Static positions such as the hollow body/dish are key to developing body awareness in motion. The hollow body shape is great for teaching spinal stability, which transfers into better spinal positioning when performing movements. Once a sufficient static hollow hold is established, the stabilising of the lumbar spine can be further challenged in the hollow rock. As you rock, your centre of mass shifts, leaving your base of support transitioning from the lower back and butt, to the upper back.
The rocking motion causes changes in the body tension. As you rock forward, your legs pull your body forward and down, leaving your upper body to follow; this can be referred to as a pushing motion. When you rock backwards, you are essentially using a pulling motion to pull your hips towards your ribs and up and this is when common faults develop and the spine tends to deviate out of the curved shape. As you rock backwards, the legs and hips tend to be left behind and as a result the spine moves into an arched position, loading the spine which isn’t ideal. This usually means a weakness in the abdominals. If this arched position occurs, then the hollow position can be modified by transferring into an open tuck position or by simply bending one leg.
Pointing your toes and squeezing your butt is a common expression used in gymnastics; However, it has a greater meaning than just aesthetics. Elongating your body creates more tension in the body, allowing for a greater application of force. For example, the longer and tighter your body is in a tap swing on bars, the greater the force that can be produced moving into the kip and in more difficult and complex skills. This can also be applied when skipping. If the hips, knees and ankles don’t extend sufficiently, then the force does not reach its full potential of mechanical work output through the range of motion, which results in a loss of tension from the lack of extension.
A simple and effective exercise to help with body alignment, extension and tension is to simply stand with your feet together holding a 5kg, 10kg, or 15kg plate above your head. When performing this exercise, focus on squeezing the quads and butt, tucking your butt under, connecting the shoulders to ears and pulling the ribs down; Hold this position for 30seconds and build up to a minute. You can further challenge connectivity in this position by holding a lighter weight above the head and performing straight jumps on a rebounder or a trampoline. So for all you parents out there, it’s time to push those kids off the trampoline and give this a try.
For other connectivity exercises and gymnastics skill and technique work, you can book in for a private gymnastics session with Anna.
Author Coach Anna