Flexibility focused stretching games for beginner rhythmic gymnasts

PhD S.R. Sharifullina1
Y.K. Zhestkova1
PhD, Associate Professor, senior trainer of the Republic of Tajikistan O.A. Razzhivin1
S.S. Chernyshova1
1Elabuga Institute of Kazan Federal University, Elabuga

Keywords: game-like method, flexibility, stretching games, rhythmic gymnastics, exercises.

Background. Competitive success in the modern rhythmic gymnastics depends on how efficient the training systems are in every aspect including the flexibility training components [5, p. 59]. Modern trainings systems widely apply high technologies, sophisticated tools, equipment, consumables, biomedical functions and physical fitness tests [4, p. 482] for progress. Many national researchers including A.V. Levatskaya, A.G. Nazarova, Yu.M. Portnov and G.N. Pshenichnikova have studied the flexibility training issues in the modern underage/ junior rhythmic gymnastics sport.

Having analyzed the existing flexibility training technologies, we opted for the flexibility training stretching game model for preschoolers based on the A.G. Nazarova’ method. This stretching game model is dominated by the ‘tranquil dynamic/ static stretching exercises for the limb/ spine ligaments and joints to prevent and correct postural disorders with profound healing effects on the whole body’ [1, p. 25].

Objective of the study was to test benefits of a new flexibility building stretching game model for beginner 5-6 year old rhythmic gymnasts.

Methods and structure of the study. The study was run at Sports School #1 in Elabuga, with 5-6 year old girls (n=30) trained in rhythmic gymnastics groups sampled for the model testing experiment and split up into Experimental and Control Groups of 15 people each – tested virtually equal by the prior qualification tests.

Pre-experimental physical fitness tests run in January 2019 were as follows: 5s sitting forward lean test to rate the spine flexibility; supine gymnastics bridge test to rate spine motility; left/ right/ front splits test to rate hip joint motility; and jump rope twist test to rate shoulder girdle flexibility. Individual performance in the first three tests was rated on a 5-point scale as excellent, good, fair, satisfactory and poor (5.0-4.5; 4.4-4.0; 3.9-3.5; 3.4-3.0 and 2.9-minus points, respectively); and in the last test it was rated in cm.

As provided by the valid Federal Sports Training Standards item 40 applicable to rhythmic gymnastics, the general and special physical fitness test benchmarks for qualifiers to the beginner rhythmic gymnastics groups are the following: see Table 1 [3].

Table 1. General and special physical fitness test benchmarks for qualifiers to the beginner rhythmic gymnastics groups

Tested qualities/ skills

Tests

Scores

Flexibility

5s sitting forward lean

5 points: tight floor contact with straight legs;

4 points: deep lean with hands behind the feet, with straight legs; 

3 points: medium lean with hands reaching  the feet, with straight legs

Flexibility

Standing gymnastics bridge

5 points: high bridge with the hands on the shins;

4 points: good bridge with hands resting tight to the heels; 

3 points: fair bridge with the hands 2-6cm far from the heels

Spine flexibility

Fixed knee bridge with hands on feet

5 points: high bridge with the straight arms and tight legs;

4 points: the same with bent arms; 

3 points: the same with bent arms and loose legs

Hip joint flexibility

Left/ right splits

5 points: right/ left thigh tight on the floor with straight pelvis;

4 points: the same with the thigh 1-5cm above the floor; 

3 points: the same with the thigh 6-10cm above the floor;

Hip joint flexibility

Front splits

5 points: thighs tight on the floor and lined up;

4 points: the same with the thighs imperfectly lined up; 

3 points: the same with the groin up to 10cm far from the line

The new model testing experiment was run in January to June 2019, with the Experimental group trained twice a week for 45 min. The warm-up part included general developmental exercises for large muscle groups to make the musculoskeletal system fit for the further flexibility-focused stretching games. The core part of each Experimental group training session was dominated by active stretching games including 10-11 muscle-group-specific exercises, namely: 2-3 abdominals training exercises; 4-5 dorsal muscles training exercises; 3-4 leg muscles training exercises; and 1-2 shoulder girdle training exercises.

A special priority in the Experimental group trainings was given to the following quest games: “Journey of funny frogs” with the gymnasts mimicking frog movements and jumps and facing special problems like “Jump over the ditch” (from a deep squat); "Kayaking frogs" (to train shoulder joints and ligaments with a jump rope); plus role games, e.g. “Visiting the Zoo” with elements of fairy-tale situations and puzzles like “How does an ostrich hide its head in the sand?”, “Can we curl up like the hedgehogs?”, “What does a cobra look like?”; with the gymnasts expected to mimic movements of every animal.

