Core Control and Breathing
Core control is one of the most important things you can master as an athlete and gymnast to protect you from injury and build important control to improve your performance. Make sure you realize that core control differs from core strength.
Core Control is the bodies ability to control individual spinal joints, thus protecting the central nervous system, allowing the extremities to do more work and better movement patterns.
I’m not worried about most gymnasts core strength because they do so much work in the gym. I am worried about their ability to control their bodies outside of abdominal splinting. This means that gymnasts can easily protect themselves with their six pack when they are in hollow, but when they get into neutral spine or extension of the spine, many times their bodies are in danger of injury because they’ve never trained control in this position.
It’s not incredibly hard to learn this protection, but it’s important to do it every day and once learned, it’s important to progress the control exercises and increase the difficulty of exercises so as your skills as a gymnast increase, so does your ability to protect your body.
Work on this every day until it becomes a habit. You can also lay on your back and breath in-between events and whenever you’re stressed at gym. This will help to reset your nervous system from fight or flight (sympathetic) to rest and digest (parasympathetic).
When you start the breathing exercises, make sure you find a good thought pattern that increases your relaxation. I recommend imagining you’re favorite place to go on vacation and imagine yourself there. For me, it’s hiking in the mountains or being on the beach. I just close my eyes, imagine the view, and work on my breath.
If you have questions, leave them in the comments below.