Issue #12


by Juan Carlos Lopez

20 questions with our cover model: Julie Childs

Video Interview Cover Model: Julie Childs

Tamee Marie Interview after winning 2005 Carol Semple Figure classic

Gymnastics & Skills Pt. 1
by Linda Cusmano

Video Interview:
Ellen Partnoy

2005 NPC Nationals Experience by Alissa Carpio

Protein Intake
by Alex Galvez

Video Interview:
Corinna Frikken

Training Arms Part 2 by Kristi Wills

Back on Track
by Susan Groshek

Video Interview:
Waleska Granger

Sprint Workouts
by Misty Green

Gymnastics & Skills Part 1 by Linda Cusmano

Aerial Tricks, Leaps, Holds & Push ups

For the bare bones of things you should try to achieve a handstand, cartwheel (one armed if you can), a scale and a front roll. This is something anyone can learn unless they have severe motion sickness in which case you will need to omit any inverted motions.
The best idea is to go to an adult drop in gymnastics class and learn about the moves and what they are called. A coach will demo them and you can decide if you wish to try this or if it is even feasible for you and the coach can work with you on this decision. I would give yourself at least a year to learn any new gymnastics before you begin to look at competing, otherwise work with what you CAN do and make them very clean and polished. Practicing some of your leaps on a trampoline is great practice and many gymnasiums have tramps which you can warm up on with your straddle and pike leaps! This would be fully coached as tramps can be dangerous.
If you have dabbled or are experienced in gymnastics then I suggest you take this score sheet to your coach or an adult class and get graded. With this information you can choose your stronger moves to add to your routine and if you want to use one which needs polishing then you can focus that into your training. Some of the skill names can vary among coaches. Many of the holds are more known in Fitness but your coaches should be able to grade you on your attempt and you should be pretty familiar with most of these.

Some Leap Examples
Straddle leap (above) with arms down or out.
Pike and split leap. (Above)
Side Russian Leap

Progressing yourself to be able to achieve some basic holds is not too difficult and can be done at home! Once you get good at them you can add resistance such as ankle weights.

Pike holds are a very common fitness routine element and can be varied in the end result to show some creativity but first you have to be able to do one! You should incorporate V sits, hanging leg lifts in full range of motion and some pike leaps to help you toward this hold.

Beginners can start seated with your legs out in front of you, toes pointed and thighs tight. With your hands at the sides of your thighs nearer the knee for a balanced lift (but as you get stronger you get closer to the hips so you can lift heals) lift your tush off the ground by arching your back, pulling up on your pelvis and if you're able then get onto your fingers - lift your palms. Heals lift on the ground but if you are not at that level you work toward that. Some people are unable to bend their fingers in the manner to get palms up and get some height clearance so for those I suggest using fists for better height than using flat hands. Hold this for 5-20 seconds repeating for 2-5 sets total.

Advanced can go into a straddle V from the pike hold then back into the pike hold. Toggling your feet is also a cute effect while in a pike hold. Lastly you can bend a leg while in the hold then alternate bending your legs, meanwhile holding yourself up which shows impressive strength. Heals together or apart, up into a side V is also nice. From sport aerobics you can try the pike rotation turning a full 360 degrees on hands only. Men's gymnastics also has a move where you go from a pike hold directly into a handstand but this is extremely advanced!

Straddle Holds are another common routine element. Like the pike hold, once you learn this you can get creative with it and create new holds. Like for the pike holds, by incorporating V sits, hanging leg lifts in full range of motion and some pike leaps you make it all easier.
You try it with your feet off the ground, using a bench or chair, this allows room for heals to sag without touching, until you get stronger.

At this point you can begin to practice on the floor and should be able to get your hold even if only for a second.
Practicing these with sets and reps as above will get you to a strong hold on the floor. You can try this with one hand behind you, this leads to a straddle turn. Try it with your hands behind you so you can lift heals! Advanced can go into a straddle V from then back into the hold. Lastly you can bend a leg while in the hold then alternate bending your legs, meanwhile holding yourself up.

Next step is one done in gymnastics which also has a move where you go from a straddle hold directly into a handstand but this is extremely advanced! Coming into a straddle from a handstand is much easier.

Yoga Holds have a variety but this is the basic one. Once you learn this you can extend a leg or vary your position to be more creative.
Crouch down with hands to one side, flat on the floor, keeping the inner arm elbow into your hip fold, while the other elbow supports your outer thigh. Slowly lean into this and try to balance, taking your feet off. As you bobble during your learning, you can use your toe as support to prop you back up.
This is a very easy hold to get so just keep doing the above trying to hold it longer each time. Practice this for 5 mins 3-5 times per week alternating sides so that you can try to get both sides. Try playing with variations!

Split Holds are easy if you are flexible. You get yourself into a push up position; put a leg up onto your shoulder then lean forward to let your back leg up. You can bend that leg too if want to add flair. This is another hold you have to just do, trial and error! It’s all about balance.

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About the Author...

Linda Cusmano

Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Competitor
Body Rush Personal Training & Lifestyle Consultation

If you are beyond this level and looking for more tips toward contest physiques then feel free to email me your questions and I will try to help.
Any fitness, health, diet, rehab or contest (fitness, figure, bodybuilding, fitness model) questions can be emailed to Angel@lindacusmano.com

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