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Help! Exercises for an injured wannabe gymnast

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Hi! I'm very excited to be here, having just joined.

I've recently been discovering exercise that I really enjoy, in the form of kickboxing and and acro class. And like many beginners do, I went too hard, and have injured myself - I've got a sprained knee :(

Obviously for now I am following my physio's advice, building up the muscles around the sprain with very simple exercises. But I want to plan my return to exercise whilst I'm waiting.

So my question for you all is: what movements/exercises do you recommend as a minimum achievement before I return to class? I had just started working on cartwheels for the first time in my life, though my knee was sprained due to a weak glute when I did a jump. My ultimate aim is to be able to cartwheel and do handstands - and onwards!

And a cheeky second question: any ideas of exericises I  can do for my upper body whilst I can't use my leg?! (I can't put weight on it at the moment)


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Handstands are a very important foundational skill in gymnastic for many reasons: strength, kinesthetics awareness and beyond anything the ability to stay upside down without losing your shit. This is very important for good cartwheels.

I'd say that the best thing you can do right now to improve your gymnastics capabilities is to keep working your handstand. There a lot of fixed progressions you can follow; my progression was to consistently fall over until I could finally hold a handstand (not recommended).

Have a look at this for a start.


As for the cheeky second question, there are a crap ton of exercises you can do right now with an injured leg.

  1. CORE. That's in bold because it's super important. A strong core is a necessity. Consider the following exercises:
    • Hollow-body and Arch-body holds.
    • Leg raises (consider doing these whilst hanging on a bar)
    • L-sit progressions.
  2. Upper body: start working towards a pull-up or improve your pull-up count if you can already do some. The same goes for push-ups; these skills are time-tested and are staples in bodyweight training.

Also, take it from someone who was basically a wooden plank when he started, but you'd be very wise to start working on your flexibility and range of motion. Range of motion is a major limiting factor for a lot of beginning gymnasts and is of special interest to anybody who is prone to injuries.


Best of luck for your training and get well soon!



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Do your physio exercises every day as your first priority! 


Requirement to return to class: I'd say just make sure you can jump and land comfortably on your injured leg -- single leg jumps! Once you are healed enough for that, you are definitely ready to return to class. 


Workouts to do while you're injured: Definitely don't let a sprained knee stop you from working out. Core and upper back work will be great while your knee is out of commission. Hollow holds + v-ups + L-sits + leg lifts all will be great, as Ryu0h mentioned above. You can also work on dips (both p-bar chest-focused dips and bench tricep focused dips), push-ups, and lat raises (with weights if you have gym access, with cans or something in your hands if not). For pull-ups, if you have a bar you can comfortably reach without jumping, you can do scapular raises and pull-ups, if not, you can work on bodyweight rows! 

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