After a few twists and stretches, gymnastics remains a dream for T. SARAVANAN
Gymnastics always fascinates me. In-shape men and women performing routines that defy gravity leaves me much in awe of their fitness and flexibility. This was one of the reasons why I strolled down to the Race Course grounds and much to my delight saw children, as young as four years, going through the strenuous workout without any grimace on their face.
“Though it is a demanding exercise for the body, anybody can do gymnastics. The number of effective man-hours one needs to put in before achieving the desirable fitness level to perform is something beyond imagination. It is ideal to start gymnastics at an young age when the muscles and bones are tender and more flexible,” coach S.R. Rajeswaran briefs me.
He delved into every nuance arousing my interest to take at least a shot. I guess my body contour made him explain every detail nicely to me: “Your body weight and shape should not stop you from doing it. Only perseverance matters the most. Before you get on to the proper gymnastics routines, you need to go through a set of warm up exercises to improve flexibility, fitness, motor capacity (rotatory), force (pulling power).” The warm up session, I realise, is not much different, from the exercises suggested for any other sport.
“Warm up drill is the same for every sport. But the difference is in its execution and presentation. With the demands differing from one sport to the other, people customise the routines to suit the particular sport better,” chips in another gymnastic coach T. Raju.
The warm up session includes a 15-minute jog around the ground and concentrating on sprinting and hopping in the last five minutes. I attempt and do it without much difficulty.
Next follows the “partner stretching” wherein you choose a partner from among the other trainees and lay in a supine posture while the partner helps in lifting your leg and stretching it to the maximum so that the knee touches the nose. I bet it was a torrid time for me.
Coach Rajeswaran comes to my rescue: “It is not easy. You cannot do it on the first day itself. It has to be gradual. You stretch to the best possible limit you can and you will be able to achieve good results over a period of time.”
After performing this drill with both the legs, the same set of exercise is repeated in prostrate posture. Believe me, it was more tough. I was told it would give more flexibility to the hip, spine and thigh muscles.
In the same posture, my partner lifted both my legs and crossed it. “This will help you prevent ankle twists,” Mr. Raju egged on. After more than 15 minutes into the rigorous round, I get a break in the form of seemingly less difficult exercises like the toe and heel walk, monkey walk both inward and outward, moving head up and down, side to side, rotating the wrist, shoulder rotation, alternate hand rotation, hip rotation, bending knees, ankle rotation to end with rising up and down while standing on toe. “In addition there are some exclusive exercises for girls that include leg split, leg swing and the back arch. These routines make them more flexible and fit to take on much more challenging performances,” adds Mr. Rajeswaran.
For more information ring 9942958308 for Mr. Rajeswaran and 9443110507 for Mr. Raju.