Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Gymnastics 101 - By Coach Jill

Advanced Body Shapes - Hollow, Arch and Straight
In Kindergym and classes 1 - 4, we spend a good amount of time teaching students the correct terms and technique for different body shapes - tuck, pike, straddle, etc. A child's ability to change shapes in a technically correct manner often determines how quickly he or she can learn new skills. The shapes that are most important in high-level gymnastics are hollow, arch, and straight. Experienced gymnasts can hold these shapes laying down, standing up, hanging, and in a handstand!
Hollow: Shoulders rounded, abs contracted in, and pelvis tucked under; the back should look rounded and the body forms a "scoop." It takes a lot of ab strength to hold a hollow on the ground!
Arch: The opposite of a hollow, also called a “superman/supergirl” or “banana”; requires lower back and shoulder strength.
Straight: With arms overhead, standing in a straight line from fingertips to toes, with no curve in the shoulders or back. I tell kids to make the seam on the side of their leotard as straight as possible.
Advanced skills like back handsprings and giant swings on bars require gymnasts to quickly change between these three shapes!