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Hours in the gym?

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canadiangymmom

Active Member
Jun 26, 2006
566
Ontario, Canada
With all the recent introductions, I've noticed a big difference in the nuber of training hours. I'd love to compare a bit.

My daughter is in a pre-team type program and will be competing as a level 4 this winter. She's almost 8 and trains 9 hours a week.

How does this compare to what others are doing?

Canadian gym mom
 
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gracefulone

Guest
I think I'm the only non-club person here. I do YMCA. Everyone (level 3-9) trains between 5-7.5 hours a week. It is required to do 5, and some make the choice to train more. I can't beacuase of cheerleading, but I do sprots-specific wprkouts on the side and open gyms.
 

gymbabisMom

Parent/Coach
Jan 8, 2006
178
Ahwahnee, CA
Gymbabi trains 4 hours 4 days a week. She should be doing 5 days now because she's training for level 8, but we live an hours drive away, so coach takes pity on us. Plus Gymbabi gets more out of her 16 hours a week than most of the girls get out thiers. If it wasn't so far, I'd definitely take her the 5th day.
 
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Megley

Guest
My daughter just turned 5 and is in preteam. They work out twice a week for 3 hours - so a total of 6 hours. She's too young to compete this year even if she gets all the skills she needs, but she will move up to Level 4 next year and the Level 4s are in the gym 12 hours per week. I know the Level 5s at our gym are practicing 16 hours a week with an option for an additional 4 hours if they want to do it. I think after that the hours get pretty crazy and I know a lot of kids can't handle it and wind up dropping out. I don't know if it's the same at other gyms, but there are decreasing numbers of girls as the levels get higher. I'm sure this is due in part to talent but probably also in part to the number of hours the girls are required to practice to compete at those levels. As it is, my DDs practice finishes at 8 p.m., which is tough. She's in preschool so no homework yet, but I can see issues with that arising when she gets into 1st Grade and beyond.
 

gymbabisMom

Parent/Coach
Jan 8, 2006
178
Ahwahnee, CA
The level 5's that work out 20 hours a week are the ones that score 37 all arounds at every meet. Personally, I think that is way to many hours for a kid to work out at that level. Especially when your talking about kids under 13. It can cause problems like Severs syndrome (heel pain), Osgood Schlaters (knee pain) and elbow problems. These kinds of problems are fairly particular to gymnasts and they are all caused by to much repetitive torque and cuncussion on growth plates. Not to mention that fact that kids just burn out because they can't have any life outside of gymnastics. Kristen (gymbabi) has had issues with both severs (working out 12 hours a week) and an elbow fracture (working out 16) both were growth plate injuries. Her growth plates are just now about half closed at 15 (we actually had a series of hand ex-rays to check this), her slow maturation is due in part to the hours she works out. I wouldn't be in any hurry to get my little ones up to 20 hours a week.
 
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gracefulone

Guest
This is very interesting for me to here about. I've always been in the relaxed YMCA program and some of the hours just fascinate me.
 
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Megley

Guest
Most of those Level 5s are 7 and 8 years old so they are still very young. I have mixed feelings about the hours. My DD loves gym and spends a lot of time at home doing handstands, walkovers and the like, but that's a lot less structured than hours in the gym. I just found out from a friend whose daughter is a 6 year old Level 4 that they raised the Level 4s to 14 hours a week, which seems like a lot to me. It makes sense that the risk of injury goes up the more hours they are in the gym. I guess we will be confronted with the issue next year.
 

gymmom

New Member
Oct 7, 2006
8
Here are the levels and the hours at my gym...

Preteam 9 hours
Level 3 9 hours
Level 4 12-16 hours
Level 5 21 hours
Level 6 21- 27 hours (this is when they practice before school & after)
Level 7 30+

Two a days are optional and by invitation only. My dd is a level 4 and practices the 16 hours. However, I am considering moving her to the 12 hours. She seems to struggle a little to keep up with the other girls in her group. She just turned 8 and half of her group is 11 and up. The older girls seem to learn skills faster and because of that the group as a whole moves fast.

