WAG Strength to body weight ratio

Parents... Coaches... Judges... Gymnasts...
DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members See FEWER Ads!
Join for FREE!
Not open for further replies.


Apr 12, 2017
I have seen this multiple times on here, but what would be the ideal Strength to body weight ratio? Is there a formula for this?

Just curious
I don't know about the exact ratio, but kids that are light can get away with not being super strong for quite a bit longer than the bigger kids. I've seen kids that are much bigger than the average gymnast, several of whom would probably be medically classified as overweight, do well in gymnastics as long as they are strong. But a bigger, older gymnast that is also weak in the upper body is going to struggle.

Personally, I started gymnastics at 10. I was probably 75% in both height and weight at that age. I was very strong in the legs but not so much in the arms. I was able to progress to L8 but bars was always, always, always a struggle. I could have done at least Level 9, possibly 10 (at that time), on my other events but even at L8, my bars were not good for that level. My meets usually consisted of three 9s and a 7. :-/ It's not impossible, it's just much, much harder.
  • Like
Reactions: Blindside
Sevenatenine, I see my gymmies future.... she is not tall and by normal standards NOT large at all but she is slightly larger for a gymnast. Has always struggled with upper body strength and bars. Gojng for L8 this year which may end up being her plateau (she is 13).
  • Like
Reactions: Jard.the.gymnast
Sevenatenine, I see my gymmies future.... she is not tall and by normal standards NOT large at all but she is slightly larger for a gymnast. Has always struggled with upper body strength and bars. Gojng for L8 this year which may end up being her plateau (she is 13).

Is that her in your avatar? She seems similar to my dd. Mine has lower strength in general - both upper and lower, but particularly upper. She was a preemie and arm/shoulder strength has always been an issue. She was a L8 at 13 and made it to L10. So don't count yours out. Keep encouraging her.

I once had a coach explain to me that - You need enough arm/shoulder strength to get/hold your weight in handstand but after that, it is more the ability to use your core strength to balance and swing. Most gymnast who can hold handstands on the floor have enough strength to hold them on bars. It is the balance and swinging that most gymnasts who struggle with bars don't have - along with fear of circling the bar without support. Even kip-cast-handstand it is more about the swing and balance than the strength. That same coach explained that dd became good at bars because she didn't have a lot of arm strength so she couldn't muscle her way up the bar, even from the early kips. She *had* to learn to swing. She has also had to work a lot more on her core strength.
I used to coach a gymnast who is now 11 years old, and I'm sure that she would be classified overweight. She is short for her age and has always had this built. She's no longer in my group but still does gymnastics and is doing very well. She has strong and springy legs and she's awesome on vault and floor and I think that her weight actually helps there. Now that she has learned her kip she's getting the hang of the bars also and beam would be good if she wasn't so fearful... But she's getting more confident there too.

She can easily do several pull ups, hanging pull overs in a row and is one of the best in her group on leglifts. I can see her going all the way up to the upper level optionals. And if she continues to progress in this sport she will probably lose weight at some point when the hours go up (she's now doing 9 hours a week). But at this point, no one is concerned about her weight.
  • Like
Reactions: PinPin
Gymgal, she is in my avatar although that pic is a few years old. Again, she is by no means "big" for a normal child, just doesn't have that ideal super small super strong hot shot gymnast body. She is strong and beautiful. :) I don't know what the future holds for her, and I don't need her to be any certain level. If she goes higher than L8, super cool. If this is where her limits take her, super cool too. I'm a coach as well and very realistic as far as her gymnastics "career" goes. I have never looked towards college etc for her but if she is happy, healthy and progressing I will gladly keep her in this awesome sport for as long as she wants. I know there is plenty of development and upgrades for her to work throughout the next few years whether she makes it to L9 or 10 eventually or not. :)
In this pic, YG was barely 6 years old a CM and the other 2 were AXS.
In street clothes, she was wearing anything from 18-24 months "get-a-man" jean shorts (only over her swimsuit when going to the lake) to size 6-8 shirts (they were baggy on her) and 6 slim jeans (with the elastic adjusters, thankfully). Her swimsuit was a 2T 2 piece because a one piece that fit her torso was way too baggy. 2 years later, she upgraded to a 5T, lol.
At that time, YG could pick up every single girl on team (up to 150 lbs).

She had been able to hold herself up (hanging on a door jamb) since she was 16 months old.
Dont know if you can tell, but she had a 6-pack.
She was really strong in the legs and had adequate arm strength (could do multiple pullovers), but it was several years before she got her kip... which still comes and goes and she tends to muscle it up.

So strength to weight ratio was roughly 3.75/1... but that doesnt mean much, lol.


  • YG friend and OG.jpg
    YG friend and OG.jpg
    234.5 KB · Views: 94
One thing I've noticed is that many women and girls who have a lower strength to weight ratio or are overweight are unable to do pull-ups and pull-overs. These skills tend to be hard for most beginner gymnasts, and I've had students with a range of body sizes and types who struggle with these things, but I think it's more limiting if you have more weight. Though I have had slightly overweight students who overcome this barrier and build enough strength to learn basic bars skills.

As for competitive gymnastics, my experience was that I really struggled to get my strength to weight ratio high enough. After a certain point, the effort I put into conditioning didn't pay out the way it did for my teammates. Really the only thing that improved my strength and my bars routine was keeping my weight down, but I couldn't maintain that weight without having other negative effects on my physical and psychological health. I wonder if I could have done it more successfully with different environmental factors or if that's just my body type.
To develop strength we train appropriate exercises breaking the muscle tissue down. During rest and recovery the body repairs, hopefully to a stronger 100% recovered muscle. Every person has an optimum number of sets that is optimum for that individual to gain strength. Someone who is having trouble developing strength more times than not is overtraining. It is better to strength train fewer sets with more intensity, this allows the muscle to recover completely and become stronger.

I assume a gymnast wants strength and not muscle mass. This is something that should be considered and watched as athletes train.
I have a densely muscled, athletic looking gymmie. She’s not a big kid but isn’t “light”. Her body just responds to training differently. She has amazing strength and can climb the rope in pike faster than anyone else in her group but my poor muffin can’t swing bars. She has plenty of strength but the rhythm and the ability to let go elude her. It takes so much longer for her to get new bars skills but they look good when she finally does. Now she’s an incredible vaulter, leaper and tumbler which is where her strength helps her shine.
I think it really is a combination of body composition and coordination that’s ideal.
  • Like
Reactions: John and PinPin
I think it's just not as simple as a strength-to-weight ratio. Body shape plays a role, and factors in differently for different events. As noted above, where a person is strong matters too. And flexibility or lack thereof may make some skills easier or more difficult. My son's teammate is very strong and very inflexible. He has a fantastic iron cross and has had it for years. My son is more flexible and very lacking (relatively) in core strength and arm strength now. His yamawaki on rings is probably a little better than his L10 teammate's.
  • Like
Reactions: Aero
Not open for further replies.