A prospective gymnast starts training, as young as 5 years old and peaks at 16 to 18 years old. It takes at least 6-10 year, to learn the skills set for an Olympic level performance. The 38-40 hours in the gym is not all flips and tumbling: it is in fact, around 60% strength training and 40% skill training. The most efficient way to progress through the skills training, is to drill the fundamental shapes and skills through various combinations, using varying resistance.
The fundamental shapes for gymnastics are the
1) Straight shape
2) Dish (Hollow shape)
3) Tuck shape- (knees up to your chest)
4) Pike shape-(V shape)
5) L shape(legs at 90’ to body)
The fundamental skill set
2) Cast-A basic skill performed on uneven bars that allows an athlete to move from a front hang up into a handstand position
5) Front Handspring
6) Back handspring
7) Round off
8) Pivot turn- when an athlete rotates their body to change direction on single point
9) Tap swing-similar to a long swing on bar but tap toes forward into dish shape to increase momentum
I believe the key to achieving physical success, is to master the basic movements. Similarly, we use all these shapes and some of the skill set in our CrossFit movements. Many of you may not realize how often we use these fundamental shapes, in our every day programming. For example, a rope climb is hollow and tuck shape, Toes to Bar is hollow, tuck, L and Pike shapes but the ultimate is the Dish shape (Hollow shape) which is used in all the kipping variations, handstands, muscles ups, double unders and even in a modified version for the Olympic lifting.
I firmly believe gaining a good foundation, by using these fundamental shapes in a strength and conditioning context, will help provide athletes with successful skill transfer, and achieving and maintaining a greater skill set.