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Strength Training With Weights

JBS

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Any girls teams out there weight training. I am looking to start weight training with some athletes and wondering if anyone has any tips?

Been looking at some of Ellie Blacks posts...

 
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&bs

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If you haven't already come across it, Shift Movement Science has a lot of great info/discussion on the use of weight training in gymnastics.
 
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gymisforeveryone

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We do strength training with weights. We hired a personal trainer (who has background with gymnastics) to make our program. I didn't have enough knowledge.

For the first 3 months or so, they learned the weight lifting techniques, first with dump bells and just the bar, no weights. High reps, small resistance. Even if I thought that the girls already knew how to do proper squats and stuff, I learned that I was wrong. So much to learn about the right technique! After that they started the max phase. Most of the year we are in the max phase. When the competition season comes closer, they start contrast strength phase.

It's SO different to traditional body weight gymnastics strength training! The recovery times are so important! At first I was like "we are wasting time because most of the time they are just sitting and waiting for the recovery time to go up" because in gymnastics world it's always been high reps and GO GO GO all the time! We used to do our conditioning in 20 minutes at the beginning and 20 minutes at the end, but now they do 120 minutes at the beginning or 60 minutes at the end. Every 4th or 5th week is light week with 50 % resistance and more flexibility work.

On two days a week they do this max strength (squats, weighted pull ups, overhead presses and stuff) and 3 days a week more gymnastics specific conditioning, and most of the movements involve weights. They still do rope climbs, leg lifts (weighted), handstand holds, presses, handstand push ups, V-ups (weighted), reverse sit ups and holds (weighted) and some other traditional gymnastics conditioning on those days. But we have given up the traditional gymnastics leg strength training with thousands of jumps up to blocks, squat jumps and stuff. Weighted squats are much better and the gymnasts have become much stronger and very little injuries.

These athletes I'm talking about are 13-18 years old optionals. They started this new program 18 months ago.
Now we have started to introduce weight lifting techniques to younger girls (10-13) in the higher compulsories and lower level optionals.

I recommend finding a professional to get you started! If I had tried to do it by myself, I would have added dozens of different cool movements unlike the professional, who has been very consistent with only introducing a 1-2 new moves every time the cycle changes. She wants to makes sure that the girls learn the proper techniques and that the weight load consistently goes up. She and the girls use an app where they mark their weights and reps and the app tells them how many reps and rounds this time. It also counts the recovery time. It's great!
 

JBS

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If you haven't already come across it, Shift Movement Science has a lot of great info/discussion on the use of weight training in gymnastics.
Yes... I forgot about it though... so thank you!
 

JBS

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Awesome information... a couple of questions for you...
  1. Do they do any "good mornings" or "reverse hyperextensions"?
  2. What is the name of the app you use?

The recovery times are so important!
Yes... you don't want them all to just bulk up... sounds like you have a great trainer.

because in gymnastics world it's always been high reps and GO GO GO all the time!
In the women's gymnastics world I totally agree. It's complete nonsense... it's much more important to do 1 for 1 than a million wrong. Now men's gymnastics wasn't like that for me and it still seems to move much slower.

But we have given up the traditional gymnastics leg strength training with thousands of jumps up to blocks, squat jumps and stuff.
We also stopped doing all of this... long ago. We saw zero change in performance and a great reduction in lower body injuries.
 

JBS

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Just posting to add a link to Shift Movement Science... great stuff here...

 

JBS

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Awesome information... a couple of questions for you...
  1. Do they do any "good mornings" or "reverse hyperextensions"?
  2. What is the name of the app you use?

@gymisforeveryone Also forgot to ask... what equipment do you have at the gym?
 

ReluctantGymMom

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We also stopped doing all of this... long ago. We saw zero change in performance and a great reduction in lower body injuries.
Question for you: our gym does
1.5 hours of conditioning for a 3.5 hour practice - they do lots of pistol squats, plyo (so) jumps, jumps on one leg over mats, etc - I thought more conditioning is supposed to make them stronger for their skills and less susceptible to injuries but we have a LOT of lower body injuries for low levels especially - knees, ankles, pulled muscles. Is a program with “easier” conditioning potentially better?

Also they press down on each other’s knees to straighten the legs and stretch the arms back to stretch the shoulders - how safe is this??
 

gymisforeveryone

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Awesome information... a couple of questions for you...
  1. Do they do any "good mornings" or "reverse hyperextensions"?
  2. What is the name of the app you use?


Yes... you don't want them all to just bulk up... sounds like you have a great trainer.


