Chest out, straight arms, balance! You hear the cues , but in that moment’s rush, everything can feel like a blur. With so many reminders banging around in your head, you’re usually not thinking about how pretty it all looks. I don’t blame you! You’re paying attention to the motions, not the artistry. That's okay for now; your artistry is a skill that’s constantly evolving with your abilities as a gymnast. To keep improving, I'd like you to start thinking about this magical ingredient: posture!
The basics of grace
When it comes to making something so difficult look beautiful, the element of posture is the key to grace. Rob Williams, a kinesiologist and posture specialist, believes that good posture improves all aspects of an athlete's performance.
As he explains, "The body functions best when it’s segments are in a balanced, neutral alignment. The nerves are unobstructed, the blood flows more efficiently, and the muscles work to their full potential." So it seems posture really can help unlock your gymnast potential!
Posture can also prevent injury ! By properly aligning your spine, you put less stress on your joints and bones. But with poor posture, as Dr.Williams explains, an athlete will get tired faster, perform with less strength and risk a higher possibility of injury during activity.
It’s a lot of information to take in, I know! That’s why we need to start learning more about posture--not just for gymnastics, but also in everyday life.
Since gymnastics is such a strict art form, we have to practice physical strength in all areas of life-- beyond just gymnastics!
Everyday, you need to be constantly thinking, “posture, posture, posture”. Whether you’re eating, watching TV or even sitting around picking your nose, posture must always be your support-- literally! Then, eventually, it’ll feel automatic. Like an imprint in your mind, you’ll unconsciously make posture a part of how you walk, sit and even do chores. Now, that's being a disciplined gymnast!
Famous crossfit trainer, William Imbo is a strong supporter of posture in everyday life. As he explains in BoxLife Magazine, "When we walk or stand incorrectly, our bones and muscles are lined up incorrectly, which blocks the flow of the sciatic nerve (a nerve that connects the spinal cord with the leg and foot muscles). Such a blockage can result in pain in the back of the thigh, calves and even the feet."
See, it's all about body alignment! Get your posture in shape from the moment you wake up to the moment you sleep.
Be an artist and a gymnast
More than a gymnast, you're an artist of movement! And it's another reason why posture matters.
When you start making posture a natural part of your everyday life, you'll transform as a creative athlete--one who's also physically expressive!
Already, you need extreme discipline and polish over your connections and contortions--that’s difficult enough! To make things easier, by making posture a staple in your life, you'll change the way you naturally move. This gracefulness will transfer into how you move as a gymnast.
The power of posture
If posture is simply something you only think about at the gym, it won’t feel natural. Because realistically, having to concentrate on timing, strength and breathing, while also minding how “pretty” you look during these routines, is a lot of information for your brain to handle. It’s overwhelming!
So by training yourself to always have body awareness, you’ll develop a natural ability to move in an upright, strong manner. Ideally, this means you’ll have one less thing to worry about as a gymnast.
Keep strong and never give up, friends! #FYTLife