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Olifting for gymnasts

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JoeSimo

I think the argument assumes we are talking about professional level athletes. I have a strong rebound and a great vertical, but I am not a strict gymnast. I think this discussion could be broken down into 2 parts really. A discussion relating to professional level gymnasts and a discussion relating to the recreational gymnast or fitness enthusiast.

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Scott Malin
I think the argument assumes we are talking about professional level athletes. I have a strong rebound and a great vertical, but I am not a strict gymnast. I think this discussion could be broken down into 2 parts really. A discussion relating to professional level gymnasts and a discussion relating to the recreational gymnast or fitness enthusiast.

Good point, Joe. How do we want to contextualize the fitness enthusiast? I think it'd be interesting to put it in terms of interfacing with the Gymnastic Bodies program. That'd still keep somewhat in line of the original thread title "Olifting for gymnasts."

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Blairbob

Braindx, have you ever tried vaulting or doing punch front series with straight arms? Coming from my days as a sprinter, I find it abhorrent at first. I asked the last coach I worked under about it once and he thought that gymnasts shoulders girdles are much stronger than the average person so they could swing their arms much faster ( whereas as a bent arm swing would be faster typically than a straight arm swing in pairing towards speed of each leg taking a step ). He also commented that over time, whenever he was vaulting, there was a thought about being tight on the board and in the post flight and this somehow made his arms swing straight.

I know I had a lot of problems between the difference of running in a vault speed compared to sprinting. If I ever tried to sprint down the vault, I generally forgot to do everything else correctly. Everything went out the window like running down the field in football or soccer towards the ball ( whether offense or defense ). If I changed my running towards something like I used to do in polevault ( where you save your top speed for the very end and ramp up slowly [ because carrying the pole is a PitA ]) I had a far more useable run on the attempted vault when it came to the hurdle and punch.

I played around with the straight arm run and didn't really find it inhibiting. It works pretty well into a tumbling or front punch pass. I can't be exactly sure but I just tried and my arms are at natural extension ( rather than stiff straight ) when I take 3 steps and hurdle down the hallway.

I remember that old article on Dragondoor and I agree with it on a lot of points. I've worked with a lot of optional level gymnasts and even the compulsory gymnasts have started developing knee and hip problems ( possible also with the Q angle in their hips and knees post puberty ). There has also been a tendency in those program from what I observed to not work on full depth squats, rarely working pistols but as an off skill though working deck squats a lot ( which actually involve a rounded lower back ). There seemed to be a majority of leg work being at 1/4 squat depth ( demi plie gymnastics stick squat position ). Rolled ankles are a common occurence in gymnastics and I'm not sure even a thorough amount of ankle work will prevent the occasional rolled ankle mishap from tumbling or running.

I've rarely seen these hip and knee problems in male gymnasts, though they do not do nearly as much lower body work compared to female gymnasts ( women are tumbling floor, doing dance, doing both of those on beam or vaulting which is 3 out of 4 events, besides trampoline ) because the men only work landings from apparatus besides floor and vault which are typically the last 2 events allocated time in MAG. Working this 1/4 demi plie squat position besides not having to worry about the Q angle in their hips and knee probably saves the men from this.

In Coach Sommer's book or perhaps elsewhere he noted working DB or KB swings as an exercise he used to rehabilitate one of his athletes that had a weakness in their lower back. I can't exactly remember if it was a passage or a comment in a thread.

I think because of the amount of time female gymnasts spend on their legs in their workouts, you have to be extremely careful of limiting hypertrophy. This is a very tough thing to do. You can see considerable hypertrophy even in developmental pre pubescent girls and at times you can observe considerable hypertrophy in their lower bodies at the collegiate levels ( though perhaps this is because they are not so restricted by diet and puberty isn't so restricted by a heavy workload ). It could just be a genetic inclination as well in many of these gymnasts. Dunno. While gaining lower body size and strength can be helpful in their tumbling and vaulting, it does makes bar more difficult. Still it's nowhere near the problem that overdevelopment of lower body growth compared to the men on apparatus causes.

