T Nation

Gymnasts Benefit From Strength Training?

ASAIK gymnasts spend VERY long hours every week training their events, but do nothing outside of the gymnasium (I can’t really blame them since 25+ hours a week is normal). Everything they do is event related (with the exception of stretching, I suppose). This is certainly not the case in any other sport I can think of.

Now, if you take a running back, a point guard, a pitcher, etc…and make him stronger, BAM! better player. Would this work for gymnasts as well? Is their training something less than optimal? Should future elite gymnasts have a strength program incorporated??

Discuss.

I think a program for a gymnast should be focused on structural health, recovery, and POWER. More explosive gymnasts probably will be able to complete more difficult manuevers, etc. Just my two cents…

It’s kind of hard to determine how to fix something that isn’t broken, especialy if it wins world games and olympics.

In cases of olympic and elite level athletes, poor or misguided strength training in place of or added to what they are already doing right could do more harm than good.

I don;t think so alot of gymnastics IS strength training only useing the bodyweight so you get technique and the type of strength needed at the same time any lifting would take away from that since at the top level they are doing as much as possible.

Yes.

I think considering the knowledge and experience some countries have with traning gymnasts, if strength training made them better then they’d be doing it.

Or maybe T-Nation DOES have all the answers…

Doing a handstand pushup, resistance wise is probably more substantial than a weighted military press or btn press.

Gymnasts ARE doing strength training.

Body weight training is effective, much of the angles they perform their body weight exercises are more physically demanding than what weight training would provide.

Recovery time is extremely important in gymnastics as well, so I doubt weight training of the sort used by football players would be beneficial.

Many gymnasts do weight train, there is a book on it. I think overall it is usually discouraged by many coaches however.

Gymnastic practices are ruled largely by tradition and not quite as scientific as you might think. Strength and conditioning approach relies largely on the coaching staff (for some reason gymnastics coaches are egomanic’s and very difficult to work with), many male gymnasts do olympic lifting.

Coaches bludgeon athletes into shape, you dont hear about the ones that fail and fall by the way side

The thing to remember is when a gymnast finishes their competition career, they have numerous structural imbalances especially in PC, crippling joint pain (wrists and shoulders primarily)

despite being upheld as pinnacles of performance it comes at a price.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
T-Nation DOES have all the answers…[/quote]

Fixed.

But seriously - consider how much ignorance there is in virtualy any well established discipline these days.

Consider how many high level athletes still use linear periodisation religiously.

Perhaps in the case of high level (i.e. olympic level?) athletes there are exceptions… but many intermediate and “advanced” athletes could still benefit from additional strength training.

I have connections with a number of gymnastics training facilities in the UK and for the best part the supplemental training is made up of strength-endurance, endurance-strength and a bucketload of plyometric exercises for the generic gymnast - with the two former only for upper body dominant disciplines such as the rings.

High repetition pullups, chinups and dips are all very well but are hardly the most efficient methods of strength development.

Or perhaps this is just the case in the UK… which would explain our past olympic performances! Haha :smiley:

Yes, because linear periodization is proven not to work…

[quote]daraz wrote:
Yes, because linear periodization is proven not to work…[/quote]

… because its been proven there are more efficient methods of periodization then western linear.

I did not state it does not work - simply there are more efficient methods to be used.

Simply doing 100m sprint repeats will have a possitive effect on sprint technique and performance in a relatively untrained individual for a while… but there are better ways to go about this which will most likely have superior results.

All about the conjugate :smiley:

[quote]powersavant wrote:
ASAIK gymnasts spend VERY long hours every week training their events, but do nothing outside of the gymnasium (I can’t really blame them since 25+ hours a week is normal). Everything they do is event related (with the exception of stretching, I suppose). This is certainly not the case in any other sport I can think of.

Now, if you take a running back, a point guard, a pitcher, etc…and make him stronger, BAM! better player. Would this work for gymnasts as well? Is their training something less than optimal? Should future elite gymnasts have a strength program incorporated??

Discuss.[/quote]

I think this has to do with the fact that the amount of time required to learn many gymnastic moves leaves little time for anything else.

[quote]benmoore wrote:
Hanley wrote:
T-Nation DOES have all the answers…

Fixed.

But seriously - consider how much ignorance there is in virtualy any well established discipline these days.

Consider how many high level athletes still use linear periodisation religiously.

Perhaps in the case of high level (i.e. olympic level?) athletes there are exceptions… but many intermediate and “advanced” athletes could still benefit from additional strength training.

I have connections with a number of gymnastics training facilities in the UK and for the best part the supplemental training is made up of strength-endurance, endurance-strength and a bucketload of plyometric exercises for the generic gymnast - with the two former only for upper body dominant disciplines such as the rings.

High repetition pullups, chinups and dips are all very well but are hardly the most efficient methods of strength development.

Or perhaps this is just the case in the UK… which would explain our past olympic performances! Haha :D[/quote]

Definite amen to ignorance through tradition… I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a martial arts instructor tell his students to “bounce up and down” during a butterfly stretch. To add to this, this static passive/ballistic stretching is almost always being done prior to their main training.

So what happens after they tear said muscle? They stretch it non-stop, elongating recovery to an excruciatingly long number of years, if it ever fully recovers at all.

