Candlestick Pike Fold
This warm-up helps the gymnast to learn to push their hips upwards while in the pike position.
- Learn to go into the pike position.
- Learn to push hips upwards.
Start by going into the candlestick position with arms along sides. While keeping your hips pushed upwards, lower your legs until your toes touch the floor. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Please note the the following stage 1-4 are optional, these stages are from the “Candlestick Arms Along Sides” drill. I find it more natural for the gymnast to go into the pike fold from the candlestick, but their is nothing wrong going directly to the pike fold if that works for you.
Stage 1 – Setup
- Start in the seated pike position.
- Arms straight above your head.
- Look straight ahead.
Stage 2 – Roll Back (lower back)
- Roll back keeping the same initial position shape of the body.
- Lower arms to the floor.
- Legs should point straight up to the ceiling.
Stage 3 – Roll Back (upper back)
- Roll back until you reach your upper back.
- Press your hips upwards towards the ceiling.
- Legs should point straight up to the ceiling at all times.
- Push your arms downward at the floor.
Stage 4 – Candlestick
- Continue pressing your hips towards the ceiling until your body and legs are in a straight line.
Stage 5 – Finishing
- Lower your legs until your toes touch the floor.
- Keep your toes pointed at all times.
- Hold for 20 seconds.
Coaches teach gymnasts how to do skills correctly, but most gymnasts learns how to perform the skill correctly when coaches corrects their mistakes. This is not wrong, this is actually how gymnasts learn. This being said, it is very important that coaches corrects mistakes all the time. If a gymnast continues doing the same mistake over and over then they will be good at doing that drill with that mistake and have a difficult time later correcting it.
- Always correct mistakes
- Correct the first mistake you see the gymnast do (even if it is before the actually drill, i.e. the gymnast forgets to stand tall with arms over their head)
- Correct only one thing (sometimes two if they are related)
Mistake 1 – Legs Bent
Some gymnasts do not have the flexibility to have straight legs and get their toes all the way down to the floor. The important thing is that the gymnast keeps their legs straight even if they can not reach the floor.
The gymnast should not bend their legs at any point in this exercise.
Mistake 1 – Legs Hovering
Sometimes you will gymnasts that have their legs hovering above the floor. A couple of issues can be the reason for this:
- The gymnast does not press their hips upwards.
- The gymnast is not flexible enough yet.
In the 1st issue the gymnast has to learn to push their hips upwards. Weak core muscles can be the cause for the gymnast not being able to push their hips upwards.
In the 2nd issue flexibility needs to be improved. Work on exercises like the “Sandwich“.
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