At the end of the day, my interest and promotion of doing some lifting for gymnasts is mainly to target weaknesses caused by gymnastics and their motor patterns. I currently do not think gymnasts need to really put weight on the bar in their lifting ( well anything past bar only ).

An interesting is the body composition of the female olympic weightlifters. I couldn't find any sub 100 pounds, but there was quite a variance of them regarding body fat levels and muscalature. Some of their legs seem of similar size compared to some gymnasts, especially when it came to upper arm size and shoulders. The weighlifters tend towards more trap development however but most seem leaner than many female gymnasts. Of course I'm not talking about the pixies of gymnastics. However, female gymnasts run the gamut of body sizes from the Chinese sprites to Shawn Johnson and Nastia to Sacramone and Khorkina.

Getting back to it and the DD article, I will stick to using WL to make up for weaknesses in athletes. I won't have them doing upright rows and curls on a swiss ball or some silly shit like that unless it's necessary, but I'm not confident that superman body levers and floor glute ham and even front levers will make a strong enough back to withstand the forces that can be created during vaulting. Something like KB swings or light DL variants coupled with pistols and all the other goodness is what I envision is optimal.

Ask me in 10 years, maybe. However, I've yet to be in complete command of a WAG team or program besides rec or developmental squads. I have been in control for a short time ( relatively ) of a MAG program. I need to go find another program to take charge of instead of just play 2nd fiddle or tag along to really implement this stuff and my ideas fully, however.

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braindx
Braindx, have you ever tried vaulting or doing punch front series with straight arms? Coming from my days as a sprinter, I find it abhorrent at first. I asked the last coach I worked under about it once and he thought that gymnasts shoulders girdles are much stronger than the average person so they could swing their arms much faster ( whereas as a bent arm swing would be faster typically than a straight arm swing in pairing towards speed of each leg taking a step ). He also commented that over time, whenever he was vaulting, there was a thought about being tight on the board and in the post flight and this somehow made his arms swing straight.

I know I had a lot of problems between the difference of running in a vault speed compared to sprinting. If I ever tried to sprint down the vault, I generally forgot to do everything else correctly. Everything went out the window like running down the field in football or soccer towards the ball ( whether offense or defense ). If I changed my running towards something like I used to do in polevault ( where you save your top speed for the very end and ramp up slowly [ because carrying the pole is a PitA ]) I had a far more useable run on the attempted vault when it came to the hurdle and punch.

I played around with the straight arm run and didn't really find it inhibiting. It works pretty well into a tumbling or front punch pass. I can't be exactly sure but I just tried and my arms are at natural extension ( rather than stiff straight ) when I take 3 steps and hurdle down the hallway.

Well, sprinting technique is much like good form. Once it's ingrained you don't have to think about it.

I have had no problem sprinting into anything and while there isn't a SIGNIFICANT increase in speed... there is some which translates to more power off the springboard or tumbling. The same is true if you're working with something like power hurdles; the more aggressive you are with it the more power you get out of it.

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alexk

This is my opinion after having done quite a bit of research on improving vertical jump power, training the olympic lifts, and observing people who have trained to increase their explosive power:

Olympic lifts don't have anything special about themselves besides the fact that they are one of the many speed-strength tools to use by any athletes that needs speed-strength in the lower body, similar effects can and have been accomplished with a strength exercise (squat) and speed exercise (sprints, jumps, rebounds, snatch, clean, speed deadlifts, speed squats, jump squats, kettlebell work). Olympic lifters are quick and have high verts because they develop both qualities to a high extent. Gymnasts already do quite a bit of the speed training aspect and lack in the strength department ad if a gymnast wanted to increase his/her vertical they would need to increase their squat quite a bit at least in the double bw catagory. The deadlift in my opinion is an inferior exercise to develop vertical/sprinting power, its a tool that has many uses and even has a place in a vertical/sprinting program but can not be the main concentration.

