For Parents Hours in the gym?

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I’m interested in how it might be possible to avoid injury in a gymnastics program that includes long training hours for children, high numbers of repetitions of each skill, and the early introduction of difficult skills. I’m particularly interested in how it might be possible to avoid chronic injuries such as stress fractures and growth plate problems in gymnasts who do high volume and high intensity training during adolescence, when they are most vulnerable. Although such injuries should not be common in a group young students, increased training and age exact a toll: for example, recent studies suggest that wrist injuries affect over half of beginning to mid-level gymnasts (although, apparently, many of these injuries are not reported to parents or coaches), and 13 of 19 elite gymnasts (age 13–20) who attended a US training camp had degenerative disk disease or herniated disks. [Clin J Sport Med. 2002 Nov;12(6):348-53; Skeletal Radiol. 2006 Jul;35(7):503-9]

While expert spotting, good conditioning, and padding can undoubtedly help to prevent acute injuries, it’s not clear that they can mitigate the stresses that contribute to growth plate injuries. It doesn’t seem at all clear that increased conditioning can protect children from stress-related injury, particularly if some of that conditioning involves performing high numbers of repetitions of movements that could themselves cause injury. Softer surfaces may be protective—or they could contribute to injury, e.g., by increasing wrist dorsiflexion under load. [Am J Sports Med. 2006 May;34(5):840-9]

Medical experts who study gymnastic injuries recommend limiting the number of repetitions, training periodization with defined rest periods to avoid progressive stress, and reducing training loads during the adolescent growth spurt. [Br J Sports Med. 2006 Sep;40(9):749-60]. Unfortunately, those recommendations are at odds with the pressures some coaches may feel to increase training loads and intensity (especially, perhaps, as girls enter their early or mid-teens), but it is clear that coaching practice in gymnastics has gotten far out in front of the science. In "Injury Prevention in Women's Gymnastics", Bill Sands wrote, "The optimum training of children is perhaps the most important problem facing contemporary gymnastics for women." He also wrote, "Gymnastics coaches often cite the number of repetitions of routines and skills performed by gymnasts from other a compelling reason for increasing training volume." Sands continued, "[M]ethods for training children [in gymnastics] must be investigated further. Without such increased effort, gymnastics and injury prevention will continue as in the past."


Proud Parent
Mar 1, 2007
Hours in the gym

My daughter is 6 and a new level 4. She goes 11 hours a week. I thought it might be too much for her, even held her back another 6 months in pre-team, but she loves it & still has plenty of time to goof off in between things which keeps it fun. As I type now she is running around my living room exercising & won't go to bed, LOL

Feb 27, 2007
hours in the gym

to Laswadde coach in the UK:
Do you mean to say you coach for free?:eek: You must be totally dedicated to the girls and sport:confused:. I do not see any system that would support that:cool:. Do you mean that you work in a school program and that is enough to cover your coaching hour?:confused: Yes there is human error, there is apparatus problems, and there are freak:( accidents and mistakes. No matter how good you are or someone else may be, experience does not insure against all possibilities. In most of your posts you make it sound like you can do no wrong. That is a pretty bold message to imply.:( You must be an awesome coach and your staff must be incredible. Perhaps you have very "teky" stuff at your disposal:confused: Have you ever seen Rocky (number IV, I think). Therin lies a very common tale:fight:. This is the way you are coming across.:D Well, I hope all goes great for you. By the way, I would like to hear from some of the other staff at your facility:rolleyes:. Get 'er done, bye


well no, i dont think I can do no wrong, I have mad emany mistakes as a coach, but i believe all mistakes can be learned from, and yes i am totally dedicated to my girls, and to the sport, i work for absolutley nothing. I dont believe in coaching for money, i coach because i love it, and its my whole life.
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Jun 17, 2007
So I am going to bring this thread up.
I have two daughters. One who is 13 and one who is 11.
The 11 year old one did gymnastics when she was 3-7. She then decided to switch to competitive cheerleading. We started out the 11 year old in competitive cheer when she was 7. Both were placed on a sr lv 5(highest level in cheer) and after last year the 11 year old decided she wanted to switch to gymnastics. She got burned out from being at the gym. She was at the cheer gym for 12 hours a week usually. Sometimes longer especially the weeks before competitions. The 13 year old has decided to stick with cheer. She is at the cheer gym around 18 hours a week because she coaches the minis and youth squads too. She loves it though and wouldnt have it any other way. Now, my 11 year old is a level 6 gymnast. She is only at the gym 8 hours a week and loves it. I know thats not a lot for a level 6 but she really likes it and is progressing fast.
Feb 15, 2007
welcome azmom - It sounds like your girls have a ton of talent:thumbsup: I think its great that your dd's are now both enjoying what they do:) ... & you never know your younger dd may just surprise you after taking some time off and want to get back into the cheer sport, but having fun is what it is all about:D - nic
Jun 17, 2007
Thanks. My daughters do have a ton of talent. Not to brag. hehe. The one in gymnastics is really strong on tumbling and has her full but she is not so strong on bars, beam, and vault. I actually like the fact that she switched to gymnastics. It's giving her a change to try something new. The 13 year old one pretty much hated gymnastics for the 4 years she was in it and she is satisfied with cheer.
Feb 15, 2007
it makes sense with the bars, beam & vault being lessor then the tumbling with her primarily coming from a cheer background.. it is amazing how desire can get you there so fast though.. + I am sure that she has great show exp from the cheerleading for floor... my dd switched from rec gym about 6 months ago where they had never done vault and only spent a few minutes on beam/bars every other week so we were not surprised that those were her weakest as well.... but she has made tremendous progress, it just happens in a blink! good luck & congrats to your dd competing level 6 this year!!:D - nic


