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What are the Athletic Requirements to be a Gymnast

Updated on July 13, 2011

Gymnastics is a sport that has historically been used as a training and fitness aid.  Originally, it was defined as a series of specific physical exercises which were intended to build and demonstrate physical fitness, such as stamina, strength, balance and coordination.  Current day gymnastics includes the following sports disciplines: artistics gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline.  Being a sport that requires a demonstration of the epitome of physical fitness, the athletic demands upon a gymnast are enormous.

What are the athletic requirements of a gymnast?

1. Strength to Weight Ratio

No other sport places as great a requirement upon an athlete to develop and maintain the optimum strength to weight ratio.  Each and every gymnastic discipline requires intense training to achieve explosive, coordinated and graceful movements.  In general, gymnasts require a biomechanical composition with the maximum amount of lean muscle mass and muscle strength coupled with the lightest possible body mass in order to perform more dynamic and powerful movements.  A high strength to weight ratio enables a gymnast to balance his or her entire body weight with precision and muscular strength, especially for gymnastic disciplines such as the men's rings event and the women's balance beam.

Because of these stringent athletic requirements, gymnasts tend to be fairly short, slim and muscular people.  Their musculoskeletal structures have significant fast twitch muscle fibers that enable them to react quickly with powerful movements that are required in a gymnastic routine.  For instance, the run up for the vault and the execution of the floor exercises in an artistic gymnastics routine. 

2. Core Body Strength

Core body strength is an important athletic requirement for gymnasts as it allows a seamless and coordinated action between the abdominal, lumbar, groin and gluteal muscles of the body to produce the strong and stable positions that a gymnast is required to perform during a gymnastic routine.

3. Balance

Gymnasts require excellent balance both on stable surfaces, such as the floor, and in the air.

4. Flexibility

Gymnasts require flexibility which offers them an optimal range of motion in the joints to create efficient movements and to protect them from specific injuries resulting from the repetitive nature of the sport.  Excellent flexibility is also required to produce the type of movements required to achieve the optimum of points during a gymnastic routine.  For instance, the ability to stretch beyond 180 degrees for a leg split.

To be a successful gymnast, it is important to have the following athletic requirements: strength, endurance, flexibility, cardiorespiratory conditioning, skill and coordination.


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    • tectonic profile image

      tectonic 6 years ago from Singapore

      Handy hubpage that you have presented. Fantastic is all I can say

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      Depends 6 years ago

      Having the ability to do a split mainly depends on your body. Some people's muscles have the natural ability to stretch abnormaly. However some have to have strenuous stretching before they can get a perfect split. I know people who have have years of stretching and still find it hard to make 180 degrees.

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      Reza  7 years ago


      for the ability to stretch beyond 180 degrees for a leg split is gymnastic better or yoga?

      plesae advise

      Thank you