Do You Struggle With Gymnastics? Practice Body Awareness.

Swim Night! 730pm- Culver City Plunge
Gymnastics Club- 8pm Venice

Thursday June 19, 2014

Prehab:

Calf Stretch on plate
Theraband Routine 

Warm Up:

Tabata Row

Agility:

3 rounds:

30 seconds of toe taps on box, immediately followed by:
100 meter sprint (Walk back to start =rest.)

Partner Conditioning:

In teams of two, you and your partner will move through five stations trying to score as many reps/points as possible in the following movements:

60 seconds of Wall Ball Shots (20/14)
60 seconds of Rest
60 seconds of Burpees
60 seconds of Rest
60 seconds of Box Jumps (24/20)
60 seconds of Rest
60 seconds of Push Press (75/53 lbs)
60 seconds of Rest
60 seconds of Ab-mat Sit-Ups
60 seconds of Rest

Notes: One partner works for the entire 60 seconds, and then rests while their partner works for 60 seconds. Each partner will cycle through until they complete each station three times.

Cool Down:

3 Rounds:
10 GHD Hip Extensions or Good Morning w/ Bar
Pike Stretch 1′


Anybody?

Do you struggle with gymnastics? What about Olympic Lifting? Ever get a cue from a coach but you just can’t figure out how to execute it? Your problem might be a lack of body awareness. Just because you regularly exercise does not mean you possess this valuable skill. Body awareness, like anything, takes practice!

There is a method used to improve functional movement patterns through body awareness called “Feldenkrais”. From Wikipedia, “Feldenkrais aims to reduce pain or limitations in movement, to improve physical function, and to promote general wellbeing by increasing students’ awareness of themselves and by expanding students’ movement repertoire.”

One tool that I adapted from the Feldenkrais method is an awareness exercise that I often use in the morning to (at least subjectively) improve my body awareness throughout the day. I want to share it with you so that you can improve your body awareness which will help prevent injuries and improve the way you move!

Start the exercise by sitting comfortably, eyes closed, and with your attention turned inwards. First, you want to start by fixing your focus on the tips of your toes. Feel the skin around them, the tissue below, the bones within. You want to slowly and deliberately bring your awareness up into the foot, the ankle, the lower leg… As you move your awareness up through your body, do not lose awareness of the parts you have already experienced. This is a cumulative exercise. As you move your attention up to your neck, your face, even your hair you should now feel an electric awareness of your entire body.

Now, while continuing to stay aware of your entire body, eyes still closed, start to allow yourself to notice the sounds around you. Your awareness and attention is being stretched. You have to be aware of internal feedback and now the external input of sound. Do not put your focus anywhere in particular but be aware of everything at once. As soon as you feel comfortable with the range of input your are experiencing, open your eyes.

As I mentioned earlier, this exercise is cumulative. You should still be fully aware of everything from toes to hair, aware of all the sounds around you, and now, with an unfocused gaze you should be aware of the visual input around you as well. Sit here and just experience the hyper-aware state you have achieved.

I do this exercise first thing in the morning after a tall mason jar of water. After I have achieved this hyper-aware state, I like to experience some movement. You can do some light stretching, yoga, go for a walk, bike, etc. Notice how it feels to move. When you go to train bring this same body awareness into every repetition from prehab to cool down. Habitual movement patterns might now feel weird, and you can take the opportunity to correct them.

Author: Matthew Walrath

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