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COACH THEO’S TIP OF THE MONTH: How to develop shoulder strength

One of the most important skills in a gymnastics career would be the handstand. The handstand is used all the way from early years development to elite level, and is one of the leading skills in developing hand eye co-ordination, as well as overall strength and stability. The most important aspect of the handstand is one of our most underdeveloped attributes- shoulder strength. Developing this is the first stage when learning the handstand as this enables young gymnasts to balance off the ground without collapsing. I have laid out 2 exercises that can help develop the shoulder strength for our tip of the month. Practice these at home and the benefits will soon start to show!

Donkey Kick (Beginner):

How To:
  • Crouch down from a standing position, placing your hands on the floor
  • Jump with your 2 feet together off the floor and up into the air
  • Land with feet together back down on the floor

What to look for:
  • Keep head in-between the arms throughout the movement
  • Don’t let the ears go past shoulder level
  • Shoulders must stay in line with hands, keeping the arms straight
  • Keep the back straight without an excessive arch

Handstand against the wall (Intermediate):

How To:
  • Crouch down from a standing position, with your back against the wall
  • Walk legs up the wall until straight
  • Walk legs back down into crouch position

What to look for:
  • Try to keep head in between arms while walking legs up the wall
  • Keep arms straight, pushing them as tall as possible
  • Keep hands in line with feet while in the fully extended handstand position

Let us know how you get on with these exercises, be sure to send us photos and videos! Check back on Friday 2nd September for next month’s tip, brought to you by Coach Adam! In the meantime, keep checking our social media platforms for plenty more content brought to you throughout the month!