Conditioning — Why We Like Uptown Abs

Both warm-up and conditioning are essential parts of the majority of lesson plans we write for our gymnastics workouts. Unlike other sports, in a sport based on aesthetics — as artistic gymnastics is — conditioning time is an opportunity for coaches to emphasize artistry and basic core shaping without worrying about sharing that attention with the technical requirements of advanced skills. The more attention paid to these aspects in warm-up and conditioning, the easier it will be for gymnasts to incorporate them into the execution of skills.

When designing a conditioning circuit, coaches are commonly encouraged to take into consideration the abilities and ages of the gymnasts in the session. At the same time, it is important to consider the gymnasts' goals and even the coaches goals.

And the number one, top goal is performance in competition*. As with any module in a lesson plan, question number one should be: How will this conditioning programme improve the gymnasts' chances of performing well in competition?

The Uptown abs workout is great because it can be used to reinforce the correct "hollow" body position needed on both bars and tumbling while at the same time, improving gymnasts' ability to focus on rhythm and fluid movement - both of which contribute to artistry.

Look at the moves in Uptown abs to see where they show up in skills and think about the pointers you can give your gymnasts during the workout to improve their form.

Hollow position for snap-downs (courbette):

hollow position for gymnastics - "Uptown abs"

Arch position for bars, front handsprings (we'd prefer arms over the ears, of course):

arch position in gymnastics - "Uptown abs"

Hollow position number two, this one closer support for free hip circles (it might be good to stress straight arms "pushing" up):

hollow position for free hip circles - "Uptown abs"

V-ups for kips:

V-up, V-sit for gymnastics - "Uptown abs"

*Of course gymnasts have many, many other goals - building confidence, overcoming fear, learning discipline. These are important, but the desire to perform well in competition is the "bait" that helps the coach ensure these lessons are learned as well.

Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily. - Johann Freidreich Von Schiller