Every Experimental group training session was designed to both work out every muscle group and master their sequential conditioning skills by a variety of active games including “Stormy sea”, “Make a figure”, “The plane takes off,” “Heron,” etc., with the children taking fixed postures to train the spine and hip joints. Each training session was finalized by the passive flexibility focused exercises. The children’s families were recommended to complement the trainings by the following daily practices at home: repeated springing practices; maximal-amplitude practices; amplitude-stepping swinging practices etc. [2, p. 8].

Results and discussion. We tested the group progresses by the post-experimental tests after the six-month training model testing experiment: see Table 2. The Experimental group versus Control Group progresses in the pre- versus post-experimental tests were as follows: in the 5s sitting forward lean test, the Experimental group progress was 0.2 points better (0.6 versus 0.4 points, respectively); in the supine gymnastics bridge post-experimental test, the Experimental and Control Group scored 4.1 and 4.2 points, respectively. In the right splits test, the Control group scored 4.5 points, i.e. 0.4 points higher than the Experimental group. In the front splits test, the both groups were tested good with 0.1 point difference. And in the jump rope twist test the Experimental group made progress of 2cm that was 1cm better than in the Control Group.

Table 2. Flexibility building stretching game model testing experiment: pre- versus post-experimental test data

Tests

Control Group

EG

Pre-exp.

Post-exp.

Pre-exp.

Post-exp.

Sitting forward lean

3,900 0,687

4,167 0,556

3,833 0,488

4,233 0,530

Gymnastics bridge

3,800 0,493

4,067 0,495

3,900 0,507

4,233 0,458

Shoulder twists

22,600 1,639

20,600 1,502

22,800 1,740

20,867 1,598

Right splits

3,833 0,645

4,067 0,495

4,000 0,681

4,367 0,581

Left splits

3,633 0,442

3,833 0,309

3,467 0,399

3,8 0,414

Front splits

3,867 0,55

4,333 0,362

3,833 0,673

4,4 0,387

As demonstrated by the above data, the Experimental and Control Group made progress of 6% and 4% in the 5s sitting forward lean test; equal 3% progresses in the supine gymnastics bridge test; and 6% versus 5% progresses, respectively, in the right splits test. The Experimental group showed twice as little progress in the left splits test (the Control Group made progress of 4% in the test). And in the front splits test, the Experimental and Control Group made progresses of 4% and 6%, respectively. The Experimental group progress in the shoulder girdle motility test was estimated at 20% versus 10% in the Control Group.

Conclusion. The new flexibility building stretching game model for beginner 5-6 year old rhythmic gymnasts was tested beneficial as verified by the Experimental group progress test rates being higher than in the Control Group in every test save for the front splits test. It should be emphasized that the Experimental group showed much higher interest in the trainings facilitated by the animals-mimicking stretching games – that were noted to greatly encourage the trainees. The new stretching game model may be recommended for application in the flexibility trainings of the beginner rhythmic gymnastics groups.

References

  1. Nazarova O.M. Metodika provedeniya zanyatiy po khudozhestvennoy gimnastike s detmi 5-6 let [Rhythmic gymnastics training methodology for 5-6 year-olds]. Metodicheskaya razrabotka dlya trenera. Moscow: RSAPE publ., 2011. 39 p.
  2. Federalny standart sportivnoy podgotovki po vidu sporta khudozhestvennaya gimnastika: Prikaz Ministerstva sporta RF ot 5 fevralya 2013 g. no. 40 [Federal sports training standard for rhythmic gymnastics: Order of the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation of February 5, 2013 no. 40]. Rossiyskaya gazeta. 2013. October 21. [Electronic resource]. Available at: https://rg.ru/2013/10/21/gimnastika-site-dok.html
  3. Shalavina A.S., Shafikova N.Yu., Sergeeva N.B. Razvitie gibkosti u studentov [Flexibility training in students]. Kazan, Kazan University publ., 2016. 39 p.

Corresponding author: SRSharifullina@kpfu.ru

Abstract

Objective of the study was to improve the methodology of flexibility development at the initial stage of training of junior rhythmic gymnasts aged 5-6 years through the application of the stretching game elements.
Methods and structure of the study. The study was carried out at the premises of the municipal budgetary institution "Sports School No. 1" of the Elabuga municipal district of the Republic of Tatarstan. Sampled for the study were the 5-6 year-old girls engaged in rhythmic gymnastics. The Experimental and Control Groups were made, homogeneous in terms of physical development indices, 15 subjects each. Physical exercises to determine the level of development of flexibility were selected as tests.

The new flexibility building stretching game model for beginner 5-6 year old rhythmic gymnasts was tested beneficial as verified by the Experimental group progress test rates being higher than in the Control Group in every test save for the front splits test. It should be emphasized that the Experimental group showed much higher interest in the trainings facilitated by the animals-mimicking stretching games – that were noted to greatly encourage the trainees. The new stretching game model may be recommended for application in the flexibility trainings of the beginner rhythmic gymnastics groups.