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Body control like an Olympic gymnast is not a reasonable goal for most adults. That kind of training begins during childhood and is the result of hours of daily training, careful diet with supplements, and a strength-to-weight ratio that leaves adult bodies during their early 20s. For all that, training like a gymnast to get your body control closer to that level of excellence can benefit adults well into their senior years. You might never get there, but there's value in the journey.
Warm up for five to 10 minutes with a light cardio workout before beginning your flexibility training. This loosens your muscles so you can stretch deeper during your session, which means better overall results.
Perform a stretching routine that covers the lower legs, upper legs, lower back, upper back, shoulders and neck. Each stretch should last 10 to 30 seconds, and you should do each three to five times. Take each motion to the point of discomfort, but ease off if you feel actual pain.
Exhale between each repetition of a stretch and eke out an extra inch or two of range of motion. It's this aggressive pursuit of better flexibility that will give you the body control you're striving after.
Schedule 20 to 30 minutes three times a week for a full-body resistance exercise routine. Longer workouts reach a point of no return as you fatigue. Working out less frequently is better for maintaining your current condition and won't help you reach the elite fitness you want. It's better to work out on nonconsecutive days to allow your muscles time to recover between sessions.
Focus on high-repetition workouts at moderate weight. You don't want to bulk up with power lifting, but rather increase control, endurance and strength across your entire body.
Choose specific exercises that engage small peripheral muscles, which are the ones most responsible for top coordination. Some examples include dumbbell butterflies, shoulder presses, kettlebell swings and body-weight exercises like pushups and lunges. These work better for developing body control than machine or barbell workouts, since the machines and barbells do some of the body control for you.
Increase your intensity rather than your weight as the workouts become easier. For example, aim for 60 kettlebell swings in one minute, rather than simply grabbing a heavier kettlebell.
- The good news about training for gymnastics-level body control is you don't have to do gymnastics to make it happen. That means you don't need to buy the expensive training equipment and safety pads gymnasts use in their daily workouts.
- Group fitness classes like yoga, tai chi and martial arts like taekwondo, parkour or capoeira can all contribute to your goal of training like a gymnast.