Podium Training: Podium training is an officially scheduled practice time and practice session before the start of a large gymnastics competition, when gymnasts get a chance to do their routines on the competition equipment and in the competition arena. At most large and important international meets, the gymnastics competition equipment is raised off the floor on platforms called podiums.
Podium training comes form the concept that in order to help the spectators see the competition better, the equipment was elevated onto a “podium” about one meter off the ground. Even with exactly the same brand and model of gymnastics equipment, competing on equipment on a podium is different than competing and training on equipment on a concrete or other hard floor.
Practice facilities that the gymnasts train on both in their home gym and during the warm-up sessions for meets do not have podiums, so podium training allows gymnasts to get used to the exact equipment they will be competing on. So, podium training is when the gymnasts are practicing on equipment on the raised podium. Podium training is very organized and limited in time.
There is a definite safety factor in allowing gymnasts to train on the podium equipment, since the feel of the equipment can vary somewhat and the feeling of the height of the equipment is also different. Podium gives gymnasts the chance to adapt and get used to the specific equipment on which they will be competing. Gymnastics equipment is standardized but each piece of apparatus can vary depending on the manufacturer. Different texture of materials may be used on beams and the vault table. Floors can be softer or harder. Some bars have more give than other bars made by a different equipment company. Dismount landing mats can also be harder or softer.
Good gymnasts us visual cues when doing their gymnastics skills and routines. Each competition facility is very different visually and gymnasts during podium training can at least partially adapt to them. Of course, when the facility is filled with spectators the visual aspects and the feeling of the facility can be very different.
In podium training and most gymnastics competition warm-ups, gymnasts are given a set amount of time on each apparatus. Gymnasts and their coaches decide which skills they warm-up and in which order. Most good gymnasts have a set warm-up they do at every competition including big meets that use podiums. Podium training is timed by official meet timers and the time limits are strictly enforced.