I was recently watching Fit Tv, and saw a special on training for gymnastics.
It suprises me how strong, coordinated, and muscular these people are.
Anyway, there was a segment on their weight training. A particular exercise they used, looked like a straight arm fly. Basically you were lying down, in dumbell press position. With a overhand grip, and straight arms, you would lower the dumbell straight to your sides and bring it back up.
I tried this yesterday and had a strong pump in my biceps and shoulders. This Exercise + their straight arm ring work, make me believe this is what causes their development in biceps and shoulders.
Very interesting. This morning I just read an article on gymnastic exercises by Christopher Sommer interview by Chris Shurgart. All muscle no iron. Started to do the plauche on the keyboard. I tried but could'nt do it but I'm going to stick with it. They are very impressive.
Their biceps are huge because they work the arms in disadvantaged leverage positions (IE, in the stretched position in the case of the biceps). Look at iron crosses and the position it puts the pecs, bis, and shoulders in. Rings are brutal (especially combined with many hours per week of practice, like mentioned)! And you wonder why they're so strong and muscular...
Not to mention the amount of abdominal and lower back strength required to hold all those crazy positions. Sommers said most gymnasts can deadlift at least 2x their bodyweight on their first deadlift attempts, and one kid he trained pulled 400 lbs at a bodyweight of 135.
The one thing that is disproportionate in gymnasts is leg strength. Mostly (according to Coach Sommer) they train with bodyweight squats and single leg squats.
the exercise described is a prepatory exercise for the planche and maltese. you can also do it standing up, holding dumbells with palms facing forward, lifting your arms straight in front of you overhead.
in regards to leg training, i dont believe "bodyweight squats and single leg squats" does it justice. coach sommer once posted a progression that included jumping one leg squats for distance and height, and i believe also weighted one legs.
the whole 2x bodyweight deadlifts are not unusual, at my school when i was younger we didnt have free weights until year 11, we just had these rubbish multi-gym things, when we got into the iron in year eleven the bloke who squated the most weight was none other than a gymnast.