Gymmom
 
for my gym it is:

Level four - 3 hours
level 5- 13.5 hours
I am not sure about levle 6 and up.

there is a gym taht is a mayjor competitior of ours and there schedule is

levle 4- 20 hours
levle 5- 30 hours (about ten to five hous with every levle that you progress)
 
Most of those Level 5s are 7 and 8 years old so they are still very young. I have mixed feelings about the hours. My DD loves gym and spends a lot of time at home doing handstands, walkovers and the like, but that's a lot less structured than hours in the gym. I just found out from a friend whose daughter is a 6 year old Level 4 that they raised the Level 4s to 14 hours a week, which seems like a lot to me. It makes sense that the risk of injury goes up the more hours they are in the gym. I guess we will be confronted with the issue next year.
Yes I some waht agree with this. But my Team only spends 9 hours and one of my girls has 4 spranes of her right side (thank god it is her bad leg.) one in her ankle, her knee, her wrist. and she complains of her back hurting.
 

JBS

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This thread really scares me. 30 hours a week for a level 7 is too much. Young bodies just can't handle this many hours...and what about a life. When I was 15-18 years old I worked out 24 hours per week plus meets and high school football. I had 7 stress fractures in one leg and 8 in the other. I was sidelined for close to 3 months.

Anyways...I won't go on with my opinion. Just do me a favor and be careful. If you or your child is having overuse pain and injuries all the time...you may want to cut back a bit. Sometimes less is more.
 
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gymmom

New Member
Oct 7, 2006
8
Very good advice. Although our gym does offer a lot of hours, they are flexible and try to work around each girl individualy. Last year the gym had a lot of girls drop out because they couldnt handle the mandatory hours. The coaches became more flexible with schedules and the retention of gymnasts has been amazing. Our level 4 group has 15 girls in it.

Some parents dont seem to mind their girls being at the gym a lot. Several of the level 3 parents even pay for extra private lessons because they need childcare in the evening. So you have a five/six year old in the gym 12 hours.

Good advice, though!
 

JBS

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USAG emailed us this survey.

Here is the annual gym survey summary. Around 300 gyms completed this survery. There is a part about team hours in the middle of the summary (I highlited it in red).

Thank you to David Holcomb and USAG for this survey. Ask your gym club owner if they take the time to fill out this survey every year, if they don't...encourage them.

The Member Club Survey: Selected Results

by David Holcomb

During the formative years of the gymnastics club industry, the years following the Gold Medal performances of Olga and Nadia, and later during the explosive growth after Mary Lou won Gold in 1984, most gymnastics clubs were opened by gymnastics coaches or would-be coaches who wanted to develop competitive gymnasts. The typical gymnastics coach/gym-owner would find a warehouse with high ceilings in an area supporting only modest lease payments and one truck-load of gymnastics equipment later, a gymnastics club was born.

A surprising number of these early clubs survive. The owners who opened their doors counting on love to get them through (love of gymnastics and children) discovered that love alone did not always keep the lights on and heat going. In fact, many discovered that their love of coaching was making it very difficult to keep their doors open. The large open space required for gymnastics training was often filled with gymnasts who trained many hours but who were not paying much for the privilege.

What to do?

Gymnastics schools had always offered gymnastics classes to school age children. How else were they to attract new gymnasts to the team? But even the most flip-obsessed soon realized that it was the recreational students that allowed them to pay the rent each month. It was not long before the more forward thinking gyms were offering gymnastics training to preschool age students. Dance and martial arts programs were a logical next step. Soon cheerleaders were not only learning their back handsprings at the local gym but the gyms were fielding their own all-star cheer squads. The gyms had to grow bigger to allow room for all these programs and they had to move up-market so that they were closer to the families with the income levels necessary to pay for all this youth sports training.

In the beginning all of this growth and expansion served mainly to allow the gyms to survive while the gym owner/coach indulged in the joy of teaching double backs. But a funny thing happened. These additional programs and larger facilities required some actual business expertise to make it all work.

Formerly viewed as a marginal activity restricted to the gymnastics savvy, the local gymnastics school is evolving to become more of a mainstream phenomenon in the children’s sports and fitness industry. And with that evolution the gym-owner/coach was often forced with a choice: either step back from the team to learn and master the business centered skills required to keep the gym open, or coach the team and hire someone else to run the business end of the gym.

This brief tumble through the last 30 years of the gymnastics club scene in the United States is the story told in the results of the 2006 USA Gymnastics Member Club survey. The survey was offered on-line to the owners of over 1,600 gymnastics schools that are Member Clubs of USA Gymnastics. Selected results of the survey are presented below, more detailed results will be distributed to the Member Clubs, and complete results will be available to all who completed the survey.

The survey results:

- more women (55%) than men (45%) own gymnastics clubs in the USA.

- most of the gym owners (75%) are under the age of 50 but only a third are under the age of 40.

- most gym owners (70%) have earned a college degree. Only a quarter have earned an advanced degree.

- most gym owners were gymnasts (78%) but only a third claim to have been an accomplished gymnast.

