Want to improve your strength and stability of your joints? Static holds are a great way to increase the time under tension needed to build joint durability. These 6 positions train different parts of the body to hold the joint(s) in a stable position. This forces the muscles and tendons to adapt and build strength in these difficult positions. Each position is unique in the difficulty level and the muscles being trained. These exercises will improve your gymnastic movements and have a big carry over into your weight training.
Let’s start with the core. We need to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine and pelvis. So we can safely perform explosive and fast movements.
Make sure to hold the legs straight and pull the rib cage down. This trains the entire front side of the body to work as one unit. Try and hold this for multiple sets of 20-30 seconds at a time.
Hold the glutes and shoulder blades tight to make sure the low back is not taking the entire load. This exercise is opposite to the hollow body hold because it trains the entire back side of the body to work as one unit. The hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, and shoulders all reach up. Holding this for 20-30 seconds at a time for sets will build a stronger and stable posterior chain.
Shoulders and Elbows
For the shoulders and elbows its best to start with the easiest variation and progress from there (left to right is easier to more difficult).
The goal with these is to keep the elbows locked out and squeeze your lats as to better hold your shoulder blades in place. A good goal to work towards is to hold the ring plank for 1-2 minutes and the ring support for 30-60 seconds. When you progress to an L-sit aim to accumulate 1-2 minutes over multiple sets of 10-20 second holds.
Holding handstands builds stability in the wrists, elbows, and shoulders. These are more taxing to the body but has great transfer to other overhead movements. Starting with 5-10 second can be difficult at first but with consistency you can work your way up to 30-60 second holds for a few sets.
This exercise builds grip strength in the forearms, lats, and rotator cuff. Building strength in the hanging positioning transfers to safer movement when kipping is involved. The added core strength will teach more control and stability of your trunk during hip flexion.
Hips and Knees
Holding a split stance strengthens the connective tissue surrounding the knees. This exercise strengthens the quads, hamstrings, and glutes in an athletic position. It also stresses the balancing muscles in the feet and calves. Try holding a split stance for 1-2 minutes per side for a few sets. Your quads will be screaming but you will feel the increased stability over time.
You’ll be surprised at how much stronger you get from doing these exercises. Yes, they can be difficult but it can be a new challenge. When is the last time you put a specific focus on gymnastics? Try it out.
If you have questions on how to implement these exercises for your needs feel free to reach out and leave a comment.