As for the deadlift and olympic lifting read above about my opinion on the deadlift for an explosive sport. The one exercise that seems to improve your clean without actually cleaning (greatest carry over) is most definitly the front squat. Most olympic lifter do very little deadlifting if any, their high deadlift numbers seem to be a result of their training not the other way around.

As for general fitness, doing things that work your every muscle with each movement is never a bad idea.

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Blairbob

If the hamstrings are weak and holding you back, deadlift variant could help a lot towards hitting what you're capable of sprinting wise. It doesn't need to be deadlifting a BB, hell it could be a KB, KB swing, bands, etc. Especially as gymnasts tend to be quad dominant, and very hip dominant. They can pop that hip but develop weak knees and ankles from lack of a full squat typically trained.

Most Oly lifters are still working through the deadlift variant phases with different positions. I never did DL per say for nearly 10 years as I was never taught anything but the jump shrug ( and not the high pull ). After training to do heavy jump shrugs, it's not like a DL was difficult to pick up or pull good weight on.

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Guest cccp21
I am an Olympic Lifter at the US Olympic Education Center in upper Michigan. I had a massage therapist from Russia who was a gymnast. He later became the massage one of the guys for the Soviet National gymnastics team. He told me that all the athletes when first selected to the sports schools practiced both gymnastics and olympic weightlifting. There is a very strong carryover from gymnastics into Olympic lifting. So if you want your kid to be a succesfull weightlifter or any kind of athlete get them into gymnastics and tumbling at a young age. Several of us top level lifters still perform some gymnastics variations. Handstands and I like to do rings because the support position with your wrists turned out and shoulders open is similar to what you do in the snatch. As far as having gymnasts do Olympic lifting I would have the kids do it with not much more than the bar just to build thier coordination and explosive qualities. As they get older I wouldn't have them do any heavy squats or deadlifts I don't see the need for it. I would have them do Powersnatches and RDLs to improve hip strength and power. As far as deadlifts go we do them but thier carryover is limited even to Olympic weightlifting.

***********What about heavy squats at a low number of reps let's say 1-5 ? have to have some strength to have some power right?

Brandon Green

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Blairbob

Yes, if you remember it has been said earlier that the chinese gymnasts are required to BS 2xBW.

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Guest cccp21
For a gymnast, I have no real input, but for the general fitness enthusiast, the combination is potent.

Both sports are excellent pursuits as noted by the articles author, both with tremendous skill components. So plenty of depth for investigation and a lifetime of practice, as well as being remarkably complementary. The very reason Coach Sommer cites as a weakness for the competitive gymnast is the perfect argument for my own training.

I play Australian Rules Football, but for strength training nothing surpasses gymnastics for upper body and core training, and Oly for lower body and core training. Both keep me entertained during the offseason, and strong and healthy in the joints during the regular season.

This also reminds me of an article that can be found just a few pixels away from Coach Sommer's seminal DD contributions: http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/320/ Seems to add to the discussion, and be based in similar observations, albeit a little more strongly worded...

So for the aspiring fitness enthusiast, pursuit of "supreme bodyweight relative strength" and "supreme external object relative strength" is certainly the way to go!

********** i have to agree. for example to develop the american football player a VERY potent combo would be gymnastics,Oly lifting (including ancillary exercices) and track and field(throws,sprints,plyometric drills)!

Brandon Green

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Joshua Naterman

Sure, and focus on what each position requires for optimal performance. Athletic training has made big leaps and bounds the past 10 years, I think incorporating gymnastics will be the next step, eventually. I have some college players who are very interested in the gymnastics and can see right away how it can help their game.

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Guest cccp21
Sure, and focus on what each position requires for optimal performance. Athletic training has made big leaps and bounds the past 10 years, I think incorporating gymnastics will be the next step, eventually. I have some college players who are very interested in the gymnastics and can see right away how it can help their game.

********* what i was referring to is an example of a gpp program (soviet term) for american football.

Brandon Green

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Joshua Naterman

what is a gpp program? I'm not familiar with the term. I googled and all I came up with was some forum with people talking about farmer walks and sledgehammer tire strikes.

