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Fun and Effective Home Drills for Gymnasts (Levels 1-4)

Have you just started gymnastics and have been trying to perfect your balance and coordination but are unsure of what drills you can be doing outside of practice? 

We have some drills that will transform your living room into a mini gymnastics studio.

For young gymnasts, mastering foundational skills is key to building a strong athletic foundation. From developing flexibility to building strength, and perfecting balance and coordination, these drills are designed to not only enhance your gymnastics skills but also foster a love for movement and fitness. 

Whether your goal is to nail that perfect handstand or improve your cartwheel technique, these activities are sure to keep you engaged and progressing in your gymnastics journey.

Warm-Up Routine

Before diving into the drills, start with a warm up to prepare your body. Movements such as star jumps, high knees, arm circles, and leg kicks are great to increase your body temperature. 

Gymnastics Method on YouTube has a short yet informative tutorial on warm up movements that gets blood flow to your muscles, improves flexibility, and ultimately allows you to reach your best possible performance. You can follow his step by step guide here.

1. Handstand Practice Drill

Handstands are fundamental for gymnasts at all levels and practicing them at home will greatly improve your balance and strength. 

You don’t need any equipment, just a wall (and a mat on the ground for safety is strongly advised). 

What to do:

Kick your body into a handstand against a wall and hold this position. Start by holding this position for 10 seconds and gradually increase the time when you feel confident to do so. Focus on keeping your toes pointed and body straight. 

When you feel you have mastered your technique, try doing handstand shoulder taps. Once you're against the wall, lift one hand to tap your shoulder, then switch hands. This drill enhances your balance and shoulder strength! 

You can say goodbye to dirty walls with Gymnastics Direct’s handstand mat and wall stall bar combo!

2. Cartwheel Perfection Drill

Cartwheels are a staple in gymnastics, and perfecting them is crucial for advancing to higher levels.

What to do:

Use a strip of tape on the floor or this floor beam. Perform a cartwheel whilst ensuring your hands and feet stay on the line or beam. This drill will help you improve your accuracy and form. 

3. Splits Practice Drill

Flexibility is important in gymnastics when it comes to executing various moves with grace.

What to do:

Adjust your body into a split position and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat for both legs. 

You can use a stretch band for an added challenge. Use the band to gently pull your legs further apart, enhancing your flexibility over time.

To further your flexibility training, you can use a flexibility trainer strap or yoga block for extensions on your splits/over splits. 

4. Strength Building Drills

Strength is essential for executing powerful moves and preventing injuries. 

Drill One: Core Strength

Place your body on a padded surface, like a gymnastics folding mat, and lie on your back with your arms extended above your head. Keeping your legs straight, lift your arms, shoulders and legs off the ground, keeping your lower back pressed to the floor. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. 

This drill helps strengthen your core muscles, which are crucial for stability in gymnastics. 

Drill Two: Push ups with a Twist

Perform a regular push up, but as you push back up, rotate your body into a side plank, extending one arm towards the ceiling. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. 

This drill builds upper body strength and improves coordination.

5. Balance Beam Drills

Balance is a critical component in gymnastics, and practicing beam skills at home can boost your confidence.

Drill One: Balance

Using a floor beam, walk forward, backwards, and sideways on the beam, focusing on maintaining your balance and keeping your posture straight.  To increase difficulty, try doing kicks or turns as you walk.

Once you feel confident, move to a beam with adjustable feet and practice these drills elevated off the ground. 

Drill Two: Beam Jumps

Practice small jumps and leaps on the beam, concentrating on landing softly and maintaining your balance. Start with straight jumps and progress to tuck jumps or split jumps.

Cool Down Stretch

Now that you’ve completed these few drills, finish your session with a cool down to relax your muscles and prevent injury/soreness the next day. 

Movements to cool down can include:

  • Forward Fold Stretch: 1 minute
  • Butterfly Stretch: 1 minute
  • Cat-Cow Stretch: 1 minute
  • Child’s Pose: 1 minute

Furthermore, you can follow this step by step cool down tutorial by Synergy Gymnastics. 

Being a gymnast is all about dedication, practice, and having fun while improving your skills. It’s essential to keep the training engaging and productive, even when practicing at home. 

Practicing gymnastics at home can be just as effective and enjoyable as training in a gym, especially with the right drills and equipment. Incorporate these fun drills into your routine to enhance your skills, strength, and flexibility.

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