Strength to Move Up

Gymnastics Level: 6 practicing for 7

Dear Coach,

My daughter is 13 years old. She is in level 6 practicing for level 7. She has had a very rough year because her scoring was very low on everything except beam. The coaches are telling me that she may not be able to move up to level 7. She is also pretty weak. Is there anything that you recomend that may help her? I was going to ask the coaches to kind of personally help her, or maybe try to help her get more muscle. Do you have any advice?

Start Weightlifting

I would advise starting right now and doing a weightlifting program. Your daughter is old enough to go to most health clubs (with an adult to supervise). I advise using weight machines for young gymnasts, rather than free weights, because they are safer for people who are new to weightlifting. Summer is a great time to get good deals on joining health clubs and getting summer only student memberships (although you may want to consider joining year-round).

Efficient and Measurable Strength Progress

Weightlifting is an extremely efficient method of training and you will see significant strength results in as little as 6 weeks. It is also a very measurable way to track your strength building progress.

Learn to Lift

First, your daughter should learn how to lift and how to use the weight machines. She can start with relatively low weights and use all of the weight machines in the circuit.

Track Weightlifting Strength Progress

Have your daughter track her progress on the weight machines by writing down the weights and number of reps she does on each machine in each workout. That way she knows what she has to do to improve on her strength the next time she lifts.

Train To the Point of Momentary Muscle Failure

Eventually, as your daughter learns how to lift, the goal will be to train to the point of momentary failure. This simply means that an athlete does as many repetitions as they can, until their muscles simply can’t physically do the lift any more. Not until they get tired, but until the muscle simply can’t do the lift even one more time. She only needs to do one set to failure on each machine in the circuit.

How Often To Train?

When she first starts, she will be lifting very light weights so she can lift up to three times per week. As she begins to lift heavier weights, she can cut down to only twice a week. This is plenty, considering she will also be doing her gymnastics training as well.

Train to Failure in Gymnastics Conditioning as Well

While neither I, nor your daughter, have control of her strength training program in the gym, she can go to her coach and ask what he suggest she do in the gym to build her strength. If nothing else, she can use the concept of exercising to the point of momentary muscle failure doing her gymnastics conditioning exercises in the gym as well.

Good Luck!

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