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Sports Med. 2016 Mar;46(3):315-27. doi: 10.1007/s40279-015-0424-6.

Stretching the Spines of Gymnasts: A Review.

Author information

1
Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK. wmasands@hotmail.com.
2
, 2300 South 2100 East, Salt Lake City, UT, 84109, USA. wmasands@hotmail.com.
3
Department of Physical Education, Health and Recreation, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA, USA. jeni_mcneal@hotmail.com.
4
Academy of Sport and Physical Activity, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK. g.penitente@shu.ac.uk.
5
Department of Kinesiology, Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, CO, USA. smurray@coloradomesa.edu.
6
MSU Sports Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA. lawrence.nassar@ht.msu.edu.
7
Department of Sport Science, College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar. M.Jemni@qu.edu.qa.
8
Department of Physical Education, Exercise and Sport, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA. Harahara10@hotmail.com.
9
Department of Physical Education, Exercise and Sport, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA. stonem@etsu.edu.

Abstract

Gymnastics is noted for involving highly specialized strength, power, agility and flexibility. Flexibility is perhaps the single greatest discriminator of gymnastics from other sports. The extreme ranges of motion achieved by gymnasts require long periods of training, often occupying more than a decade. Gymnasts also start training at an early age (particularly female gymnasts), and the effect of gymnastics training on these young athletes is poorly understood. One of the concerns of many gymnastics professionals is the training of the spine in hyperextension-the ubiquitous 'arch' seen in many gymnastics positions and movements. Training in spine hyperextension usually begins in early childhood through performance of a skill known as a back-bend. Does practising a back-bend and other hyperextension exercises harm young gymnasts? Current information on spine stretching among gymnasts indicates that, within reason, spine stretching does not appear to be an unusual threat to gymnasts' health. However, the paucity of information demands that further study be undertaken.

PMID:
26581832
PMCID:
PMC4769315
DOI:
10.1007/s40279-015-0424-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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