6 Gymnastics-Inspired Bodyweight Moves For A Total-Body Workout

Have you ever watched the gymnasts at the Olympics and wonder to yourself, “How do they do that?” Gymnasts practice for years to master their craft, however, they could not do what they do without first building incredible strength.

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Their strength-training workouts are so effective, that many gymnastics-based exercises are now being incorporated into Cross Fit and bodybuilding routines around the world. The following moves don’t require any equipment, but will still give you a full-body workout that will make you as strong as an Olympic gymnast.

Tuck Jump

Let’s begin with the easiest exercise to get the heart rate up. The tuck jump is taught to beginner gymnasts, and is regularly used as they get progress. As a plyometrics exercise, a.k.a, jump training, it works the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.  This move will boost your jumping abilities, giving you strong, powerful legs while strengthening your circulatory system.

Correct Starting Position

  • Feet should be shoulder width apart.
  • Knees slightly bent
  • Be sure your back is upright

Correct Execution

  • Go into squat position
  • Push your butt backwards
  • Bodyweight should be on the heels (never toes)
  • Jump up, pulling your knees high towards to chest
  • Land with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Squat position for next rep

Set Count

  • 3 sets X 45 seconds (rest for 15 second between each set)
  • 30 second rest after 3 sets

You can increase speed so it can become more effective, but remember to execute properly, not just fast. You can also add cuff weights to make it more intense. If you are a beginner, I would start with no weights. You need to work up to that.

Hollow Rock

Hollow Rock is an abdominal exercise that works to stabilize your core. It works the rectus abdominis and the obliques as well.

Correct Starting Position

  • Lay flat
  • Arms should be stretched out above your head; upper arms should be right next to your ears.
  • Tighten your core, pulling your abdominal muscles to the floor
  • Roll on your back until only your hips and lower back are touching the floor
  • Keep your legs together and they should hover over the floor

Correct Execution

  • Swing back and forward in a steady motion, keep your back arched
  • Feet should come up as you go down, and vice versa
  • Keep your core tight

Set Count

  • 3 sets X 30 seconds (rest for 15 second between each set)
  • 30 second rest after 3 sets

Handstand Push-Ups

Handstand push-ups are an upper-body exercise, in which the shoulder and back muscles do most of the work, but staying balanced is also part of the challenge. A strong core is key here to help stabilize your body. If building strength is your goal, this is the exercise for you.

Correct Starting Position

  • Find a clear wall to support yourself up against
  • Put hands slightly behind you; you are the base so be sure you are stable
  • Balance your knees on your arms
  • Keep core tight for good balance
  • Head in a neutral position
  • Slightly lift your knees to get your back in a straight position
  • Then shoot up

Correct Execution

  • Use your arms to lift yourself up and down.
  • You want to be sure you have equal distribution of weight on head and hand, not all on head. All the weight on your head can cause you to crash down on your head.

Set Count

  • 3 sets X 10 reps (rest for 15 second between each set)
  • 30 second rest after 3 sets

V- Ups

V-ups are a great abs exercise, working both the upper and lower abdominal muscles. They also works to help strengthen your back muscles and to tone your thighs. This one is a little difficult to do. You first want to begin with the modified v-up, which is one foot, and then alternate. After you master the one-footed version, you can go on to both feet. Once you master both feet, you will have very toned abdominal muscles, my friend.

Correct Starting Position

  • Lay Down flat with hands over your head.

Correct Execution: Modified One Foot V-Up

  • Bring one leg up at a time
  • Bring both hands up to touch that foot
  • Alternate Feet

Correct Execution: Both Feet V-Up

  • Bring both feet up
  • Reach both hands up to both feet
  • Repeat

Set Count

  • 4 sets X 10 reps (rest for 15 second between each set)
  • 30 second rest after 3 sets

Candlestick Jumps

The Candlestick Jumps works not only your abs, but your back muscles and glutes, and they also increase your flexibility. Flexibility plays a huge part in gymnastics, but can be a very versatile asset across a range of fitness routines. Good flexibility improves your range of motion, reduces risk of injury, improves your mobility, and overall helps with performance.

Correct Starting Position

  • Lay flat on your back
  • Hands above your head with palms face up

Correct Execution

  • Lift both feet above your head
  • Bring legs down to roll forward onto your feet
  • Jump from squatting position as high as you can
  • Land on feet and revert back to pike position with your feet above your head
  • Repeat

Set Count

  • 3 sets X 15 reps (rest for 15 second between each set)
  • 30 second rest after 3 sets

L-Sit Progressions

The l-sit is a very highly advanced exercise and typically used on gymnastics bars, but instead, I will teach you how to do it on the ground. This gymnastics exercise will strengthen your body without even moving. It works many muscles but will focus on your abs, arms (more so your triceps), and hip flexors. You want to begin easy and slow, which is why it is called a progression. This is a very challenging exercise that can take a while to master, but do not get discouraged. Follow the progressions and you will get there.

Correct Starting Position

  • Sit with your feet stretched out
  • Palms should be on the floor ahead of your bottom

Correct Execution For Progression One (Both Feet On The Floor)

  • Start pressing floor away from you just a little
  • Do not shrug your shoulders
  • Shoulder should be down away from your ears
  • There should now be space underneath you
  • Your feet should still be on the floor
  • Back should be rounded, and arms straight
  • Set Count

GOAL: Hold for one minute- if you cannot hold for 1 minute, break it down. So, 10 seconds, then another 10 seconds. Until you reach your 1 minute goal.
3 sets X 60 seconds (rest for 15 seconds between sets)

Progression Two (One-Foot Supported L-Sit)

  • Master the hold in Progression One
  • Hold and raise one leg
  • Alternate legs

Set Count

GOAL: Keep doing for 1 minute- Remember, if you can’t do it for one minute, break it down.
3 sets X 60 seconds (rest for 15 seconds between sets)

Progression Three (Tucked L-Sit)

  • Master the hold in Progression Two
  • Now, hold and tuck your knees to your chest
  • Press away from the floor

Set Count

GOAL: Hold for 1 minute- Break down if you need to
Once, you can hold for 1 minute, you then extend your legs little by little to get to the full L-Sit
3 sets X 60 seconds (rest for 15 seconds between sets)

Remember, that each exercise does require you to stretch and warm up before the workout.

These six gymnastic bodyweight exercises combine for a total-body workout routine that’s great for building your strength and flexibility right at home. If you are a beginner, follow the modifications and progressions. You’ll be as strong and fit as a gymnast in no time.