- most gym owners coach the team either not at all or they coach fewer than 10 hours a week.

- 80% of gym owners think that owning a gymnastics school is a good business to be in, over 90% believe that their gym school will continue to grow, and the vast majority of the gym owners (88%) say they would open a gym again if they had it to do all over again.

- the average gymnastics school was opened 15 years ago.

- the average gymnastics facility is 15,175 sq/ft in size.

- most gyms (66%) are air-conditioned.

- the average national enrollment in 2005 was around 500 students. This is not peak enrollment, this is average enrollment during he course of the year.

- preschool classes averaged between 45 and 50 minutes in length, with 6-7 students in a class, at an average tuition of about $18.00 an hour. Class length did not vary much across the country but tuition levels varied greatly from less than half the national average to almost double the average

- entry-level, beginning classes for school-age students averaged about 65 minutes in length, with
8.5 students in a class, at an average tuition of about $13.00 an hour. Again, class length did not vary much at all but tuition levels varied greatly from less than half the national average to almost double the average

- teams vary widely (from half the average number of hours and/or tuition to almost double the averages). The averages are as follows:

Pre-Team 4 hours a wee $116.00 a month 7 or 8:1 ratio
Level 4 6 hours a week $148.00 a month 9 or 10:1 ratio
Level 5 8.75 hrs a week $175.00 a month 9 or 10:1 ratio
Level 6 11 hours a week $211.00 a month 8.5:1 ratio
Level 7 13.5 hrs a week $217.00 a month 8:1 ratio
Level 8 15 hours a week $230.00 a month 8:1 ratio
Level 9 16.5 hrs a week $250.00 a month 6.5:1 ratio
Level 10 18 hours a week $285.00 a month 6.5:1 ratio
Elite: not enough information: only 5 gyms out of the 300+ that responded had elite gymnasts.

The gym owners were asked about the features of their gyms that they felt contributed the most to the overall success of their gym. The gym owners felt that “open observation of all gym activity� was most critical. Apparently the days of not allowing the parents to watch their child’s training are over. But there is more at work here than merely appealing to the parent’s concerns over safety. Many gym owners realize that allowing the parents to watch every minute of every class is a great marketing tool. If the parents cannot see their boy’s eyes light up the first time he makes a back somersault without a spot, or see an entire group of little girls make a mad dash to be first in line for the back-handspring machine, or hear the voice of the coach praising the 4 year-olds for being so brave as they crossed the alligator pit- upside down- then how can these parents tell their friends and neighbors about all the great activities going on in the gym every single day of the week?

But we all know that even the best gymnasts fall off the beam on occasion and our gym owners recognize that the gymnastics club industry faces challenges. The top three were identified as lack of qualified teachers, Increased competition in kid’s sports, and generally poor economic conditions.

The survey also asked about the best business decision the gym owner had made in the past two years and the top responses centered on hiring talent, both in terms of business management and in gymnastics expertise, and in relocating and expanding their facilities. Bigger appears to be better as the gyms offer more programs and many gyms are relocating to the fast growing suburbs where young families can be easily found.

- the books most often recommended by the club owners for other club owners to read were the Bible and The E Myth, by Michael E. Gerber.

The survey asked the club owner’s opinions about the job that USA Gymnastics was doing and ways in which USA Gymnastics could help them even more. The results of that portion of the survey follow.

What the gym owners liked best about the work and activities of USA Gymnastics:

- the gym owners expressed their appreciation for the technical information provided by USAG, the web-site, regional and national congress, Technique Magazine, the Member Club program, the National Business Conference, the strong performances of the USA National Team, and the exposure of the top gymnasts on television.

What the gym owners wanted more of from USA Gymnastics:

- the gym owners wanted, first and foremost, additional educational materials and opportunities. This was far and away the most pervasive and all encompassing finding in the entire survey. The educational information sought by club owners was overwhelmingly centered on the non-competitive aspects of the gym club operations including preschool programs, school-age and recreation programs, fitness programs including the Tyson Fitness Challenge, cheerleading, trampoline and tumbling, as well as gym business information, and promotional activities such as television commercials and more television exposure. But the gym owners still wanted additional training and educational opportunities for all levels and disciplines within the competitive programs offered by and through USA Gymnastics. Of course, many also wanted fees lowered.

