Flexibility and Conditioning
Part of being able to partake in any kind of elite exercise and have the hardcore results that make a difference is conditioning your body. You’ll gain a lot of power as well as become more flexible.
Conditioning helps prepare your body and helps keep you from getting injured due to poor body strength. If you’re in a high stress career or life, then this can help alleviate the aches you experience associated with stress.
Calisthenics is part of conditioning. It’s many different exercises that actually use some rather simple movements. You don’t have to have any fancy gym equipment or any pricey pieces at home to do any of these.
In fact, many people push their fitness to the next level by taking part in regular calisthenics. The reason that you want to do calisthenics as part of your workout is because they’re specifically targeted to build all over body strength rather than one core set of muscles.
They also make you more flexible by working with your body. When you first look at the exercises involved in calisthenics, you might think that they’re ordinary and you might even have done many of them.
But if you approach them with the mindset that you want a maximum training workout, they’re anything but ordinary. It’s not the exercise that builds the strength - it’s the way that the exercise is performed.
You’ll begin with sit-ups. Lie on the floor with your arms up, hands linked behind your head. Keep the soles of your feet firmly on the ground with your knees up. Then move your shoulders up like you’re aiming for your knees. Keep the abdominal muscles tight. Do 25 of these per set.
Switch to push-ups next. Keep your hands spread to a shoulder width. Make sure that your back is straight and don’t allow your knees to touch the floor. Do these until you’ve completed at least twenty of them.
Lunges are also part of calisthenics. Stand and move so that one leg is before the other. You’ll want to descend until you’ve reached a 90-degree angle with the leg that’s positioned in front. It’s okay if the other leg bends slightly for support. Straighten and repeat for 15 reps per each leg.
After lunges, you’ll want to add squats. Stand straight, again with your feet at shoulder width. Start to descend like you’re about to sit down. Then rise back up again. You should aim for at least 20 reps of squats every time that you do a set.
You can also do crunches. But whether you do regular or bicycle crunches, you should do 25 reps each time you perform them.
Jumping jacks can build conditioning as well as flexibility. You’ll want to do at least ten of these for seven to ten reps.
Planking is part of calisthenics that requires good strength in the arm muscles and it works to tighten abdominal muscles. With this exercise, you go into position like you’re about to do a push-up except you don’t. You hold the start to the push-up and remain in that position for a set amount of time.
Though it does require the use of a bar, pull-ups are considered part of calisthenics. Using this exercise, you place your hands at shoulder width distance on the bar.
You then raise yourself up to the bar, touching your chin and then ease your body back down. You repeat the pull-up reps until you can’t pull yourself up again. Reach deep down before you make a firm decision on this.
Heel raises are a simple exercise that you can do anywhere. You raise your body up, balancing your weight on the balls of your feet. Hold for a second and then return to standing with the soles of your feet on the ground.
Gymnastics is for use by anyone - but especially those who want to be able to move easier when they exercise and want more core strength. However, gymnastics is a very demanding sport.
So the movements used can be more physically trying than most people are accustomed to. You’ll get benefits from cardiovascular workouts, strength training, movement training and flexibility when you use a gymnastic focus with your exercises.
The reason that you want flexibility is because you want to be able to move freely without pain or stiffness. People who regularly engage in exercising with a gymnastic focus have more flexibility when they move about.
You can do these exercise movements at home or at the gym, either way will help to give you that extra push you need. The exercises help you develop better muscle tone, which in turn helps you in all other forms of exercise.
Part of the movements in gymnastics call for them to be used in conjunction with cardio as well as strength training because it’s an all over workout. You can do these moves at home using only your body.
These are referred to as body weight exercises. For each of them, you push yourself to do as many repetitions as you’re able to do in sixty seconds or less. Because there are so many different gymnastics exercises and movements you can do, you can’t do them all in a single workout.
So you want to focus on the ones that build core muscles, major muscle groups and mobility. You may do a range of exercises - including pushups, vertical jumps, lateral hops and even dashes.
You can see where you are before you start by testing yourself. See how many plank holds that you can do in 60 seconds or less. See how many sit-ups you can do in the same amount of time.