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Jason Stein

General Physical Preparation/Specialized Physical Preparation

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Joshua Naterman

Thanks :)

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Guest cccp21
Yes, if you remember it has been said earlier that the chinese gymnasts are required to BS 2xBW.

************ Since the chinese are world class evidently this is a correct recommendation. From what i understand the present chinese system of sport is a copy(in a manner of speaking) of the old soviet system. I would imagine that the chinese have worked out a scheme where hypertrophy is maintained at a low level or some other compensation(greater upper body strength).

Brandon Green

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Joshua Naterman

Well, with the exception of certain people with genetic predispositions to size, pure strength training won't produce that much size. Also, keep in mind that's not even 300 lbs, and lifting 300 lbs doesn't take much leg muscle.

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Guest cccp21
Well, with the exception of certain people with genetic predispositions to size, pure strength training won't produce that much size. Also, keep in mind that's not even 300 lbs, and lifting 300 lbs doesn't take much leg muscle.

************* What do you think about overhead squats?

Brandon Green

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Joshua Naterman

I think they'd be a horrible exercise during which to lose the bar ^_^

I haven't done any OH squat, honestly. It's probably a great idea as long as you keep good form, but I've got no real experience with it. My shoulder inflexibility has always kept me from being able to properly execute them :) I'm getting better, I might try some tomorrow.

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Guest cccp21
I think they'd be a horrible exercise during which to lose the bar ^_^

I haven't done any OH squat, honestly. It's probably a great idea as long as you keep good form, but I've got no real experience with it. My shoulder inflexibility has always kept me from being able to properly execute them :) I'm getting better, I might try some tomorrow.

************* Might be unrealted but has anyone done one 1 arm decline bench presses to increase the dip?

Brandon Green

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braindx
I think they'd be a horrible exercise during which to lose the bar ^_^

I haven't done any OH squat, honestly. It's probably a great idea as long as you keep good form, but I've got no real experience with it. My shoulder inflexibility has always kept me from being able to properly execute them :) I'm getting better, I might try some tomorrow.

************* Might be unrealted but has anyone done one 1 arm decline bench presses to increase the dip?

Brandon Green

It will work.

But why not just do dips to increase your dips?

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Guest cccp21
I think they'd be a horrible exercise during which to lose the bar ^_^

I haven't done any OH squat, honestly. It's probably a great idea as long as you keep good form, but I've got no real experience with it. My shoulder inflexibility has always kept me from being able to properly execute them :) I'm getting better, I might try some tomorrow.

************* Might be unrealted but has anyone done one 1 arm decline bench presses to increase the dip?

Brandon Green

It will work.

But why not just do dips to increase your dips?

Adaption to stimuli

Brandon

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Joshua Naterman

I've never had any trouble gaining on dips, so I don't know how that works, but a deep decline should work fine. I've found that, at least for me, switching between weighted dips and nonweighted dips works just fine to shake my system up. Recently I've been working on full ROM dips, taking my shoulders all the way down to my hands and then back up. It's harder than I thought lol!

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Guest cccp21
I've never had any trouble gaining on dips, so I don't know how that works, but a deep decline should work fine. I've found that, at least for me, switching between weighted dips and nonweighted dips works just fine to shake my system up. Recently I've been working on full ROM dips, taking my shoulders all the way down to my hands and then back up. It's harder than I thought lol!

***********Which reminds me Overhead press supports have really helped my handstands and handstand presses.

Brandon

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Joshua Naterman

Yea, I'm starting to do more overhead pressing. Sets of 6 with the 80 lb dumbbells are pretty easy, I was surprised. I've gotten a lot stronger from doing the handstand work!

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braindx

************* Might be unrealted but has anyone done one 1 arm decline bench presses to increase the dip?

Brandon Green

It will work.

But why not just do dips to increase your dips?

Adaption to stimuli

Brandon

what's your weighted dip at right now?

You should be able to linearize your weighted dip progress up to about half your bodyweight more or less. From there it may take a bit of more complicated programming, but not that much that you need to switch exercises and hope there's decent transfer (although there may be).

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