Gymnastics Safety Guide
Gymnastics is one of the most challenging and fun sports, but it does not come without risks. Many athletes who do this sport end up with at least one injury in their lifetime. Taking safety precautions is extremely important to limit the chance of injury. In this article we will go over gymnastic safety tips and best practices to prevent potential injuries.
Is Gymnastics Safe?
Gymnastics safety is often a big concern when someone is debating on starting gymnastics. However, there are many tips and precautions you can take to make sure you are being safe while practicing the sport.
Stretching and doing warm-ups before going into practice helps prevent injuries such as pulled or strained muscles. Things you can do to prevent injury;
● Touch your toes
● Start with your feet together and knees straight. Extend your arms and try to touch your toes to stretch your hamstrings.
● Open your legs while on the floor, keep your knees straight, and gradually push your body down towards the ground.
● Start in a lunge position and put your hands on the floor on each side of your foot. For a deeper stretch you can pull your knee back and then push your hips down.
● Jumping jacks
● Jump your legs in and out while simultaneously moving your arms in a similar motion.
● Running in place
● Make a running motion in the same spot to help warm up your legs and feet.
● Lay on your back and keep your feet on the floor. Gradually sit all the way up to your knees, using your core to lift you.
These exercises and stretches will warm up your entire body and keep muscles and joints active before getting into a gymnastics training routine.
Gymnastics Safety Tips
The best way to practice gymnastics safely is by warming up, investing in good gymnastic equipment and using padded mats to create the best learning environment. Most often the best way to create this safe environment is to go to an expert.
A local gym or taking private lessons, for example, will offer professional expertise and provide every piece of equipment needed. These are not always accessible, however, so when practicing at home it is important to make sure your training is done correctly and safely while utilizing the best equipment possible.
Invest in your equipment
As you go up in level in this sport, learning how to prevent injuries in gymnastics will be key in your path to success. Strong and reliable equipment is one of the most important things you can invest in when starting out your gymnastics journey. Investing in equipment that will support your training is highly important when performing potentially dangerous skills such as front and back flips, back handsprings and tricks that are best performed with a soft landing surface. This is an area where it is not worth cutting corners. The quality of your equipment plays a very important role in the quality of your training and injury prevention.
Use padded mats, floors, and objects for safe learning
Things can go wrong quickly; an easy slip can cause extremely painful injuries. Practicing on stiff surfaces like hardwood floors, carpet or grass are a common occurrence with beginning gymnasts, but they do not provide a good training surface. Padded flooring such as an AirTrack or crash mat can assist your training and allow more repetitions to occur when practicing gymnastics skills!
Make sure you are learning from experts
The best way to stay safe when practicing gymnastics is to learn from a professional! Training with a coach and in a gym will foster the safe and controlled learning environment needed to grow in the sport. Professional coaches have trained to be skilled instructors through many years of being in the sport themselves, so they will provide first-hand knowledge and expertise to help you excel in gymnastics.
How to Prevent Injuries in Gymnastics
A few other tips to practice gymnastics safely are to eat healthy, rest when your body is in need of it, and to hydrate. Taking care of nutrition, recovery and hydration can often be overlooked but are crucial in maintaining a healthy physical state to continue your training. Ignoring exhaustion and other warning signals the body sends you is one of the most common causes for athlete injury, along with poor form and bad training practices.
Some extra tips to incorporate in your routine;
● Utilize drills
● Drills will prepare you for a long workout by warming up all your muscles.
● Use proper gear
● Wrist straps, guards and belts are common in gymnastics. Most importantly, you need a good spring floor, AirTrack or crash mat to practice your training on.
● Warm-up and stretch before training
● Stretching and warming up are often key in preventing pulled and strained muscles. It is arguably one of the most important habits for an athlete to be consistent with.
● Work on strength and conditioning (not just skills training)
● Strengthening your joints and bones can not only help you do tricks but ensure your form is well supported, which leads to injury prevention.
● Always use a spotter when learning new skills
● A spotter will help guide you through learning a new skill while giving you some extra safety.
Uplevel Your Gymnastics Safety Practices at Home
Gymnastics is a fun and very rewarding sport! It can provide a great sense of accomplishment and pride as you improve and move up in levels. You gain strength in mind, body and soul, as long as you practice safely. Taking the proper care to stretch, warm-up, work with experts, and high quality equipment such as AirTracks will work alongside you to help you reach your goals. As always, have fun while being safe!