In the women's gymnastics world I totally agree. It's complete nonsense... it's much more important to do 1 for 1 than a million wrong. Now men's gymnastics wasn't like that for me and it still seems to move much slower.


We also stopped doing all of this... long ago. We saw zero change in performance and a great reduction in lower body injuries.

Reverse hyperextensions yes, but the goal is not to do excessive arch. And they use resistance bands looped in the ankles for these. These movements they do on the day when they do more like pre-hab conditioning. So this is not part of the max strength training.

And good mornings no.

So far they have mostly done these (in the max strength practice):

- Squats always! (front and back, usually front)
- Bulgarian squats
- Nordic hamstring
- This core exercise where they lay on their back, legs up in the air, holding a barbell in the air. Then they twist legs to left and the barbell to right and then return to the starting position
- In side plank, holding a weighted plate on their hip, hip raises
- Overhead presses
- Bench press
- Weighted single leg toe raises in sitting position (partner sits on the knee)
- Weighted pull ups (and come down slowly / eccentric muscle work)
- Weighted leg lifts from arch (there is a back handspring trainer behind their back against the wall bars)

But it's always just 3-4 moves in one practice. Before the actual moves, they always do warm up conditioning. This is usually some kind of squats with no weight, glutes activation, core activation, delts (rear) activation.

The app is called Trainero.

@gymisforeveryone Also forgot to ask... what equipment do you have at the gym?

At first we only had like 5 kettle bells and that was about it... Then we invested on more kettle bells first (one set of everything so 20/15/10/8/6/4kg), and for the first 6 months that was actually enough because the girls could take turns. Then we had to get barbells (2) and plates (maybe like 4x20kg, 4x15kg, 6x10kg, 6x5kg, 6x2,5kg). Now we have enough weights if only one group of 8 is using them, but for two groups conditioning at one time it's not usually enough.

We don't have racks to rest the barbells, so we stack spotting blocks under them. And we use just traditional school gym benches for the bench presses, and they "back up" for each other. And for weighted pull ups we just tie a weight on their waist using thick therabands. And on weighted leg lifts they squeeze an ankle weight between their ankles or knees, this helps to activate the core better.
 
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JBS

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Question for you: our gym does
1.5 hours of conditioning for a 3.5 hour practice - they do lots of pistol squats, plyo (so) jumps, jumps on one leg over mats, etc - I thought more conditioning is supposed to make them stronger for their skills and less susceptible to injuries but we have a LOT of lower body injuries for low levels especially - knees, ankles, pulled muscles. Is a program with “easier” conditioning potentially better?

Also they press down on each other’s knees to straighten the legs and stretch the arms back to stretch the shoulders - how safe is this??
While this type of conditioning may have nothing to do with all the lower body injuries... it did at our gym. And I wouldn't say "easier"... I would say "less".

Stretching the knees and shoulders... we stretch the shoulders like that... we don't do the knees like that anymore... but we never had any issues with it when we did.
 

lostinfog

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I would love if our coaches were open to a PT or sports medicine doctor to observe conditioning and stretching. There are so many out due to injuries and while my DD is young, I’ve always wondered about the weights and conditioning program. My DD doesn’t do weights yet, but at this point in time I would not trust that she would hold them or lift them properly
 

JBS

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I would love if our coaches were open to a PT or sports medicine doctor to observe conditioning and stretching. There are so many out due to injuries and while my DD is young, I’ve always wondered about the weights and conditioning program. My DD doesn’t do weights yet, but at this point in time I would not trust that she would hold them or lift them properly
We have had a trainer in for many years... several different ones over the years... we have learned much over that time. It does take a trainer or team of trainers that will learn and understand your team's specific training style... this means they will need to talk with the head coach and watch practice.

We are not really looking to start with weights until age 12 or 13... younger than that on a limited basis. Learning the correct form is all part of the process of weight lifting.
 

ReluctantGymMom

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While this type of conditioning may have nothing to do with all the lower body injuries... it did at our gym. And I wouldn't say "easier"... I would say "less".

Stretching the knees and shoulders... we stretch the shoulders like that... we don't do the knees like that anymore... but we never had any issues with it when we did.
The knee thing makes me cringe for the kids with knee problems (my kid just hyper extends her legs and she’s good). We tried out another gym and their conditioning was easier for the kids than ours, which could be just that it was less - ours is like...military Bootcamp. Every parent that moves gyms to ours is impressed by the amount of conditioning but I’m starting to wonder if it’s actually hurting more than it’s helping. (Doesn’t help that my kid pulled a thigh muscle in oversplits this week to add to the long list of kids currently wrapped or in braces - this is level 3, 4 so not intense skills)
 

gymisforeveryone

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The knee thing makes me cringe for the kids with knee problems (my kid just hyper extends her legs and she’s good). We tried out another gym and their conditioning was easier for the kids than ours, which could be just that it was less - ours is like...military Bootcamp. Every parent that moves gyms to ours is impressed by the amount of conditioning but I’m starting to wonder if it’s actually hurting more than it’s helping. (Doesn’t help that my kid pulled a thigh muscle in oversplits this week to add to the long list of kids currently wrapped or in braces - this is level 3, 4 so not intense skills)
Yikes! What kind of injuries? And what kind of conditioning? How many reps and rounds?
 

