Conditioning

As you probably have already found out, I've provided a few features focusing conditioning exercises. Now, now, no groaning. As much as we all hate conditioning, we often underestimate the importance of keeping our muscles in shape. If you've ever taken any time off from working out, long enough for you to lose some muscle tone, you probably noticed some skills are much harder to do when you got back, right? In addition, many gymnasts who are learning new skills wonder why they might be having such a difficult time. Often, it's because their muscles aren't strong enough.

 Now, as much as we all hate to hear it, the remedy for this is ... conditioning. Let's say it together, with enthusiasm: "Conditioning!"

 And what I mean here is conditioning in addition to the conditioning your coach already gives you in workout, not to replace them.

 The exercises I've provided here on abdominal, arms, and legs conditioning are only a fraction of the many activities possible to strengthen your targeted muscles.

 Choosing the exercises to do depends on the goal you want to achieve. But for our purposes, the best thing to do is to slowly and gradually build up muscle strength. Sometimes people think in order to do this effectively, you should do exercises that are difficult to do, such as bench pressing a weight you can only lift twice. However, this doesn't give your muscles the proper aerobic stimulation it needs to get stronger. Thus, you should choose activities that are between what your body considers easy and hard And for different people, that might mean different exercises.

 The reason not to choose exceedingly difficult exercises? While it probably will put your muscles into action, straining to do them might cause you to break your form, therefore not working the muscles you're targeting. And forcing the exercise can also put a lot of strain on another part of your body. So, experiment with different activities, and find those that allow you to keep good form and work the correct muscles.

 Then there's always the question of how many repetitions to do. Do a set number, enough so that you can feel the "burn," but not so many that you exhaust yourself so much that you cannot do another set of repetitions. It's best to do several sets, taking a brief rest between each to get oxygen to the muscles.

 Oxygen: another important component to successful conditioning. Be sure to keep a balanced sequence of inhaling and exhaling, and never hold your breath. This is especially true in running. (I once went a couple months of doing vault drills while holding my breath, without realizing I was doing so. And I wondered why I ended up so out of breath!) Depriving your muscle cells of oxygen causes them to use an alternate respiration pathway to give you the energy you need, and it results in little muscle development. In short, it's a waste of energy.

 Consider these guidelines when developing a conditioning routine. With patience and determination, you'll be sure to see positive results. Good luck!