GYMNASTICS AND ISOMETRIC TRAINING GYMNASTICS GIMMICKS By Rich Harris A new method of physical tramm g has been developed that should be very effective for aspiring gymnasts in the years to come_ It's called Isometric Contraction and is hased on the principle of exertin g force against an immovable object to stimulate musCle ti ss ue -to develop at a maximum rate_ Athletes in track, wrestlin g, football , basketball, weightlifting and many other sports have already proven that Isometri c Contraction can improve st rength and performance in an amazingly short time_ In fa ct, strength increases up to 5% per week are not un common_ Wha t does thi s mean to gym nastics? Obviously, it offers our gymnasts a means by which they can increase their strengt h capacity whil e not interfering with the ir reg ular practice routines_ Here are so me of the main advantages of Isometric Training: ' L Isometric exercises require only 1 or 2 minutes a day_ K eep in mind th at the prin ciple behind this method of training is th at a sin gle maximum con tract ion, held for approximately 8 - 12 seconds, is sufficient stimulus for maximum muscle development and maintenance_ If the training consists of 5 or 6 basic exercises the total elapsed time would be about 60 seconds_ 2_ Very little warm-up is req uired_ A gymnast can gently loosen up with so me brief calistheni cs and is all set to begin hi s Isome tric exercises_ Because there are no repeated 'contractions .of the muscles and therefore no build-up of lactic acid in the tissue, fatigue is not likely to occur. 3_ Results are immediate_ Also, if the isometric exerciser · has a built-in dynamometer lik e the one shown in the accompanying photographs, the gymnast can accurately mea ~ure his strength attainment level and record his progress. The fact that he can see the results of his trainin g tends to motivate him to maximum effort. Isometrics can be a valuable system of training for both our men and women gymnasts. It builds and maintains the needed strength for the graceful gymnastic movements required for in ternational competition. If Isometrics can improve gy mnastic performance as much as it has in ou r ot her Olympic sports, the American team could score much higher in the 1964 games. Below: This t y pe of isometric exercise dev elops the muscles used for all g y mnastic movements requiring arm extension power . Pressing upward against the isomyte resistance bar develops the arms for press handstands, parallel bar front somersaults, uprises, etc .
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