Gymnasts: Prepare for Impact!

During this period of confinement, we have prepared a short video capsule (available in french only) intended for gymnasts who find themselves deprived of their sport, as well as their parents and their coaches.

Repetitive impacts in gymnastics are a source of stress

In normal times, the majority of overuse injuries that we observe in gymnasts is due, in large part, to the repeated impacts related to the practice of gymnastics. These injuries can affect the lower limbs (like the knees, ankles, heels, etc.) as much as the upper limbs (like the shoulders, elbows, wrists, etc.). We recognize that there is a positive aspect to confinement as it allows the body to rest and gives time for injuries to heal. On the other hand, prolonged rest may not necessarily be very good …


The human body, a wonderful machine!

The human body is a magnificent system that has the capacity to adapt to the variety of stress that we impose on it. In gymnasts, with regular training and all of the impacts involved, there is a remodeling of anatomical structures, such as bones, cartilage, muscles and tendons. In fact, these structures are fortified in order to have the capacity to tolerate these repeated impacts. Injury will occur when we exceed the amount of stress that these different structures are able to tolerate. This can happen when there are significant changes in the training load. For example, when there is an increase in training hours, an increase in the number of impacts (especially on firm surfaces such as during competition), or even after returning from vacation after a few weeks of rest.


Prepare to bounce back!

Despite the fact that we are in confinement, we can already start thinking about returning to sport and ensuring that the body is as well prepared as possible in order to prevent injuries that could occur with the resumption of gymnastics. We know that many coaches have already provided fitness programs for their gymnasts so that they can keep fit at home. These programs generally include core strengthening, flexibility, strengthening of the legs and arms … all are excellent! What we offer you here, are some exercises for the upper and lower limbs that aim to prepare the body for the resumption of repeated impacts. You will see, these may be exercises that you are already doing in your exercise programs. If so, great! If not, you may be able to add them to your program to complete it.

Remember, the goal of all of this is to maximize the chances of returning to training safely and to reduce the risk of injury. On the other hand, when the return to sport is allowed, the gentle and gradual resumption of impacts will be the key to preventing injuries.


Here’s what we have to offer … 

We have selected four key exercises for the upper limbs and four for the lower limbs. These exercises are demonstrated in the video capsule above. Here is a summary of the key exercises:

We hope you find this capsule useful. If you have any doubts or questions, do not hesitate to discuss them with your physiotherapist. We sincerely wish you a quick return to training and above all without injury!