, ,

Exactly How To Build a Gymnastics Strength Program in 2021 with Nick Ruddock and Dan Lonsdale

How do you build a strength and conditioning program for gymnasts from scratch?

Where do you start? What exercises? How many times per week? What about when your group is a bunch of mixed levels and abilities? What if you don’t have all the space, equipment, and coaching staff you need?

It can be seriously overwhelming with the amount of information on the internet and social media. Constant new papers and research on things like gymnasts lifting weights, new exercises, and the “real life” world of coaching 20 kids in a group with only 30 minutes and a small floor space.

It can be stressful for coaches to know where to begin.

Due to an overwhelming amount of people in the SHIFT community asking for help, I enlisted the help of my good friends Dan Lonsdale (expert Strength and Conditioning Coach specializing in gymnastics) and Nick Ruddock (International Elite Gymnastics Coach and Consultant) to combine our brains together and literally build a strength program from scratch for you to learn from.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share Dan and Nicks’s wisdom, and we wanted to make sure we helped as many people as possible. So, we recorded the entire thing and posted it on YouTube so you watch us filling the entire Excel spreadsheet. (linked for free below).


You can see us sharing the screen, writing down the exact movements and reps that we would do, along with video examples of each exercise.

We don’t want anyone to be limited by information or access to information, which is why we have generously decided to give all this information away for free when I think in other areas of our sport, people will charge a lot of money for this.

So download the completely free templates of our strength program, blank templates, and some extra recourses like cheat sheets for movements that Dan, Nick, and I put together to help build your get started.

To set the stage, the general scenario we decided to program the 3/4 month offseason for is Sally Superstar who represents 13 to 16-year-old women’s artistic athletes training 17 to 20 hours, 5 days per week, with the goal to be competitive on the regional and the national stage and has college aspirations.

Though it’s not just about artistic gymnastics and it could also be men’s gymnastics, TNT or Acro etc. With the months in mind and training schedule we discuss:

  • What we would do in each of the 5 training sessions, the exercises we would use, the amount set and reps, and explain why we chose what we did.
  • When you should program light days or heavy days and what this means.
  • Dan illustrates the best way to increase strength using proper general conditioning and weight room activities.
  • We explain the importance of core work.
  • What gymnastic-specific floor lines, active flex, and handstands/body alignment exercises to include in warm-up, strength, and throughout a session.
  • Nick goes into detail about his Daily Dozen, examples of exercise but why they are important to gymnasts.
  • How to apply our program to gymnasts that only trains three days per week.

To listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher, click below.

Exactly How To Build a Gymnastics Strength Program in 2021 with
Nick Ruddock and Dan Lonsdale


This information is so important, it’ll increase your athlete’s performance and reduce the risk of injury.

This is the future of gymnastics moving forward, so the more people we can get on board the better healthier athletes we can have. As Dan says,

“You’ve got the tools now, don’t just copy and paste it but try and take the concepts and the principles from it and apply it to your environment and how it’s gonna work in your gym with the athletes you have. It takes six weeks for changes to happen and don’t race to week number six, take your time and plan it through. That’s probably the biggest take home for me.”

Hope you find it helpful!

– Dave
Dr. Dave Tilley DPT, SCS, CSCS
CEO/Founder of SHIFT Movement Science