Elite level gymnast Jack Riek knows the ins and outs of the gymnastics world and the challenges that come with committing oneself to this intense lifestyle. Being part of a sporting world that is demanding on both the body and mind, Jack has offered some advice on avoiding physical injury when competing or training.
Earlier this year, we followed Jacks journey as he competed at the Australian Gymnastics Championships –his first big competition after a major injury last year –and were shown how vital adequate training preparation is to performance. Take a look at Jack’s Nationals Vlog here.
Now, it’s time to grasp a deeper understanding of this and look at Jack’s foremost advice on warming up for training and competition to ensure the body is performance ready and able to endure the physical pressure that gymnastics can place on it.
Before training in any skill area, Jack advises spending time checking that all muscles and joints are moving freely and feeling prepared for skills and routines, “not only to avoid injury but also to make sure you get the most out of every session.” To benefit the most from a warm-up, try incorporating a combination of cardiovascular exercises, strength skills and stretching. Your warm up is intended to increase blood circulation, body temperature and heart rate and prepare the muscles and joints for movement. Jack goes on to suggest including a foam roller in a warm up routine to further encourage blood flow -in the legs and back especially.
For a cardio warm-up element, Jack proposes light jogging and arm swinging to achieve this higher blood flow and depends on light strength exercises like push-ups, crunches and lunges “to wake up major muscle groups before you start exerting the body with more complex gymnastics moves.” This is a key point to remember, you don’t want to shock your body with a movement it wasn’t prepared for during training or competition, so be sure to predominantly focus your warm up on muscle groups you know will need to be active during your performance, however still spend time warming up your whole body just in case.
Featured Image credit to: Gym Australia