Should gymnasts lift weights?
So, I will start by saying when I was a younger gymnast (even into college) I distinctly remember not wanting to lift heavy weights because it would make me “bulky”….what false information!!! It was not until later when I really got interested in weightlifting (it even became my next sport to compete in – along with CrossFit) that I really started to understand how much it could benefit my patients and gymnasts (and did not get bulky 😜). I started using weights regularly with patients and saw great outcomes! I even run a weightlifting class for teen girls to help bring more awareness and get girls exposure to lifting.
Here is how lifting weights could benefit you:
- Make you stronger (this one is probably pretty obvious!)
- Improves athletic performance
- Reduces risk of injury
- Improves bone density
- Improves confidence
- Teaches about fitness outside of gymnastics
Does this mean you should just go out and start throwing weights around! No! It is important if you are going to start lifting you work on doing so well! First is that you are always working on using excellent form, proper movement always coming before adding resistance. Second, you want to make sure you can move through full range of motion before increasing weight. It is also a really good idea to work with someone who has knowledge of strength training, and a bonus if they also have gymnastics knowledge!
If you are interested in weight training but are not sure where to start, feel free to reach out!
Jenny Borda, DPT, is a Physical Therapist and owner of Built by Borda, Columbus OH.