I’ve written about this topic before, but the mysterious question of how much work to how much recovery is appropriate for young gymnasts continues to be a question that stumps many people in gymnastics.
This topic is something that continues to be hotly debated in gymnastics, especially as emerging research on the concerns for early specialization, year-round training, burnout, and overuse injury risk in youth athletes continues to be a concern (research, here, here, here and here). Threaded on top of this are new concepts emerging about workload usage in sports.
More specifically, how fitness may be protective against injury if intelligently implemented. Also, how sudden unplanned spikes in training volume (lots of repetitions of a certain skill in one night, lots of brand new conditioning, lots of routines because meets are coming) are also very concerning for elevated injury risk. (research here , here, and here)
Many coaches, parents, and gymnasts feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. They want to see progress made in the gym with new skills, routines performed well at meets, and move up in levels, but don’t want to sacrifice the physical and mental health to get there. I know the exact feeling and still struggle to find the balance between pushing forward and pulling back each day in the gym as well as medical clinic.
I get hundreds of questions related to this topic, and unfortunately, treat many gymnasts for overuse injuries that has some baseline mismatch of appropriate work to recovery equations built-in. Some gymnasts are not spending enough time on physical preparation, drill development, and technique, which leads to overuse when they try to ‘trick’ themselves into getting the skill via massive repetition numbers. Others are simply training too much and not allowed enough time to recover between practices. Others have great training environments but lack the education around how to take care of themselves out of the gym to recover well.
Due to how massive of an issue this is in gymnastics, I wanted to help digest some of the research available and offer practical ideas for the gymnastics community. I figured the best way to do this was to share one of my most popular webinars from my online educational platform, The Hero Lab (click here to learn more about it)
This webinar covers many of my current baseline thoughts about properly planning daily, weekly, and monthly training cycles. It also covers basic aspects from the scientific literature about workloads, periodization, and physical preparation. I tie this into overuse injury risk reduction, as well as my thoughts on how to maintain progress in a demanding sport like gymnastics.
You can watch the video, download the audio in podcast form, and download the entire lecture PDF for free. I hope you find it helpful!