Stretching Guide for Gymnasium

Physiotherapy in Edmonton for Stretching for Dance and Gymnastics

Welcome to In Step Physical Therapy’s stretching guide for dance and gymnastics.

Stretching is an essential part of successful gymnastics.  A good stretching routine can help to minimize muscle imbalances, prevent injury, improve your exercise tolerance and your gymnastic performance.  Most likely stretching is part of your standard routine, under the guidance of your coach.  Specific stretches are not provided here, since gymnastic stretches vary greatly from the beginner to the experienced gymnast.  If you have an injury, or a specific mechanical imbalance that may be holding back your gymnastics performance, your In Step Physical Therapy physiotherapist can design a stretching program just for you.

When is the Best Time to Stretch?

When your muscles are warm and relaxed!  Complete dynamic stretches after your warm-up to improve your performance and prevent injuries, and static stretches after you train or compete to assist your recovery.

How to Warm-up:

The aim of a warm-up is to get the blood flowing to the all the parts of your body that you are going to use during gymnastics.  This prepares the body for the muscle stretching and exertion required to complete gymnastic skills.   Since gymnastics uses the whole body, you need to warm up the whole body.  This includes your lower limbs, upper limbs and trunk (back and abdominal muscles) as well as your cardiovascular system. A warm-up takes 5 to 10 minutes.

Your warm-up may include:

  • jogging
  • skipping
  • hopping
  • leaps
  • chassés
  • arm circles
  • gradually increasing the speed and intensity of your movement.

Rules for Dynamic Stretching:

Warm up the muscles first, then stretch while your muscles are still warm.
Start with slow movements and progress to faster movements including moves that will be included in your training or routine.
Your movement should always be controlled by your muscles, do not “throw” your limbs.  You should never feel pain during a stretch.

Rules for Static Stretching:   

Warm up the muscles first, then stretch while your muscles are still warm. 

Slowly take your muscles to the end of their range.  You will feel light resistance in the muscle, but you should never feel pain during a stretch.

Hold the stretch in a static position.  Do not bounce. This will help slow down the nerve impulses and return your muscles to a resting state.

Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds.  Repeat each stretch 3-4 times.

Stretching during adolescence:

Stretching during an adolescent growth spurt is particularly important for a training gymnast because the bones grow faster than the muscles putting the athlete at risk for pain and injury. Regular stretching will help maintain performance and prevent injury until the muscle length catches up, usually over a few months.  Parents and coaches should watch out for athletes who report joint pain after practice or at rest, swelling, and/or difficulty loading joints (weight bearing). This may indicate the young athlete is stretching or being stretched too aggressively, or is training at too high an intensity.  Stretching should never cause pain.

Dynamic Stretches:

Arm Circles

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Arm Swings

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Leg Swings Forward and Back
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Leg Swings Sideways
Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyleBack Rotation Stretch:

Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyleLunges

Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyleLeg Curls

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Hops

Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyleJumps

Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyleStatic Stretches:

Neck range of motion
Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestylePectoral Stretch

Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestylePosterior Shoulder Stretch

Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyleTriceps Stretch

Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyleLower back  extension stretch  

Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyleHamstring stretch

Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyleQuadriceps stretch

Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyleHip Flexor Stretch

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Groin Stretch

Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyleGluteal Stretch
Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyleCalf Stretch-Gastrocnemius

Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyleCalf Stretch-Soleus

Instep Physical Therapy Get Instep with your active lifestyle