Shoulder flexibility

Discussion in 'Question & Answer' started by Sarah'sMom, May 5, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
This thread is more than 30 days old.
  1. Sarah'sMom

    Sarah'sMom New Member

    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    31
    How do you know if your gymnast has a shoulder flexibility problem? Mine is almost 7 and I'm not in the mind to push anything, but I have been reading about some of the back problems that can develop later if shoulder flexibility is an issue (not sure of the credibility of that information, so maybe you can help me there too). So, my goal is to support what she wants to do and help her avoid injury to the extent possible.

    My daughter seems to have some good flexibility in some ways. I have posted a link below that shows a stretch behind the body while sitting that I can not describe accurately, hence the link (it's the very first stretch). My daughter can go back very far on this stretch, almost kind of freakishly far ( in my mom opinion) for her age.

    YouTube - Gymnastics Warm Ups : Shoulder Warm Up for Gymnastics Warm Ups

    But despite that, she is having a tough time with bridge kickovers and backbends. I'm not sure her bridge is quite right. She doesn't seem to have the straight arms but appears to be more curved. I've seen an instructor on a occasion sort of rock her in her bridge and it seems to me that the instructor is pushing her back into the straight arm position. She also doesn't seem to me like she's really reaching back with her arms with her back bend as far as she could. She is kind of falling and without spotting would land on her head because her arms don't land back straight without help.

    I haven't asked the coaches about this. It is always so busy and to be honest I'm a bit timid since I don't come from a gymnastics background. Also, I don't want to be a pushing and interfering Mom. But I do want to be a more educated Mom and I want to be the best support possible. And, if I can help her with some simple stretches that don't involve expertise on my part, I will certainly do that. My goal is not to become an instructor.
     

  2. gymdog

    gymdog Coach Coach Proud Relative Former Gymnast

    Messages:
    3,749
    Likes Received:
    1,278
    Have her stand in front of something slightly above shoulder height. She can hold onto it (facing it) and then pike her hips at 90 degrees, pushing her shoulders open and armpits down towards the floor. This is better than stretching bridges constantly. If she does bridges, it would be better for her to put her feet on top of something, and focus on pushing her arms straight and shoulder open instead of bending her back.

    But with the kickover, some of it is strength and conditioning too. She does need to get straight arms. I would not have a child practice a kickover or back bend if they could not do a straight arm bridge (but maybe she can and just has trouble maintaining it in the skills...I'm not sure).
     
  3. Kiwi

    Kiwi Coach Coach Proud Parent Gymnast Judge

    Messages:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    449
    Country:
    New Zealand New Zealand
    In the video the arms stretch in the opposite direction to what they do in bridge, it is a different stretch. My DD and I both have tight shoulders and have to work a lot on shoulder flexibility. It is important for skills such as walkovers. My DD is still struggling with her back walkover. If there is not enough shoulder flexibility then the lower back has to bend too much. See this great column by Geoffrey Taucer on exercises to improve shoulder flexibility. These can easily be done at home.

    Handstands: Part 2 | Apex Technical Corner
     
  4. sally

    sally New Member Proud Parent

    Messages:
    354
    Likes Received:
    117
    Country:
    Australia Australia
    My dd had some back problems about a year ago because of her back bend and the physio said it was because of her shoulder flexability. So he had her laying down on the ground with this cylinder shape underneath her shoulder blades and had to pull her arms back straight. Since doing that she has not had a back problem and has helped her with her backbends, by pulling her arms back first which she wasn't doing
     

  5. Aussie_coach

    Aussie_coach Moderator/Coach Staff Member CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Gymnast Club Owner

    Messages:
    2,029
    Likes Received:
    1,030
    Country:
    Australia Australia
    Have her stand perfectly straight and clasp her hands together in front of her body, have her lift her arms as high as they can go without unclasping them. Watch what her back does. If she can't take her arms up to vertical without slightly arching her back, then this means she will have to arch her back everytime she does a handstand and this will develop back pain. If she can't take them too much past vertical then bridge kickovers will be an issue. If she can easily take them 5 cms or so past vertical without arching her back, she should be fine.
     
  6. Sarah'sMom

    Sarah'sMom New Member

    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    31
    Thanks everyone for your comments. I think although my daughter has some really good shoulder flexibility in some directions, she does have some issues with the directions need for the backbends and the kickovers. Aussie_coach, she seems to be move the top of her back back when she tries to move her arms behind her head. She also moves her head forward, so I had trouble trying to figure out how many cc. But anyway, she can't seem to hold it there that long. So, I'm going to take that as an indication for a need for improvement. Gymdog, thanks for the very fast and helpful reply. I will give your stretching suggestion a try as well as some of the others posted here by Sally and Nikki. You have all been so helpful!
     
  7. Sarah'sMom

    Sarah'sMom New Member

    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    31
    My daughter has been doing the stretches posted above. But I had a further question. My daughter can overlap her hands when she reaches one hand back over her shoulder and the over hand around the back. She can do this on both sides. I found this "test" on the internet awhile ago and had her do it out of curiosity and she told me that the old gym she was at had her do this. Does this test mean anything for gymnastics? If so, I really still am seeing her backbends with her arms landing more at an angle than straight (she's always spotted at the gym). She also can't do the backward roll (but she did it for one class over a year ago when an instructor told her to move fast). Any thoughts? Or is this right for "stay the course" with these stretches.

    Also, one of the gym moms told me that she should be careful how much shoulder stretching she does because too much, too often can be hurtful. I don't think i have her do too much. I just ask her if she's stretched and she does it then or says she has already done it. Also, she likes to hold on to her bar (which she can now reach because she's grown since I put it up at tippy toe level) and lean into her shoulders so to speak. She seems to like doing that more than the cat stretch thing. She also sometimes uses her dresser which is level with her shoulders.

    The other gym mom's daughter is using a 5lb weight that she holds with both hands and moves backwards. Would that be helpful?
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
This thread is more than 30 days old.

Share This Page