Gymnastics Balance

Gymnastics, like many sports, requires physical training that builds the overall fitness of the athlete. Although the concept may be stated in different ways, the tradition definition of physical fitness, when assessed from the perspective of the health and the function of the body, includes elements of strength, power, speed, endurance, and flexibility. Balance, together with agility and motor control, is one of the essential components necessary to produce superior athletic performance. Balance is a combination of innate sense and the development of combined physical and mental training. Balance is fundamental to gymnastic success, no matter how otherwise skilled and fit the athlete may be. Balance is the achievement of physical harmony in both movement and stationary positions; a gymnast must incorporate the notion of balance into every aspect of the execution of every routine. Inherent to the development of balance in any gymnastics routine is an understanding of the body's center of gravity and its importance to fluid movement. The determination of the precise center of gravity will make the performance of aerial movements more efficient, particularly those involving a 360° rotation of the body. The center of gravity in an athlete is defined as the point at which the body will rotate if no other external forces are applied. The physical structures of men and women vary due to the different position and relative width of women's hips to their femur length; for this reason a woman's center of gravity is slightly lower on the body than that of a man. Key to the development of balance is an understanding of the body's center of gravity and its importance to fluid movement. The repetition that is at the heart of gymnastics training assists the athlete in sustaining balance through a routine. The bodily mechanism of muscle memory, also known as proprioception, is the ability of the body to understand and coordinate each part of the body, relative to each other, without reference to the traditional senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and sight. As a gymnast understands through repetition where all of the musculoskeletal joints are positioned as a movement is performed, the body will achieve balance without reliance upon the five senses. The function of the inner ear and vestibular system are well understood as being connected to the proprioception system; an inner ear infection can cause significant difficulty for a gymnast for this reason.

An internal sensory feedback system. orientation. The kinesthetic sense is similar to proprioception. as well as orientation to the ground or other fixed objects. the first of which is the physical senses. the related notions of muscle memory and hand-eye coordination. The function of the vestibular system is prominent whenever an athlete is endeavoring to track an object that has been sent into the air on a trajectory.Balance Training and Proprioception Proprioception is the internal regulatory system of the body that governs the ability to generate and maintain an effective upright posture and physical balance. action. proprioception is the complex series of communications that signal a variation in muscle contraction made in response to any external factors. information is received by each sensory organ and transmitted to the brain for processing and. Proprioception has been referred to as the "sixth sense. The five senses of taste. These structures sense changes in acceleration. Proprioception and its importance to human movement is best understood in contrast to two other sensory concepts. The second contrasting concept to that of proprioception is that of the human kinesthetic senses. nervous system components that are located in the muscles of the joints. touch. both in terms of physical position. and sound are all sensory devices that act as both a monitoring system and as an early warning defense for the body in relation to its environment. The vestibular system provides . There are two primary sub-mechanisms within the inner ear that provide data for proprioception. relaying the degree of muscle tension present at any time to the brain. These receptors assist in permitting the body to know where the joints are positioned at any time. The inner ear can recognize changes in each of these physical areas more quickly than the coordinated efforts of the eye (through the optic nerve) and the brain. A common feature of cases involving an amputation is the sensation on the part of the amputee that the absent limb is producing pain. proprioception is the method by which the body regulates itself. In contrast. the Golgi tendon organ. in that it is an internal mechanism. A prominent stretch receptor. The cilia are very fine hairs located along the inner ear canal. such as a fly ball in baseball or a rugby ball kicked down the field." as it will continue to function in the event the physical senses cannot function. is located at the junction of various tendons and corresponding skeletal muscle. sight. and the detection of acceleration in objects near the body. The important proprioceptors located within the body are the vestibular system (the organs and nerves of the inner ear) and the stretch receptors. but distinct by virtue of the role of proprioception in coordinating joint motion and acceleration. transmitted to the brain by way of the vestibular nerve. where required. The vestibular system of the inner ear is a delicate bone and tissue structure that coordinates balance. smell.

In addition to sports where an object must be followed in the air. are those where proprioception skills must be developed to their fullest extent. that is at the heart of numerous sports. Once core strength is in place. Diving. which create unequal generation of forces in movement. Balance training is intended to complement the proprioception system.continual input regarding speed and body orientation to the ground as the player closes in on the ball. when persons of any size have structural imbalances. and include proprioception principles that equip the athlete with the physical tools to ensure that physical balance can be maintained in any circumstance. A maximum level of core strength. and aerial To fully develop keen proprioception (balance) skills. For these athletes. Exercises that place the athlete in a continuous series of constant and dynamic movements reinforce for the body its proprioception system. such as leg length discrepancies. permits the athlete to incorporate stability into every movement in sport. airborne sports. Activities as varied as juggling and the use of a wobble board (a device where the athlete is positioned at the center of the board to maintain balance) are employed to perfect balance. the athlete can develop a series of physical attributes that contribute to quickness. The ability to transfer weight effectively and seamlessly is a hallmark of athletic balance. in which the athlete's physical equilibrium are distorted through the movements required by the sport itself. it is likely that such persons will be less coordinated and less balanced in their movements. the couched playing position with knees and hips flexed. Further. gluteal. training programs will be designed with the elements of the sport uppermost. events in skiing and snowboarding are all examples. As a very general proposition. lumbar. smaller people tend to possess better balance skills and the related features of physical coordination than do larger people. A well-developed core strength also permits a stable and maintained athletic stance. head erect. and groin muscles and connective tissues. The first and most important aspect of balance training is the building and maintenance of the core strength of the athlete. performed on a stable physical platform. by virtue of the physiological fact that the smaller person is required to control a smaller mass. gymnastics. gymnasts endure countless hours of training. . Any exercise that requires the body to respond instantly to physical position will aid in balance training. Balance has components that are genetically based. with a smaller neuromuscular system to be managed. the integrated efforts of the abdominal.