Monday, 16 March 2015

Gymnastics Training for JISC Register

Wow I have been away for quite some time, I guess big changes in your life have a tendency to throw you off every once in a while. Im a lucky guy though getting to follow my dreams and life cant get much better. I noticed I have yet to cover one of my favourite sports for the stunt register so I'm going to do that below. Its going to be a relatively short introduction ill be covering gymnastics in more detail in May.

One of the disciplines that you can choose for the JISC register is Gymnastics. The requirements for this exam differ slightly dependent on gender and this is because there are different pieces of apparatus if you are a man or a woman.

I have been training for a long time and have really struggled to make good progress with only 1 session a week. I've had several injuries that have added a total of about 2.5 years to this time, which has only compounded the issue. Despite how difficult gymnastics has been for me it is without doubt one of my favourite disciplines.

Im not one of the guys lying down honest
Im only going to cover the mens side of the requirements here as I have no experience with the beam other than its really really hard work the couple of times I've had a play. I'm always astounded how the women who do it make it look graceful and do things on something a few inches wide that I can'd do even on the floor.

In total there are 8 pieces of apparatus we as male stunt performers are required to complete. They are Floor, Rings, Parallel Bars, High Bar, Low Bar, Pommel & Mushroom pommel trainer, Mini Tramp and a 4m Rope climb.

For me I have always found Floor and Rings the hardest. Historically my upper body has never been my strongest set of muscles and shoulder mobility for the more complicated moves on rings (inlocate and dislocate) have made this piece my biggest bug bare, couple that with a strangely irrational hatred of flipping backwards with my head hurtling to the floor and you can maybe see why I'm not overly keen on that piece either. Give me a somersault on the floor from standing and I'm golden.

What do I do?

My usual session consists of a warm up of about 15 minutes, running, stretching, wrist exercises and then 15 - 20 minutes on each piece. This means I can't fit every single piece of apparatus in to a 1.5 hour session.
I generally start with double leg circles (you spin feet together on the spot over the top of the apparatus completely straight) on the Mushroom Pommel trainer and make sure I do at least 5 in a row as a warm up. You can see this wonderful bit of kit below.

 I then move to the High Bar to work on my giants (full swings over the top of the bar), thankfully I have my back giants and now its time to work on forward giants. At some point ill get the stones to do either one or the other without gloves and loops (these keep you attached to the bar but still let you rotate, call it a safety feature). I find the hardest aspect is to keep a tight dished shaped especially at the top of the move rather than having the feet running behind the shoulders which causes difficulty with coming over the top.

I try to switch it up and start work on Parallel bars as they hammer my shoulders and upper arms when trying to get to handstand, so doing it when a bit fresher means I get a little more out of my time on it.

After this it's generally Pommel or Rings, though the rings at my gym are out of action so I have not really worked them at all recently, which is driving me up the wall a little. I don't have a lot to do on Pommel just some half sheers off the left and right leg (you alternate which leg goes the in front of you over the other side of the pommel), but its such an uncomfortable bit of apparatus its taking me a fair while to get the strength and technique correct.

I have recently realised I haven't been working Floor as much as I should be. This is primarily because its my weakest element and humans generally speaking and myself especially tend to practice what they are already good at and don't always focus on what they are bad at. Something I have started to correct over the last couple of weeks. My handstands have really taken shape lately as have my round offs (like a cartwheel only it has more spring and you face the opposite direction feet coming to the floor at the same time). My main issue right now is the flick or back handspring, its is my greatest foe in gymnastics and when I get back from Lanzarote I'm going to be hammering this technique like no bodies business.

My goal for this year is to focus more on what I'm bad at, in this case I will do floor every session without fail and start having a specific plan each week whilst upping the amount of time I train to two or three times a week. Its going to be a tall order and if anyone has any tips or advice or if this has helped at all let me know in the comments below. Im going to be away like I said in Lanzarote for a month or so but hopefully you'll get a post with some lovely pictures of sea life from my SCUBA diving as a slight change to your normal programming.

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