Should Gymnasts Lift Weights?

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This was originally an email to a group of gymnastics parents…

A Gymnastics mom recently asked me if her daughter should be lifting weights.

To answer her, I emailed back this study: Should Female Gymnasts Lift Weights?

This is a summary of the study:

Gymnastics coaches and administrators in the US are reluctant to include weight training with female gymnasts because they believe it produces detrimental increases in muscle mass. However, weight training based on high-intensity low-repetition sets is likely to improve the performance of most gymnasts by increasing strength with minimal muscle hypertrophy.

Translated into English, it says: People are scared lifting weights will make the girls too heavy for gymnastics, but training correctly will make girls stronger without adding to their body weight.

This is what people think will happen if a girl lifts weights:


This is what actually happens:


Now, a few caveats on weight lifting for gymnasts:

– The heavy, high-intensity training mentioned in the study should wait until your gymnast has built a solid foundation of strength through gymnastic training

– Resistance training for gymnastics is nothing like traditional bodybuilding programs

– Find the best strength training coach you can, don’t have your brother-in-law train your daughter just because he played football in high school

– Proper weight training actually reduces the chance of injuries during gymnastics

One Response to “Should Gymnasts Lift Weights?”

  1. A Few Posts About Gymnastics | Wold Fitness Notebook Says:

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