Gymnast body, no flips required


If you've seen U.S. Gymnastics superstars like Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, or Simone Biles (the latest and greatest to grace the Olympic mat) in action, you know their bodies are the definition of #fitspiration. The incredible acrobatics they can pull off-using nothing but their bodies-are enough to get anyone's jaw to drop.

Well, you don't need to be an Olympic-level athlete (or even know how to do a back-flip) to get some of the best-body-ever benefits of gymnastics training. We tapped Nike Master Trainer and former USA gymnast Rebecca Kennedy for 12 get-fit moves to steal from the gymnastics playbook.

How it works: Do each move for 30 seconds, resting 20-30 seconds between each one. At the end of the 12 moves, rest for 60-90 seconds, then repeat one or two more times.

You'll need: A mat (especially if you're on a hard surface) and a pair of yoga blocks or parallel/parallette bars.

1. Hurdle

A. Stand with feet together, core tight, and arms stretched straight overhead.

B. Step forward with the left foot, punch the floor with the right foot, and explode off toes to jump in the air. Keep legs straight and toes pointed during the jump, forming a hollow-body position in the air. Land with feet together in starting position.

C. Step forward with the right foot, punch with the left foot, explode off toes, and land. Repeat alternating feet for 30 seconds.

2. Hollow Hold to Jackknife

A. Start laying face up on the floor with legs straight and arms extended overhead. Press the tailbone and lower back down into the floor, and lift arms and legs. Hold this position for 4 seconds.

B. Squeeze abs to lift straight arms and legs up to fold body in half, with hands and feet reaching towards the ceiling. Lower back to hollow hold without touching hands or feet to the floor. Maintain contact between the lower back and the floor. Repeat once more.

C. Continue alternating holding hollow body position for 4 seconds, then perform 2 jackknives. Repeat for 30 seconds.

3. Tuck Jump Stick

A. Stand with feet together and arms by sides. Keeping chest lifted, swing arms up and overhead while jumping off the floor. Pull knees up to chest in a tuck position.

B. Land back on the floor with bent knees to absorb the shock when landing. Immediately swing arms back down and then up to perform the next jump. Repeat for 30 seconds.

4. Bear Plank with Butt Kicks

Start on hands and knees on the floor. Engage abs to lift knees off the floor. This is bear plank position.

Beginner: Kick one foot up at a time to touch heel to glutes. Quickly alternate between kicks so that you're hopping from foot to foot. Try to get you hips higher and higher during the kicks.

Intermediate: Kick both feet up to touch heels to glutes, then return to bear plank. Immediately spring back off toes to kick heels up again. Try to get hips over shoulders.

Advanced: Kick both feet up to touch heels to glutes, lifting hips to be directly above shoulders. Lower to bear plank. Repeat.

5. Crab Reach

A. Start sitting with feet flat on the floor and knees pointed towards the ceiling. Place right-hand flat on floor behind right hip, fingers facing backwards. Reach left arm forward, palm face-up, arm straight, and resting on left knee.

B. Press hips up and reach left arm back to stretch behind the head. Let the head hang to look backwards.

C. Lower hips and arm back down to starting position. Repeat for 15 seconds on each side.

6. Candlestick to Stand

A. Start standing with feet together and arms by sides at the front of the mat.

B. Lower down to seated position with feet flat on floor. Continue rolling back onto the mat, with arms palms pressing into floor. Roll hips up over shoulders and extend legs straight towards ceiling in a hollow body position, squeezing glutes and abs.

C. Immediately roll hips back down, and return to seated position with feet flat on floor. Squeeze abs and lean forward, reaching arms straight forward over knees.

D. Begin the next roll by lowering back down onto the mat, pressing palms into the floor, and rolling hips and toes up over shoulders. To make it more advanced, come all the way back up to standing in between each roll. Repeat for 15 seconds.

7. L Hold

A. Sit on floor with legs extended straight out in front. Place yoga blocks directly next to hips, under shoulders.

B. Place hands on yoga blocks and push directly into them to lift butt off floor. Keep chest lifted and do not let shoulders shrug.

C. Try lifting one foot a few inches off the floor and hold the position. To increase the difficulty, lift both feet off the floor and hold. Try to hold the position for 30 seconds.

8. Scale

A. Stand with feet together, arms outstretched in a T position.

B. Hinge forward at the hips and lift left leg straight behind you. Keep back straight and core tight. Try to get upper body and left leg parallel to the floor. Hold for 15 seconds on each side.

9. Push-Up to Plank Jackknife

A. Start in high plank position, shoulders over wrists and core tight. Lower into a push-up.

B. Push chest away from the floor to return to high plank. Then squeeze abs to jump feet in towards hands and lift hips into a pike position. Then jump immediately back out into plank. Lower down into a push-up to begin the next rep.

C. To modify, don't jump feet as far in. Avoid bending the knees. Repeat for 30 seconds.

10. Handstand

Beginners: Wall Walks

Start in high plank position with feet touching a wall. Slowly walk feet up the wall and walk hands backwards until hips are above the head. To come out of the handstand, slowly walk hands out and feet back down to high plank. Try to hold for 30 seconds at the top.

Intermediate: Leg Kicks

Fold forward and place palms on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart and shoulders over wrists. Kick left leg straight up into the air, trying to point it straight overhead and to get hips above head. Push off right leg to help left leg reach the top. Repeat for 15 seconds on each side, trying to hold at the top.

Advanced: Handstand

Fold forward and place palms on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart and shoulders over wrists. Kick left leg straight up into the air, trying to point it straight overhead and to get hips above head. Push off right leg to help left leg reach the top, then extend right leg to reach straight up. Keep abs engaged and toes pointed and fingers spread wide on the floor. Try to hold for 30 seconds.

11. Pike Press

A. Start with feet together and palms flat on the floor. Place palms about 12 inches in front of toes, with shoulders over wrists.

B. Lift heels and lean body forward over wrists, pulling lower abs towards spine. Hold for three seconds, then lower heels and lean weight back into feet. Repeat for 30 seconds.

12. Planche Push-Up

A. Start in a high plank position. Rock weight forward onto toes so shoulders are in front of wrists.​

B. Lower into a push-up, with elbows touching ribs. Press away from floor to return to high plank. Repeat for 30 seconds.