We have used the traditional type warm up for our program for many years. The traditional warm up consists of various running drills, callisthenic exercise, typical stretching exercises and a few balance hold movements.
The warm up was aimed at mainly preparing the body for the gymnastic activities and it is not intended for any learning technique or improved body positions.
In our current program, we have some team members that cannot come to the gym on time for the 3:30 pm starting time, because they get out late from school. So they need to start the practice from 4:00 pm.
However, there are numbers of gymnasts who could come to the gym by 3:30 pm and just wait for the starting time. Therefore, we decided to offer tumble track instruction to Level 7 to 10 gymnasts who are just waiting for the practice to start.
They usually stretch quickly and start the tumble track within a short time, but they do extended stretching and flexibility later in the warm up at 4:00 pm.
We noticed that the gymnasts who work this extra tumble track for 30 min. 4 days a week (Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri) are greatly benefitting which is evident in the floor exercise in the later session.
When all the team girls are able to start the program together in the morning during the summer months, we do a totally different type of warm up. We combine the warm up with some basic tumbling and flexibility exercises along with the physical conditioning exercises.
We allocate about 60 min. for warm up and conditioning 4 days (Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri) and the other 2 days (Wed & Sat) are combined with some dance drills as well as extended flexibility exercises.
Those 2 days (Wed & Sat) that are dedicated to dance and flexibility work consist of a combination of hard stretching, ballet work, floor jumps & leaps, conditioning, as well as some plyo-metric exercises.
At certain times, we also offer the trampoline as well as air awareness development program (such as mini-tramp & tumble track) combined with the warm up.
This program is usually offered to home schooled gymnasts who are working toward advanced to elite level gymnastics.
During the trampoline work the gymnasts are to do the stretching as well as some strength and conditioning exercises while they are waiting for their turn.
Ideally, every minute they spend in the gym should be used as effectively as possible and the warm up should not be any different. All the exercises they do in the warm up should be done with some intent and done with good quality.
Mixing the warm up with some exercises hopefully will make them realize what and how they should be doing all the movements even as they do the warm up.
Hopefully the gymnastâ€™s productivity will improve as they realize that the warm up is just as important as the skill work.
Have fun coaching!