Final thoughts: over 300 gyms from 41 states responded to the survey. The gyms ranged from the very small (20 students) to the very large (over 2,500 students) and every size in between. The oldest gym responding opened in 1949, the most recent in June, 2006. Most of the gyms offered competitive gymnastics though many did not. What became clear while organizing and compiling the data and reading the written responses, often very detailed and long responses, was the passion that the gymnastics community has for their sport and for the children who attend our programs. The simple act of responding to the survey was a demonstration of this passion as it took close to an hour to answer all the questions with care. (I know, I know. I lied when I implied that it would only take 30 minutes.) Thanks to all who took the time to complete the survey. Thank you for what you bring to your community. And thank you most of all for what you provide to the children who walk through your doors.

David Holcomb
Owner, Buckeye Gymnastics
7159 Northgate Way
Westerville, OH 43082
(614) 895-1611
(614) 895-7644 (fax)
buckgymnast@aol.com
 
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Megley

Guest
As a parent, this is such a difficult issue. I want to do what is right for my child and I know that can't just be what she wants to do. If she had her way, she'd be there 40 hours a week! At the same time, the gym is going to require at least 12 hours a week at Level 4. I had a conversation with some of the other preteam moms about this whole issue and many of them said they simply aren't going to let their girls continue with the team program because it's too many hours. My DD really wants to keep going and wants to compete so we will at least try it. I am grateful for this thread, though, because it makes me realize how important it is to monitor for burnout and injury and to take a step back at the first sign.
 
As a parent, this is such a difficult issue. I want to do what is right for my child and I know that can't just be what she wants to do. If she had her way, she'd be there 40 hours a week! At the same time, the gym is going to require at least 12 hours a week at Level 4. I had a conversation with some of the other preteam moms about this whole issue and many of them said they simply aren't going to let their girls continue with the team program because it's too many hours. My DD really wants to keep going and wants to compete so we will at least try it. I am grateful for this thread, though, because it makes me realize how important it is to monitor for burnout and injury and to take a step back at the first sign.
When i told my team about our competitors who train nearly 12 hours longer a week than we do they told me that they wanted to train more often to beat this team that goes 20 hours a week at level four. i told them that this was was to much and that they need to take a setp back i told them that even thoguh they loved the sport it deosn't mean that they won't get bored after alot and that 9 hours was enough, the girls frowned at me and got over it. So Yes you are deffinetly right if we see and injury or burnout or that they are simply adn suddenly becoming bored becuase they train to often then you should deffinetly take a step back and slow the pase.
 

gymbabisMom

Parent/Coach
Jan 8, 2006
178
Ahwahnee, CA
Very interesting article. I know gymbabi could do with more hours in the gym, but She and I have to struggle to have any time for ourselves as it is. My personal opinion (which I'm sure doesn't count for much) is that little girls who are still growing should never come to gym more than 12 or 16 hours a week. It's just too hard on thier bodies. Plus they need time to be little girls.
 
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gracefulone

Guest
I do five hours, plus an open gym of an hour and a half. I compete for the local ymca, so it isn't as competitive. The maximum hours are 10, for any level. (4 nights a week). No one I know goes four nights a week though. I really like it. I love th esport, but I want to do other things too. I do cheerleading( twice week, games on fridays) and am getting started with a quartet, and preparing a difficult violin solo. I also have at least an hour of AP world history homework everyday, and am a member of french and internatioanls clubs. I also coach. I would never be able to do everything I do with 12-20 hours a week of gymanstics. Although I'm always busy and scheduled, I love the way things are working out right now, an am well-balanced.
 
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perfect10nist

Guest
I go 12 hours a week: 4 hours a day, 3 days a week. I also try to go to open gym on Fridays which is 2 hours, so 14 hours. During the summer I go 16 hours a week: 4 hours a day, 4 days a week. I also have to take a dance class at the gym so I did that for the first time today. Apparently no one else signed up so I was the only one there and it was really awkward.
 

gym law mom

Active Member
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Dec 23, 2006
2,527
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Our gym has the Level 5s practice for 10.5 hours/week and the 6s do 14 hours. I know it goes up alot when they move to optional, but I'm not quite sure I want to deal with that issue right now. This gym does train girls in the elite level, but I think compared to other gyms in the state, we are about average for the number of hours, our compulsory girls put in.
 
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hammy

Guest
The gym i trained it worked about the following:

Level 4's---9 hours
Level 5-6--12-15 hours
Level 7-8---15-20 hours
Level 9-10---20+

The Gym I currently work at..b/c i moved
Level 4--9 hours
Level 5-6--15-20 hours
Level 7-8--20+hours
Level 9-10--25+hours

Those are estimates--i just moved here so i'm not 100% positive but they are around there.
 
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