planche push-ups

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do back bridges harm young gymnasts?

… One of the concerns of many gymnastics professionals is the training of the spine in hyperextension—the ubiquitous ‘arch’ seen in many gymnastics positions and movements. …

Does practising a back-bend and other hyperextension exercises harm young gymnasts?

Current information on spine stretching among gymnasts indicates that, within reason, spine stretching does not appear to be an unusual threat to gymnasts’ health.

William A. Sands • Jeni R. McNeal • Gabriella Penitente • Steven Ross Murray • Lawrence Nassar • Mone`m Jemni • Satoshi Mizuguchi • Michael H. Stone

The new article is available free as a PDF from Sports MedStretching the Spines of Gymnasts: A Review

Good news. However, athletes must be physically ready for bridge work. Well coached.

From the study:

… Performing a back-bend requires specialized fitness. Teaching a back-bend requires sound coaching judgment and serious attention to detail. Only those athletes who are ready for this skill should attempt it. Great care should be exercised to ensure that coaches monitor technique and fatigue in all skills. Coach education should be a high priority for all those engaged in teaching the back-bend. …

Personally I prefer doing as many bridges as possible with the feet elevated.

in China

Age 2012 Olympics: 24.44 men, 19.78 women

Over the course of time, the age limit for participation at a world championship has been moved up. Today, the limit sits at 18 for Men and 16 for the Women Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics, 17 for Trampoline (18 for the Olympic Games), 18 for Aerobic, and 15 for Acrobatic Gymnastics (the minimum age for flier). …

The average varies depending on the discipline. In Artistic 2012 at the Olympic Games in London, it was 24.44 for men and 19.78 for women. In Rhythmic: 19.58. Trampoline: 25.06 for men and 22.48 for women. In Aerobic: 23.03 for men and 22.60 for women. And for Acrobatic: 20.87 for men and 18.97 for women. …



Thanks Cordelia.

planche pendulum swings

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2014 Belgium Gymnastics documentary

Florence Lestienne put together a report for Journalism at the University of Brussels. Passion and sacrifice. MAG & WAG. Includes Maxime and Gilles Gentges, Maellyse Brassart and Chloé Leblicq.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube. (24min English subtitles)

Florence edits the Belgian Gymnastics blog2015 Worlds: Top 20 for Lisa and Rune, first final for Florian

Our Belgian gymnasts made history once again at the 2015 Glasgow World Championships. Three gymnasts, two girls and a boy, reached the all-around final. …

Rings: Liu Yang & You Hao

My favourite routines at Glasgow Worlds. These “butterfly” pull-ups are impossible. :-)

Click PLAY or watch Liu Yang’s routine on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch You Hao’s routine on YouTube.

related – Chinese gymnastics sees positive signs as Olympics loom

Thanks Ono.

wide arm, finger-tip Maltese


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