i do 9 hours a week for level 4 but you can choose from 3-6 or 9 hours for any level.


My dd is 10 and training level 9. She goes around 20 hours a week. I would love to a video of those 6 year olds doing 20 or 30 presses on the beam.


And another thing, my dd wasn't even doing gymnastics when she was 5 or 6(she started at 7) and has progressed pretty well without the 30-40 hour schedule.
Feb 15, 2007

I remember you mentioning once that your dd trained for 35 hours a week... I was wondering how long and at what levels she trained during that time? and also now that she is training less did she need to switch gyms or was her gym willing to reduce the hours?


For a short period of time when she was 8. She was homeschooled her 3rd grade year, we left that gym she went back to school her 4th grade year now we are back at the original gym and she trains with her level. Now, no one at her age or younger trains that many hours. When she was 8 turning 9 she did levels 5,6 and 7.


Man, I can't believe the hours spent training. I guess it's necessary, but I can't see making kids as young as 6,7,8 being at the gym for so many hours. Wow. maybe the gym that my dd is at doesn't produce many major competitors *shrug*. When my dd moved into the Shining Stars level, I guess that's level 3, she started going 4 hours a week, in 2 two hour sessions. It was an adjustment for her.
Feb 15, 2007
all kids are not created equal though - which seems to cause such a big controversy. My dd spends 15 hrs a week at the gym and loves every second of it, and is always very excited to return... It really is not how long you spend in the gym, but what you are doing while in the gym IMO... there has to be time to work on form, condition, work on old skills, learn new skills, learn routines etc, etc, etc on 4 seperate apparatus, and some kids really truly find these things fun... Look @ Nadia Comanaci, she started training 20 hrs a week at the age of 6 and made it almost her entire career injury free - her 1st injury was actually from blood poisoning because of a cut that got infected on her hand when she was 17 or 18 yrs old...

that all being said I personally think that spending 30-40 hrs a week should be geared toward girls training to be elite gymnasts or elite gymnasts that are training for major competitions. I just don't see the point otherwise.
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gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
Number of hours in the gym varies greatly from program to program. I think it all comes down to what are you doing during that time? 15 hours/week for a little one like LGCM's dd seems a little excessive to me at this point. My daughter who just moved up to L8 at a very competitive gym is doing 18.5 hours/week. The concern I have about a little one in the gym 15 hours/week now, is how much will it increase in say 1-2 years?

Once they are in school full time and doing meets, it is more than 15 hours. You have to factor in all day meets on a weekend(or all weekend) and the free time really gets eaten up quickly. I know you as one parent can't change the number of hours you're dd is expected to be there, but certainly don't feel bad if she wants to skip a practice to go to a birthday party or whatever.

This is one of the big reasons, so many girls quit the sport when they get to be 10 or so. Many other activities to join, but with a heavy practice schedule, they feel locked into gymnastics only.
Feb 15, 2007
I should clarify my previous post... we are currently training level 5 and 15 hrs are our summer hours. During the school year our hours will be from 10-16... 10 for my dd because she won't be competing. 16 for the girls that will be competing. Our hours will not change too much over the next couple of years - not until optionals, IF my daughter still chooses to do the sport at that time. I was very happy our coaches ) clarified their intentions, they really like their girls to compete a full year at each level and consistently score an AA of 36 or better before moving up... they have made exceptions before, but even their level 10's are only in the gym 25 hrs/week this summer
Apr 9, 2007
In our gym hours are:

4's & 5's - 12 hrs

6's - 16

7-8's - 20

9 and 10 - 25

and my one elite is in the gym 40 hours a week but only works out about 32, with the rest spent on school work and other obligations.
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