Offseason cardio training is one of the most important things we can do to help build endurance, get our athletes more prepared for pre-season training, and also increase their energy levels for long practices.
Benefits of general mixed off-season cardio training include
- Improved recovery between turns during a practice
- Improved recovery between events, and more energy during practice
- Setting the stage for increased ‘burst’ (anaerobic) routine endurance later in the year
- Helps increase fitness to get through long training weeks, and recover between practices
I used to make the mistake of just sending gymnasts out for long running sessions, or just setting up a whole bunch of panel mats and doing plyometrics for 30 minutes. It’s not that these things are inherently bad or helpful every once and a while, but the mistake I made was not realizing cardio conditioning is specific to the movements being trained.
So although doing more running got people tired and out of breath, it wasn’t necessarily pushing adaptation in the arms, core, and entire body for what is needed in gymnastics. In relation to plyometric panel mats, although these are helpful for creating a technique and stiffness, it usually just created 1000’s of extra impacts and cause some serious shin/knee/ankle crankiness.
Now that I have learned more I have moved away from lots of running or plyometrics in the offseason, and instead, go for more circuit based training, really well-planned strength programs, and better planning throughout the week. Then as the summer or offseason comes to a close, we start getting more into plyometrics and looking at training anaerobic mechanisms to prepare for preseason.
The problem with getting more cardio workouts is, often times with limited time, space, equipment, and lots of other classes/teams in the gym, it can become massively overwhelming for everyone.
To help out, today on the podcast I share how I build cardio circuits, use dense conditioning, and plan throughout the week to make the most of the time. Also, if you want literally all I think about related to cardio training in gymnastics, you can get it in SHIFT’s free Gymnastics Cardio Guide
- Outlines the why and how for training cardio in gymnastics
- Explains the basic energy systems, how to train them, and why it's crucial to prepare gymnasts for routines
- Gives sample workouts for summer, fall and in season to use
You can find the free podcast here as well, hope it helps!
Hope it helps!
Dr. Dave Tilley DPT, SCS, CSCS
CEO/Founder of SHIFT Movement Science