Blog Gymnast Training Structure:
Efficacy and Recovery
- The best motor learning happens after the first hour of practice (warm-up): between hour 1 and 2. The brain is fresh and can tell the body to work with good technique.
- After this, the athlete starts to fatigue and they start to compensate, which means learning bad habits or poor technique as “compensation.” (Do NOT want to teach/learn bad technique or positions or habits).
- If the practice is intense with a lot of routine repetition, 3 hours is long enough. Most injuries occur when athlete is fatigued, typically after the 3rd hour.
- A 4th hour is OK if it’s low intensity with several rest breaks
- Older athletes may not need as many hours in the gym, but their practice should be very efficient
- There should be at least 2.5 hours between practices; 3 hours is better
- In a 7 day cycle, there should be at least one full day off
- Consider one full day off and one half day if training twice per day
- After 3 days of two practices (6 practices), there should be a day off
- Consider giving an afternoon off and then the next morning off. There will be 24 hours of rest but still some training each day
- Taper training leading up to competition so that the athlete is fresh and ready to compete. Tired athletes the push hard for competition are at a higher risk of injury
- There should be a full day off after competition for mental and physical recovery<
- After 3-4 hour practice, the athlete should eat right after and it is important to have protein after a hard practice
- Athletes should eat 1 hour before competition but should have a snack (protein bar, yogurt) during. An athlete cannot perform optimally for 4-5 hours without nutrition, especially in a high stress situation where they will burn a lot of energy (will do better with a small snack). Example: runners doing a 2 hour race have a banana during the race; volleyball athletes had yogurt packs during the gold medal match in the World Championships