I’m assuming they continue this because it’s as much a part of “the way” as any other thing they teach…

Most gymnasts actually do SOME weight lifting. but its not their primary focus at all.

They dont need to, it doesn’t require the same neuromuscular coordination that they require.

while it’s beneficial its very low on their totem pole of strength and conditioning.

Doing a weighted chinup is EXTREMELY different from a 1 arm chin.

You have to take into account body awareness, motor unit recruitment and all the other unique cns adaptions that occur in gymnastic skills.

Perhaps our experience is different but very few coaches ive had the opportunity to train under or witness them train other athletes have them doing very much strength endurance work.

ive seen 1 arm negatives, parallette work, handstand pushups on rings, rope climbing, timed isometric holds… their work consist of holding more difficult positions for time, increasing repetitions (before increasing the difficulty of leveraged positions), and increasing the range of motion used in different skillsets (ie, handstand pushups on floor vs handstand pushups on parallettes).

The rate of injury i actually attribute to gymnastics being an inherently dangerous sport, placing the body in compromising situations, poor nutrition, and overuse rather than a failure in their strength training methodology.

You see similar lowerbody injuries in ballet as well where females are told to keep low bodyweight or bodyfat percentages and do so not using the smartest nutrition advice.

this isnt in all cases (ucla gymnastics for example has a team nutritionist who keeps track of their meals etc) but very few depending on their “level” are doing whats necessary to feed their body properly… and those habits tend to make it into the upper ranks unless forcefuly changed.

imo what they could benefit more from a T-Nation point of view is the use of BCAA’s, protien/carb drinks, pre;peri;and post workout nutrition, etc.

IMO, most athletes would benefit from a gymnastics progressions of bodyweight exercises before they should even be allowed to enter the weight room.

The weight room should be a privilege not a right. It will vary depending on athlete… i’m not expecting a 300lb lineman to do 1 arm pushups… but a corner back should have exceptional relative strength.

For me personally I train in MMA and exceptional relative strength is a great thing to have in my chosen sport… I’m getting one of these with my next paycheck

http://www.gymsupply.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=3391&HS=1

[quote]benmoore wrote:

Simply doing 100m sprint repeats will have a possitive effect on sprint technique and performance in a relatively untrained individual for a while… but there are better ways to go about this which will most likely have superior results.
[/quote]

poor example,

even elite level sprinters spend more time working on their sprint form than they will in the weight room. While a 100m runner won’t just run 100m the whole time but break it down into 10m sprints, or 1 leg bounding, etc…

likewise a gymnast wont just practice their whole routine but break down one skill at a time, holding their planche for period of time and making sure the body lines are correct.

I don’t have that much espect for gymnastics, because by now I’ve met a lot of guys who did that sport in their youth and were forced to retire because of injuries. Many of these will nag them for the rest of their lives.

The training, is often ridiculously dangerous and if you don’t have luck, the right size, genes, bones, luck etc., you’ll be unmercifully sorted out, through some injury.
If you are lucky and actually profit from the training, you’ll have some serious strength and bodyweigt skills.

But I’d never send my kids to this sport. Boxing, Judo, Wrestling etc, in a heartbeat; gymnastics, no way.

P.S. Most coaches don’t know shit, at least here in Germany. Endless stretching, endless cardio, weighted depth jumps …

[quote]Schwarzfahrer wrote:
The training, is often ridiculously dangerous and if you don’t have luck, the right size, genes, bones, luck etc., you’ll be unmercifully sorted out, through some injury.
If you are lucky and actually profit from the training, you’ll have some serious strength and bodyweigt skills.

[/quote]

all sports sort you out in that way unless you’re exceptional. Last time I checked you needed to be big for a lineman, and tall for a basketball player. Or else you will get hurt, humilated, and other wise sorted out from your sport.

Gymnastics guarantee’s that your child will be exposed to all sorts of different athletic stimulus, jumping, grabbing, climbing, rolling, flipping, landing, etc… lets not even talk about the sick level of kinesthetic awareness.

perhaps its just the country but gymnastics has done nothing but help my athletic development. There are usually noncompetitive gymnastics programs your child can be involved in that won’t push them with such a competitive spirit and will just allow them to play.

i’ve had worse injuries from jiujitsu than gymnastics… Granted i agree that its not the best sport for you long term but you guys must have some serious horror stories to be so anti gymnastics

[quote]benmoore wrote:
daraz wrote:
Yes, because linear periodization is proven not to work…

… because its been proven there are more efficient methods of periodization then western linear.

I did not state it does not work - simply there are more efficient methods to be used.

Simply doing 100m sprint repeats will have a possitive effect on sprint technique and performance in a relatively untrained individual for a while… but there are better ways to go about this which will most likely have superior results.

All about the conjugate :D[/quote]

I’m sorry, what?? Your posts so far in this thread have completely stunk of ignorance.

Linear periodization doesn’t work, and if only the top international coaches weren’t so rooted in the past they might be able to produce top level athletes?

Hanley, dont bother lol…

[quote]Wayland wrote:
The thing to remember is when a gymnast finishes their competition career, they have numerous structural imbalances especially in PC[/quote]

Really? Since when…? lol every gymnast chick I know (and i know a TON) have great posterior chains lol