Introduction to Gymnastics
Gymnastics is a popular sport that is believed to have originated in ancient Greece almost 2,500 years ago. It was originally introduced to train the youth for war. But gradually it underwent a lot of changes before it turned to the modern form we see today. It became a part of the Olympics for the first time in 1896 in Athens and is now one of the most popular sports across the world.
It is a sport that includes physical exercise which involves a lot of coordination, balance, strength, flexibility, endurance, and gracefulness. It is a sport in which athletes or gymnasts perform acrobatic feats – leaps, flips, turns, and handstands.
Types of Gymnastics
Both men and women participate in gymnastics. There are seven different forms of gymnastics popular across the world. They are:
- Women’s Artistic Gymnastics
- Men’s Artistic Gymnastics
- Rhythmic gymnastics
- Group Gymnastics
In every sport, there are certain types of equipment used by athletes to enhance their performance; while some of them are mandatory, others are optional. Here the the four most common equipment used in gymnastics:
- Chalk Powder:
It is commonly called as magnesium carbonate. It is used to rub on different types of equipment like high bars, parallel bars, uneven bars, rings and sometimes even on vault, pommel horse, and beam. This is primarily done to reduce friction.
Some choose to mix the calcium carbonate with water while others mix it with honey. This chalk concoction is extensively used by male and female gymnasts to enhance their grips on various tools used in gymnasts.
It absorbs sweat and saves them from injuries while performing different exercises. Most of the gymnasts prefer to use their own perfect chalk mixture to give their performance.
They are the most important and preferred equipment for athletes performing gymnastics. The high bar grips are used by male gymnasts while there are different types of grips for female gymnasts. There are dowel and non-dowel grips for beginner and artistic-level competitors.
However, different coaches have different opinions about when to introduce the grips and what type of grip is most suitable at the starting level. It also varies on the requirements and choice of the player. While some players learn with non-dowel grips and then move to dowel grips, others start with dowel grips at the beginner level.
No matter what type of grips you choose, they are undoubtedly the best supportive equipment. Grips that are for male athletes have two or three finger holes. Grips come in different shapes: Skinny, Curved, Straight. They either have a buckle or velcro closing. Besides there are a lot of colours to choose from.
Each type of grip comes with its own set of benefits. Athletes either choose it as per their choice and need. However, primarily the grips are chosen according to the tool on which the athlete is supposed to perform. For example, there are different Parallel Bar grips and ring grips.
Wrist guards are very important for athletes involved in gymnasts. When you practice gymnastics, these wrist guards snd offer a lot of support while landing. Even during low-energy falls, the wrist guards share the load and safeguard the bones & muscles of the wrist.
Both men and women gymnasts wear wrist guards or wrist bands to provide protection to their wrists as they play a crucial role while performing flips, turns, jumps etc. Some of them also wear neoprene or cloth wristbands, medical gloves, pre-wraps or balloons.
Colourful wristbands that are 2.5 inches in width are suitable for beginners, while 4-6 inches is good for dowel grips. However, there are some gymnasts that do not use any wrist support at all.
Many rhythmic & artistic gymnasts prefer wearing slippers to provide better support and grip on their feet. These slippers provide a cushion to the feet and protect them from slipping while landing. The slippers used by gymnasts are made of leather with some traction at the bottom.
However, slippers are not used while performing on a balance beam, floor exercise or vault because they add extra weight which in turn affects their performance. It can even cause the gymnast to lose their balance on these tools.
Some gymnasts also perform wearing socks while others use neither of both.
Benefits of Using Bar Grips
All the above types of equipment are optional but it is the grips that are mostly used by athletes, whether they are high bar grips or uneven bar grips. Here are three reasons why grips are considered most useful:
- Enhances Grip: This is the most important advantage that comes with using grips. The wide strip of leather covers the palm area and protects it from tears and blisters. Then there are two or three holes that hold the finger. The complete apparatus thus provides you with a better grip over the uneven or high bars.
- Better Support: In gymnastics, a lot of pressure and weight is handled by the wrist and palm. The dowel in the grips provides support to the hands by distributing the weight evenly. With this added support, gymnasts are able to perform difficult flips & and movements easily.
- Prevents Injury: Gymnastics is a sport of balance, coordination, flexibility and agility. Whether you are performing on rings or parallel bars, a slight miss in the position or timing and you lose the game. Not only that, you might also end up hurting yourself.
Grips are saviours as they protect the gymnasts from a lot of potential injuries that can keep them away from practice and competitions for a long time. Using the ring grips or the parallel bar grips while performing is therefore beneficial in the long run.
Pieces of equipment are an integral part of every sport and must be chosen and used after much research and learning from experts. If you are a beginner and do not know where to look for a high-grade grip, don’t worry. Gibson Athletic has the best grips for you. Just check out their website and you will find what suits you best.