How to Stay Fit for Gymnastics

How to Stay Fit for Gymnastics

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The demands of gymnastics require peak fitness in a variety of muscles.

Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Flexibility, coordination and a cool head are all important assets for a gymnast. However, without the requisite strength and endurance, your Olympic dream won't be the only thing staring up from the mat. From floor exercises and still rings to the vault and uneven bars, modern gymnastics requires peak fitness levels in a variety of muscle groups. The best way to stay fit for gymnastics is to supplement your practice with intensive aerobic and strength-training workouts. For best results, talk to your coach or doctor before engaging in any exercises outside of class to make sure you are healthy enough to participate.


Walk, jog or swim for at least 30 minutes every day to keep up your cardiovascular endurance. Take the stairs and bike to work to stay active as much as possible during the day. Exercise with a pulse monitor to make sure you are elevating your heart rate long enough to reap the benefits to your cardiovascular system.


Execute abdominal workouts such as the bicycle maneuver to keep your rectus abdominus and oblique muscles strong, as recommended by the American Council on Exercise. Lie down with your back on the floor with your hands clasped behind your head. Lift your legs so your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle and start rotating your feet as though you were riding a bicycle. Touch your right and left elbows to the opposite knees, one after the other, as your legs continue to pedal. Keep this up for one to five minutes per session as needed, and repeat at least three times per week.


Lift free weights such as dumbbells to help keep your upper-body muscles strong. Create sequences that link multiple dumbbell exercises together for an intensive strength-training and aerobic workout. Perform eight to 12 reps each of the dumbbell squat, stiff leg deadlift, lying press, lying fly, overhead raise, lateral raise, bent-over row, biceps curl and lying triceps extension exercises, as recommended by Rest for one to five minutes and repeat the entire sequence as needed.


Join a regular yoga class for a solid workout for your posterior, leg and core muscles. Learn poses that can help you tone specific muscles used in gymnastics, such as the supported headstand. Kneel down on a yoga mat and rest your forearms against the floor with your fingers laced together. Place the crown of your head on the floor between your forearms and slowly lift your knees off the floor while walking your feet toward your head. Lift your thighs and straighten your spine as you fully lift your legs into the air in a perfect inversion. Rest your weight on your hands and shoulders to prevent strain on your neck, and hold the posture for 10 to 30 seconds as needed.


Tone your quadriceps and calves by performing jump squats regularly. Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and squat down until your butt nearly touches the floor. Keep your back vertical as you explode upward, jumping as high as you can into the air. Land on your feet, squat down and repeat as many times as you can for 30 to 60 seconds as needed.

Things Needed

  • Pulse monitor
  • Dumbbells
  • Yoga mat


  • Keep off the pounds by adopting a healthy diet composed of whole grains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Avoid consuming foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition, such as soft drinks and junk food. Spice up your routine by adding new workouts from time to time. If you have the extra money or time, try joining your local gym and taking advantage of exercise classes such as Zumba, Pilates or martial arts.


  • Concussions, ligament tears and broken bones are all common hazards for practicing gymnasts. Check in with your body to make sure you aren't overextending or exhausting different muscles as you train.


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