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Catching up on strength?

Discussion in 'Men's Artistic Gymnastics (MAG)' started by Pwicks, Jun 21, 2018.

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  1. Hello. My DS just turned 9yo and just finished his L5 year (1st time doing level 5). The coach keeps telling us we need to work on conditioning at home with him to improve his strength. My son is very flexible (this comes from his coach... I am relatively new to gymnastics so i wont begin to comment on this myself) but most of the other boys tend to be stronger but much less flexible. He usually places in pbar and lately on floor and mushroom. So he's not at the bottom, but he was the only level 5 on his team not to have a muscle up on the rings (he kept reminding me that it was a bonus but that and sloppy form bc of lack of strength put him far apart from the others on rings)

    Problem is he already practices 5 days a week 3hrs a day. So during the school year its nearly impossible to get in extra conditioning. He's the "responsible" quiet one among the younger boys on the team (responsible is the coach's word ). Is it possible for him to "catch up " to the others in strength?
  2. yes. My son was the strongest on his team; in levels 4 and 5 this was pretty obvious. Then when other things became more important he has become more of an overage gymnast. Trust the coach and his ranks will get higher. From your description, I think about a certain boy in our region that in levels 4 and 5 he was near the bottom, but now in level 9 he is considered a person who could at some point be a part of the national team.
  3. To me, this is a complicated issue for a 9-year-old. If this were my son I would start by asking him if he wished to build strength outside of the gym. If he said no I would support him if he said yes I would assist him. If the answer was yes we would simply do two things a day to start. I would assist him in completing one set of pull-ups to failure and one set of dips to failure each morning.this would take 4 minutes. In my opinion, he needs nothing more he already does much in practice 5 days a week. His upper body strength will increase tremendously if he is dedicated.
    jenjean70 and Jard.the.gymnast like this.
  4. I agree. I think normal kid playing at this age is fine, and kids will develop strength as they grow. SOme get it faster than others. HIs will come, and he wil lbe able to get this skills with good form. I am not sure I would have him do too much at home. Parents adding to their work load is a recipe for burnout. NOw, if the coach gives homework, that might be a way for him to gain some strength. I would avoid weights at this age and just do play activities that will help with strength if you want.
    jenjean70 likes this.
  5. FWIW, my 9yo's coach had been saying "He just needs more strength" for the entire year. At the end-of-season wrap-up, I mentioned that DS is still kind of young and not mature enough to pro-actively ask for an at-home training plan, but if one was offered, I was pretty sure that he'd take the coach up on it.
    Apparently, a lot of parents said similar things, so the coach made at-home training plans for each of the groups. The first month included handstand pushups on the parallettes, v sit-ups, squat jumps, and a "gymnast choice".
    His strength improved greatly after doing this just one month.
    We have a second plan that we've been supposed to be doing this month, but we're visiting family in Japan. My MIL is a literal hoarder and there's no room for my son to really do any of the exercises.
  6. What kind of work outside the gym is the coach suggesting exactly? IMO 3 hour practices 5 days a week should provide ample time for conditioning/strength training during gym. I would check with your son and make sure there is no skimping/taking it easy when doing these exercises. My sons are also the "responsible" ones and sometimes that means the other kids are causing distractions and the whole team ends up not getting the exercise list or circuit or whatever completed. Also check with the coach to see how well the boys are being supervised and getting form corrections while they do strength training. Doing things half-way, improper form, skimping on reps etc. will hurt progress. Also a very flexible person may not even realize they are not working their muscles correctly unless they are carefully instructed and reinforced in getting a great form.

    On the other hand, doing some pushups when he first wakes up each morning probably cannot hurt, and will not take much time.

    As far as catching up, yes of course. It is a progressive sport and every human body is unique in how it progresses and grows. And the strength to do the strength elements is something that naturally tends to come much later. Sometimes I think we forget this is a sport for the ADULT male body. Pommel gets all the attention for being super tough, but rings are also a very hard element that requires a great deal of strength. There is a reason the muscle up is a bonus. Because not every kid in the Level can be expected to do them.
  7. It sounds like your son is already getting a lot of work in during the week, so I don't know how much extra will help. That said, my son was struggling with strength and his coach actually typed up a two day strength rotation for him to complete at home. It only takes ten minutes if he's focusing and it's made a noticable difference over his usual home practice of specific moves and of course team practice. They only practice three days a week at the gym so he is getting less practice than your son but that ten minutes really did make a difference. It was one day of upper body, things like push-ups and wall handstands and V-ups and pushup planks, and one day of core like wall sits, hollow rocks, sit ups, etc.
  8. No matter how hard they work, there's only so much they can gain before puberty. At some point if they develop skills quickly, they just get to this point where they have to hang around and wait for the testosterone fairy to come. My son's coach says there's no point in really pushing hard on strength training before the body is ready to accept it, as that's just a recipe for overuse injuries. If he's getting all the isometric stuff he can handle, that's about all you can do. It will come in time, but for some kids, it just takes a long time. (Parent of three late bloomers here, ugh.)
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