This will help you gauge where your level is and when you’ve added gymnastics to your workout, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve improved your fitness after a while.
One great exercise with gymnastics is the jump rope exercises. You do these in sets of five and you continue through without breaking the set until you’ve exercised at least half an hour.
If you do handstands, you also do those in counts of five. Step forward with arms raised above the head, palms out so they’ll connect with the floor. Step out straight with one leg.
It will look almost like you’re about to go into a lunge. Use your body’s forward motion to carry your torso up. Your legs will look like they’re in the scissors position.
Keep one leg straight up in the air and bring the other slowly straight. Holding this position takes a lot of skill and strength. You can do the bridge exercise, too. You’ll do 3 sets of these for at least 15 reps.
Lie on your back with your shoulders on the floor. Your arms should be open and on the floor as well. Your palms should be raised toward the ceiling with the backs of your hands on the floor.
Your buttocks and lower back should not be touching the floor. In this position, raise a leg and lift it straight out with the sole of the foot pointed flat at the ceiling. Don't turn your body. Lower the leg and switch to the other one.
For planks, you’ll do both lateral and prone. These exercises take a lot of physical and mental energy. If you go into them thinking about how tough they are, they will be harder.
Part of being able to handle tough things starts in the mind. So don’t psych yourself out of what can ultimately be the best shape of your life before you even get started.
With the lateral plan, you’ll lie on one side and swing the leg on top back and forth while keeping the body completely straight. Then turn over and do the other leg. For both sides, you’ll do at least 2 sets of 20 reps each.
For the prone plank, you’ll have your elbows and forearms on the ground. Your toes will be on the ground helping to support your body weight as well. Lift one arm up with your elbow in the extended position as if you were about to do a pull-up. Keep the hold briefly and then reassume the position. Switch sides. Do 3 sets for 15 reps for each side.
Ab holding exercises in gymnastics are meant to increase the strength of your abdominal muscles. For these, you’ll lie on the floor, keeping your shoulders and legs off the floor. Your heels should be together.
Slowly lower the legs to the floor but don’t rest them on the floor. Simply allow the backs of your heels to brush the floor. Do 2 sets of these with 20 reps each. If you have a hernia of the abdomen or a pulled groin muscle, you should not do ab hold exercises until they are treated or healed due to the pressure this exercise can place on the muscles.
These are mainly floor exercises. You can do other gymnastics training such as the vault, bars, beams pommel horse, trampoline, rings and more. You can find adult gymnastics exercises locally – or create your own setup at home.
Yoga is a fantastic way to build flexibility and get your body conditioned. But certain types of yoga are better at giving you that elite level of performance than other types are.
One of the best kinds of yoga you can go is Ashtanga yoga. Ashtanga yoga uses breathing techniques along with movements. Each of these movements is meant to flow from one directly into the next movement.
There are many poses in this style of yoga, but most people focus on the fundamental ones. For example, there’s the sun salutation and this has two parts to it.
In the beginning, the user stands straight with his hands by his side. The head is slightly bowed. Then he lifts up his arms straight toward the sky with the palms facing inward.
From there, the user bends completely at the waist toward the ground with his hands at his ankles. With the hands still at the ankles, the user lifts his head and then flows into a plank position.
After the plank position, the user arches the back inward with the head thrown back, face toward the sky. Then he moves to rise with both feet flat on the ground and palms on the ground while the legs are angled as if the person is about to dive into a pool.
From this point, a reversal of the positions begins, sort of like a rewind back to the beginning. The user repeats the position where he’s bent with hands at the ankle, head slightly raised. He continues the moves until once again, he’s standing straight with his head slightly bowed.
When you transition between movements, you’ll focus on your breathing, which is methodical and delivers a specific sound. This is sort of like listening to the waves of an ocean and provides a peaceful, calming focal point.
You can also use a variety of mantras to start and end your Ashtanga yoga regimen. Some people also like to practice this form of power yoga in a hot room where the temperature is over 100 degrees.
Just because you may associate yoga with peaceful stretching movements, don’t underestimate your risk of injury. You have to carefully watch how you adjust your body or you could end up with pain and discomfort.