Tumbling head over feet may be a great way to stay in shape and flexible, but do it without warming up and you may end up nursing an injury that keeps you off the mat longer than you’d like. Starting your workout with a series of warm-up exercises can tell your body to bring it on and get you ready to roll.
Incorporating tumbling into your workout routine can yield several benefits, including increased strength, range of motion, flexibility, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy, which is simply better control of your body, says Stephane Rochet, head strength and conditioning coach at the University of San Diego. “Tumbling is an essential tool we use for injury prevention,” he said during a 2007 interview with Catalyst Athletics. “It teaches athletes how to fall and how to exit a bad position.”
Before jumping, or tumbling, into your workout, sys Bodybuilding.com, warm up, which can help prevent injuries, increase blood flow and decrease your chances of straining a muscle or joint. “Warming up isn’t just a safety precaution,” says the online resource. “After a warm-up, strength and focus should be peaked.” Since tumbling exercises requires some level of flexibility, a warm-up can lubricate the joints, ease muscle tension and get your body ready to work.
Former bodybuilder Ivan Nikolov recommends warming up with a cardiovascular activity, like walking or running, for between five and 10 minutes before starting your tumbling workout. On a treadmill, he says, walk for one minute and then increase the speed until you have to lightly jog. Keep increasing the speed every minute until you’re running all-out. The harder the workout, the higher your heart rate and the more ready your body will be to work. You can similarly increase the difficulty if you’re warming up on a stationary bicycle or elliptical machine, he says.
While stretching is key during your warm-up, especially if you’re planning to try challenging movements, do it after you’ve done something else, like a cardiovascular activity, suggests Injury Fix, a New York-based stretching, flexibility and sports injury management resource provider. It suggests trying static stretches, like crossing your right arm in front of your body and pulling it closer with your left hand. You can also try dynamic stretching, like jumping, bouncing, swinging your arms in circles or twisting side to side. Injury Fix recommends using these types of stretches on the parts of your body you plan to target during your workout. For tumblers, that may include your arms, legs and lower back.
Keep in Mind
Before starting any workout program, check with your doctor to find out if it’s right for you. Along with warming up before your tumbling workout, make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothing that won’t get in the way of your workout. If you’re planning to wear shoes, make sure they're comfortable and won’t cause you to slip. If something feels sore during your workout, stop, and beginners should take it slow at first before amping up their workout.
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.