If a gymnast works on skills in gymnastics class once or twice a week, they may not see the progress at a speed that satisfies them. Gymnasts can boost their rate of improvement by practicing gymnastics at home. By practicing at home, gymnasts can go to the next level without paying for more gym time or making more trips to get there and back.
Why should you practice gymnastics at home?
When it comes to mastering a skill, repetition is the key to quick progress.
Practicing more is the fastest way to improve in gymnastics. Having the ability to repeat skills at home increases muscle memory and engrains skills into your subconscious so that you can do them well automatically.
Being safe while practicing at home is huge so the gymnast should only do exercises or work on certain skills with which they feel comfortable.
For gymnasts who like to work from plans, here are some specific home workout plans that can be used as is or as the basis of new plans.
How to practice gymnastics at home
Weather you’re a beginner or seasoned gymnast, it’s important to have the appropriate apparatuses needed for practicing gymnastics at home.
Balance is important to gymnasts in more ways than one. Practicing only a favorite apparatus won’t help gymnasts improve into a well-rounded team member or individual competitor.
No, practicing gymnastics at home is not a dream! It’s possible – and very beneficial – with a few pieces of home-use gymnastics equipment, including:
- Balance Beams
- Mini Bars
- Air Tracks
- Gymnastics Accessories
With this equipment, gymnasts can maximize what they’re learning in gymnastics classes. It is the foundation for other skills and apparatuses in gymnastics. Mastery in these areas helps to ensure the development of well-rounded gymnasts.
Shore up balance beam skills.
Beginners should do plenty of walks and jumps while advanced gymnasts can practice their across skills. Advanced gymnasts shouldn’t skip the walks and jumps. Doing these exercises (with no wobbles!) is a great warm-up for their more advanced skills.
- Walk forwards and backwards
- Walk sideways
- Dip walks (walk and dip one foot pointed to the side of the beam)
- Walk in relevé (on tippy-toes)- forwards, backwards and sideways
- Jump down the beam (small jumps and then larger jumps)
- Kick walks
- Kick walks in relevé (on tippy-toes)
With a mat, a true beginner can get comfortable with exercises by doing them in a straight line down the mat prior to moving to the beam.
Make Floor routines perfect.
Clear out plenty of space for gymnasts to practice floor skills. A finished basement or playroom with a high ceiling works to ensure that the gymnasts don’t bang their feet or heads.
It can’t be stressed enough that safety is the most important thing to consider when gymnasts practice their skills using home gymnastics equipment.
Just as with balance beam skills practice, beginners should perfect their basic walks and jumps before moving on to across skills. Advanced gymnasts should be perfecting acro skills but also making sure that their walking and jumping basics are crisp and as clean as possible.
- Walks- forward, backward and sideways
- Walks in relevé (in a tight body position, concentrating on keeping your legs really straight)
- Kick walks
- Log rolls (for younger kids)
- Split leaps (more advanced: switch leaps)
- Crabwalk- forwards and sideways
- Forward rolls
- Backward rolls
- Handstand forward roll
- Back extension roll
- One armed cartwheel
- Bridge kickover or more advanced back walkover
- Handstand fall to bridge and stand up or more advanced handstand forward roll
Front and back handsprings are left off this list because they just aren’t safe to practice at home.
The handstand is one skill each athlete should be able to hold and do perfectly so practicing it never hurts.
Master key skill in pull-up bar.
The pull-up bar is essential in building the upper body strength that is crucial to all gymnasts. Having a pull-up bar at home ensures that this skill can be practiced with almost ridiculous repetition so that the gymnasts’ strength continues to improve. When the pull-up bar is included in home gymnastics equipment, the gymnast can literally stop and do a few pull-ups every time they walk by!
Rotate these 3 options on the pull-up bar:
- Hang on bar and do leg lifts
- Hang on bar and do tuck ups (in a tuck position bring your thighs to your chest)
- Pull-ups- and if you can’t do them yet, do small arm bends and work up to it
Gain many benefits from the mini bar.
Anchor the mini bar securely and then put gymnasts to work on it. Consider the height of those using it so that the mini bar is useful and safe. More advanced mini bar skills probably should be practiced at a gym where bar installation is most likely to be more secure than the home version. Here are some basic skills to practice:
- Elbow dips (bend arms while in front support)
- Leg cuts (bring leg over the bar and back)
- Hanging leg lifts
10 critical gymnastics activities to practice at home
There are 10 practice activities that will help gymnasts tune-up and sharpen skills at home. Here they are:
Spider-man Against the Wall
Spider-man against the wall works on a gymnasts handstands. One of the most important positions in gymnastics, the handstand is done on the floor, on beam and on bars; in cartwheels, round-offs, back-handsprings and front-handsprings. Spider-man against the wall is basically a handstand against the wall and provides a way to practice correct form for the handstand. See the proper way to do Spider-man against the wall.
Practicing sprints are a great way to improve vault skills and sprints can be practiced by running fast anywhere. Great vaults are quick and powerful, so the faster the spring before it, the more power the vault will have.
Working on splits is a way to improve flexibility at home. The split shape shows up frequently in gymnastics; the split shape is seen in leaps and jumps. The better the splits on the ground, the better they will be in the air.
Pull-ups are another great exercise for improving gymnastics skills at home. A pull-up bar is installed in a doorway.
Practicing scales at home will help improve balance, flexibility and strength – all which are crucial for gymnastics. What is a scale? Stand on one leg and lift the other leg directly to the front for a front scale or directly behind for a back scale. Stand for as long as possible without loss of balance.
Improve jumps by practicing straight jumps at home. Keep the body as tight as possible and jumping as high as possible while maintaining body position. Practice these jumps: Straight, Tuck, Straddle, Pike, Split, Wolf, Half Turn, Full Turn.
Gymnasts are required to do leaps on the beam and in floor routines. Practice makes perfect and practicing leaps at home makes great leaps possible. Concentrate on keeping straight legs and coming high off the ground while keeping the angles made with the legs even on both sides.
Turns are requirements in both floor and beam routines – just like leaps. Practice turns at home on the carpet or on the kitchen floor wearing socks.
Any conditioning exercises that make muscles stronger will help improve gymnastics skills. Gymnastics is one of the few sports that uses most of the muscles in the body. Push-ups, Sit-ups, calf-raises are all great exercises to increase muscle strength.
It’s best to practice a gymnastics routine at home without the tumbling skills. There just isn’t enough room to do a routine this way. Practicing a routine with just the dance elements is called a “dance-through.” More practice of a routine means that the chance that any details of it will be forgotten during practice or at a meet are greatly reduced. This is another case where repetition is beneficial. Practice, practice and practice again.
What must be mastered.
There are more skills, activities, techniques, and exercises that should be practiced than can be named – and many can be practiced at home. There are some basic ones that should be mastered. These activities are done on key apparatuses so that critical skills of a well-rounded gymnast are mastered. Learn about them in the 9 Basic Gymnastics Skills that Every Gymnast Should Master.
Tracking skills is important.
Even if gymnastics activities are being practiced at home, it’s important to keep up with every skill mastered. Report the skills mastered to instructors so progress as a gymnast can be tracked in the skill tracking feature of the gym’s class management cloud software.
Remember, everything done at home – whether on a home-use apparatus or a strength exercise – builds a basic element that makes an athlete a great gymnast!