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Putting Fitness Activities Into Gymnastics Classes

Posted on 8/13/2018
Fitness, exercise, and fighting childhood obesity are parenting buzzwords. The media continually pounds this home. Schools are beginning to take action and parents are looking for more help. Once parents realize their children receive three of the four main fitness components namely strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility as a benefit of gymnastics, they’ll realize fitness is another key benefit for their kids continuing in gymnastics. In gymnastics we can’t offer them cardiovascular endurance, but we can offer the other three components and direct them to the local soccer club for the fourth. Here are some specific ideas on how to make fitness and athletic preparedness part of your preschool and school-age curriculum.



·         With two low beams next to each other, have two athletes play catch underhand while in an athletic stance

·         With two low beams next to each other two athletes will stand in between the beams across from each other. In a ready athletic stance, the athletes will roll the ball back and forth practicing scooping up the ball as if in a game.

·         The athlete stands on the edge of a beam, and as she dismounts, the coach will throw a ball to her as she lands with bent knees.

·         Athletes perform lunges down the beam. While on the low beam, have them pick up objects that are next to the beam - great for coordination.


·         Athletes will perform power jumps over the two low beams that are next to each other.

-   Jump over with two feet landing quickly and then exploding over the next beam

-   Jump over sideways landing quickly and exploding over the next beam

-   Hop over each beam with one foot

-   Alternate feet while hopping. This is good for both soccer and basketball

·         Have athlete hop over one beam front and back as quickly as possible for 10 jumps

·         Have athlete hop over one beam side to side as quickly as possible for 10 jumps

·         Have athlete perform fast feet on top of beam

·         Put a low beam against a wall with an incline behind it and have athlete hold a handstand for one minute to improve arm and shoulder strength

·         Perform sit-ups with toes under beam

·         Perform push-ups with toes on beam and hands on floor and then switch, put hands on beam and toes on the floor

·         Bear walk on beam while pushing a football - great for coordination

·         Place cones on both sides of the beam with the athlete running forward and backward on the beam


·         In between two low beams athletes practice kicking back and forth

·         Walk on tip toes, then heels only. This is great for developing calf muscles.

·         Shuffling kicks across the low beam




·         Passing back and forth in between two beams in an athletic stance to develop hand-eye coordination

·         On low beam have athlete dribble the ball on the floor while she walks down the beam (great for both dribbling and balancing skills)




·         Have athletes throw bean bags in buckets, barrels, or to one another

·         Have students stand in one large circle hitting a tennis ball around the circle (the object is not to let the ball get out of the circle)

·         Have the students practice juggling scarves for hand-eye coordination




·         Line up hula hoops like tires and have them run one foot inside each hoop for a footwork drill (also great for soccer and basketball)

·         Have one child in a barrel and have another child roll it—great for linemen

·         Stagger cones and have children slide and touch each cone (zig zag)

·         Have athletes run and block into donut mats


·         Have athletes pass the ball back and forth from athlete to athlete with their feet

·         Have the entire class stand in a circle and practice kicking to someone who isn’t next to them

·         Place the jump ropes inside the cones and use them as hurdles or goals—great opportunity to play a mini soccer game

·         Any kind of tag game is a great way to practice defense


Tumbl Trak


·         Standing long jumps

·         Standing vertical jumps (10 in a row)

·         Run with high knees/butt kicks

·         Single leg hops

·         Have two athletes stand across from each other—have one roll or slide an object and the other will run, pick it up, throw it back, and run back to original starting spot. (Repeat 10 times)

·         Defensive slides

       *Athletes slide down the Tumbl Trak in a defensive position

·         Coach throws a ball out in front of athlete as they slide and catch it

·         Coach claps hands or whistles and athlete must now run to the end of the Tumbl Trak and back

·         Athletes will begin with fast feet—coach will point in direction he wants the athlete to slide, coach can also point up and athlete must jump up and act as if they have just received a pass


·         Athletes can practice dribbling the ball while trying to maintain control down the Tumbl Trak

·         Athletes can practice passing the ball down the Tumbl Trak


·         Any type of warm-up or game where two athletes are passing and bouncing will help with hand-eye coordination

·         Position two athletes across from each other performing fast feet while passing (can use two balls if advanced)

Conditioning Drills


·         Ski jumps

·         Hollow body drills (for tummy and core)

·         Balance drills (scales and jumping)

·         Reverse crunches (with or without the balance ball – without the ball would be Superman lifts)

·         Medicine ball crunch

·         Medicine ball twists

·         Balance ball rollouts – lie facing down with feet on ball, roll out and back up

·         V-ups

·         Dolphin kicks (lie on front alternating arms and legs)

·         Popsicle pushups (partner exercise where one athlete’s feet are on another athlete’s bottom)

Tumbl Trak

·         Bounding jumps (tuck and straight body)

·         Jump up to Tumbl Trak from spring floor

Parallel Bars

·         Shimmy (incline up and down)

·         Dips

·         Chin-ups under the bar

·         Position holds (tuck, pike, straddle)

·         Swings and flanks

High Bar

·         Chin ups and pull ups

·         Supports and casting

·         Position holds


·         Around the World—walking support position from one side of the pommel horse all the way around and back to the starting position

·         Block to block—a walking support position on one side of the pommel horse

·         Tuck through—from support position, pull legs up and over the horse back and forward

·         Support swings

·         Shifters—moving down the p-bars shifting left to right

·         Tight body drills holding tuck, pike, hollow, arch, and straddle

By educating the parents and bringing the fitness components into the gym you will see more students and happier parents. As a parent you know there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your child happy and at the same time know you’re doing something good for them.  Kids want to be entertained. They want FUN and parents want them to be fit. It takes a great staff, facility, and curriculum to be successful. Let’s do it all!