an amazing and complex system capable of very impressive skills. We watch in awe as these gymnasts flip and tumble down the floor or transition back and forth on the uneven bars. BUT… when we see an asymmetry with a single leg balance or on a rotational core stability test, you better believe we are going to address it with simple effective techniques.
We are not here to make gymnasts better with gymnastics, because that is what they and their coaches are already experts at. Our goal is to make them even better well rounded athletes, keep them healthy, and allow them the best opportunity to maximize their potential in their sport!
~ Dr. Mary Claire Malooly, Dr. Jason Han & Coach Allister Buchanan