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body size/shape of competitive gymnasts

3 replies

over 3 years ago

I'm a level 7 gymnast (women's artistic) and just out of curiosity, I was wondering if any of you who have been involved in this sport or something similar have any comments about how body size/ shape affected your ability to compete and if you had any health, eating, or exercise habits to share. Any tips you have will definitely be helpful!!!
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  • User_2476
    over 3 years ago
    Hi Belle, I can definitely weigh in on this. Unfortunately with certain sports/activities, natural body shape is a big factor. I did ballet for many years but my height (5'10") proved to be an issue. I'm also not as naturally flexible as other ballerinas, and I have a theory (although it's only based on my observations) that taller girls tend to be less flexible than shorter girls. I also understand your gymnastics query. My sister was nationally ranked in sports acrobatics and had to "retire" at the age of 12 when a growth spurt suddenly made her taller than her base partner. With gymnastics, even more so than ballet, petite girls have the advantage. It just makes the tricks easier. Regardless of your natural body shape, the best thing you can do is be as healthy as you possibly can be. Then you'll have the stamina to overcome any obstacles. For gymnasts in particular, my favorite health tip is to get into a regular yoga routine. Gymnasts tend to have incredible control and flexibility, so the poses aren't always a huge challenge, but if you have any flexibility issues, yoga will help you more than ANYTHING. Gymnasts also tend to overdevelop certain muscles, which can lead to injury. Yoga helps balance that out. But the best thing yoga does for gymnasts is teach them to focus. I'm sure it will take some coaxing to get your coach to allow you to go to yoga 1-2 times a week instead of practice, but if you explain that it will help you in so many ways, maybe he or she will understand. Best of luck to you!
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    over 3 years ago
    Good luck.
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    over 2 years ago

    I did competitive gymnastics up to level 7, and I was not petite. I had an extremely low body fat percentage, but large amounts of muscle mass, and was very healthy. Being muscular was the most important thing in gymnastics when I competed. It didn't matter if you were 70 pounds, or 120 pounds, if you have the muscle to compete than it's ok. Granted, it is helpful to be short with a low body fat percentage. For me, as long as I was flexible and muscular, much of gymnastics came naturally.

    Being healthy and eating the apropriate foods is very important. Fueling your body with lots of protien and nurtients is necessary when you are a gymnast. Otherwise you simply won't have the energy to compete.

    As stated above, yoga is very helpful in flexibility. The practices themselves build all of the muscles you need. Good luck!

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