Leg strength in gymnastics practices, which exercises can you use?
29 december 2020 
8 min. read

Leg strength in gymnastics practices, which exercises can you use?

Leg strength in gymnastics practices. Is it already part of your training? Regarding the leg workout, I would like to go through the execution of three of the exercises. To train the correct muscles, it’s important to execute these exercises in the correct way. Cheating is just around the corner. This is especially the case when exercises need to be done at a high speed like the chosen music of the leg workout.


Watch more warm-up workouts on our YouTube channel.

Leg strength exercise: Hip bridge

What do you train?

In the hip bridge, you mainly train the backside of the lower part of your body.

Where do you feel it?

This exercise should be felt in your butt and leg muscles (hamstrings, adductors and abductors) In your legs, you should mainly feel it on the backside and inner and outer sides.

Points of interests in the execution

In this exercise, it’s important to keep the hips “straight”. Imagine, for example, that there’s a ruler on your hip joints (see horizontal line in the image). This should stay horizontal at the same height to avoid a “hip drop”. You can also ensure that the hips stay at the same height by looking at the knees. These should stay together. Or check if the distance between your shoulder and hips is the same on both sides. Actively squeeze your butt together to stretch your hips and avoid an arched lower back. In the image, you can see that the lower back is arched. Try to actively pull in the chest and squeeze your butt together.

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Knees and hips should be one line to avoid x-legs (knees in). Feet are placed under the knees in a 90 degree angle. Leave knees more stretched to address a different part of the hamstring (knee angle of about 30 degrees).

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In short:

  • Hips square (think about horizontal line)
  • Squeeze butt together
  • Knees and hips are one line
  • Knee angle of about 90 degrees

Leg strength exercise: (Jump) squat

What do you train?

The squat mainly trains the lower part of your body

Where do you feel it?

The squat consists of two phases:

Phase 1 – lower

In this phase, the back part of your body (butt and hamstrings) provide strength in lengthened position. Therefore, it’s possible that you feel your butt and hamstrings in this phase.

Phase 2 – raise

In this phase, the front of your upper leg needs to work and at the end of the hip extension your butt muscles will be activated. In the jump squat, you can feel your calves when jumping off the ground.

Points of interest in the execution

First of all, it’s a myth that your knees cannot go further than your feet. This is not “bad”. The pressure on your knee joint raises when you move them past your feet. In certain knee injuries, it’s a bad idea to seek that elevated pressure but it definitely can’t hurt.

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Place your feet hip width apart. Your feet can point slightly outwards so the natural position of your hip stays intact. In the image, you can see that knees and feet are nicely placed under the hips. However, she shows slightly pronated feet. Try to actively support yourself on the sides of your feet to keep your feet’s archway “high”. Imagine, when doing the squat, that you want to sit on a chair that is a good feet away from you. The lower back can arch slightly (as if you lift an imaginary tail – see picture). Go straight down with your butt exactly between your legs. Pay attention to your knees. They should stay above your feet. Then, straighten your knees and hips completely while keeping your legs and butt tightened.

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In short:

  • Place feet just a bit wider than hip width while keeping your toes slightly pointed outwards.
  • Go down as if you are going to sit down on a chair that’s behind you. Lift an imaginary tail while doing so.
  • Knees stay above your feet.
  • Straighten your legs and pinch your butt lightly together.

Leg strength exercise: (Jump) lunge

What do you train?

The lunge mainly trains the lower part of your body

Where do you feel it?

Like in the squat, a lunge consists of two phases in which the same muscles are activated. The lunge is a one-legged exercise in which the main focus is on keeping your hips square. It’s also possible that you feel the lunge in your butt and hip region. Maybe even more so than with the squat.

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Points of interest in the execution

The biggest point of interest are the hips. Keep your hips horizontal ‘as if there is a ruler on them’ for example, especially in the lunge position. In the example below, this doesn’t happen. The hips aren’t horizontal. Make a big step forwards and lower down so that your back knee is just above the floor. 90% of your weight should be on your front leg. The knee should be in a prolonged position to your hips (so avoid ‘kneeing in’ or x-legs). In the example, you can see that the knee falls too far outwards. Go down straight and keep your body straight so that your shoulders are above your hips.

leg-strength-gymnastics-exercises

In short:

  • Make a big step forwards
  • Keep your hips horizontal
  • Go straight down (shoulders above your hips) so that your back knee is just above the floor.
  • Step back

Hopefully, the abovementioned tips can help you correctly execute the warming-up leg workout. You can also use these exercises in a strength block for example. Watch more exercises and workouts on our Member Platform.

About the author
My name is Roxanne Boersma (24) and I work within Gymnastics Tools as a content developer and coach. I have been doing gymnastics since I was 12 and have been teaching gymnastics to various selection gymnastics groups since 2012. In addition to my passion for gymnastics, I am active in fitness and health (lifestyle and nutrition). I am currently working as a physiotherapist. Quote: "Never give up on what you want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts."
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