ReluctantGymMom

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Yikes! What kind of injuries? And what kind of conditioning? How many reps and rounds?
They do 30 min bar conditioning, 30 minutes of stretch mixed in with other conditioning and 30 minutes of ab or leg conditioning, depending on the day. Lots of knee pain, pulled muscles, ankle issues - just... a lot for kids under the age of 10 who aren’t doing hard skills yet. No idea of the amount of reps and rounds
 

MuggleMom

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1.5 hours of conditioning for a 3.5 hour practice
That is definitely more than our gym. Pre-Covid they would do maybe 45 min of a 4 hour work out at each practice. (level 3-4 they practiced 3-4 times a week) Now DD is level 7 and still only does 45 min of conditioning (sometimes its home conditioning on zoom and sometimes in gym conditioning varies based on the day). Saturdays they maybe do an hour of conditioning.

Just seems to me like you wouldn't get much time on actual events if over half your practice is just warm up and conditioning. Doesnt sound like much fun for the kids either especially at a lower level.
 

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I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on the numbers of reps, but from what you describe, I would raise my concerns to the coach (there is a possibility that they are aware of the issue and actively trying to fix this) and, if nothing changes, leave.
The injuries you describe look pretty serious and have the potential to cause long-term damage. There is no way a bunch of kids under 10 should need ankle and knee braces to do RO-BHS. It can happen of course, but it shouldn't be a pattern. I also find it worrisome that there are numerous pulled muscles. Sure, overstretching might happen to one overly enthusiastic kid, but it certainly shouldn't be a regular thing.

Honestly, from what you write, it seems rather obvious that you are aware that there is something wrong.
 
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ReluctantGymMom

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I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on the numbers of reps, but from what you describe, I would raise my concerns to the coach (there is a possibility that they are aware of the issue and actively trying to fix this) and, if nothing changes, leave.
The injuries you describe look pretty serious and have the potential to cause long-term damage. There is no way a bunch of kids under 10 should need ankle and knee braces to do RO-BHS. It can happen of course, but it shouldn't be a pattern. I also find it worrisome that there are numerous pulled muscles. Sure, overstretching might happen to one overly enthusiastic kid, but it certainly shouldn't be a regular thing.

Honestly, from what you write, it seems rather obvious that you are aware that there is something wrong.
I am. We have, unfortunately, way bigger issues and will be moving in a few weeks - every gym we’ve looked at is a lot lighter on conditioning, like my kid didn’t even break a sweat, and at first we were like “I don’t know... conditioning is supposed to make them stronger so they get injured less” so we weren’t really sure if it was a good thing, but when I looked around none of their level 3s were wrapped and maybe one level 4 had a heal cup and that’s it. Our gym, not so much and the skills aren’t high level impact skills (we don’t upskill until after season so they’re not doing anything intense).

I had gotten curious if the type of conditioning for lower body was just excessive and could be contributing to it Vs maybe a whole bunch of unlucky kids
 

ReluctantGymMom

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That is definitely more than our gym. Pre-Covid they would do maybe 45 min of a 4 hour work out at each practice. (level 3-4 they practiced 3-4 times a week) Now DD is level 7 and still only does 45 min of conditioning (sometimes its home conditioning on zoom and sometimes in gym conditioning varies based on the day). Saturdays they maybe do an hour of conditioning.

Just seems to me like you wouldn't get much time on actual events if over half your practice is just warm up and conditioning. Doesnt sound like much fun for the kids either especially at a lower level.
Lol it’s def not much fun - I’m always impressed that the kids want to come in and do conditioning for 1.5 hours a day. They do a strict 30 minutes per event and rotate through all 4 each day.
 

MuggleMom

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.5 hours a day. They do a strict 30 minutes per event and rotate through all 4 each day.

Sounds more like cross fit with a side a gymnastics! Conditioning is important but I'd be looking elsewhere for my kid. It sounds like you're leaving which also sounds like a good thing :) We've had a lot of kids in heel cups but not alot of injuries at the lower levels that would definately be a red flag.