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Gymnastics/Strength training question - splitting it up or not?



I am a L7 in the USAG System and have a question about strength training. I train 6 days a week and 3 hours a day.

We usually warm up and stretch (active and passive) for about 40mins in the beginning. Then we do 2 hours of skill work and at the end we are doing press handstand variations for about 20 minutes (with ankle weights, piked etc)
We are not doing conditioning together, but we are asked to stay at the gym to do so.

This is what we are asked to do 3-4 times a week:

3x15ft. rope climb without legs
1 set of maximum pull-ups (usually 10)

3x15 dips
3x10 pike push-ups
1 set of maximum push-ups

2x5 chin-up pullovers with straight arms and straight legs
2x 10 90degree leg lifts
2x 20 full leg lifts
2x 15 stalder leg lifts
3x 10 hanging sit-ups (feet hooked in bar and sit-up)

3x15 reverse leg lifts on horse with ankle weights
3x15 reverse sit-ups with wrist weights

3x10 single leg squats per leg
3x15 squat jumps with ankle weights

Me and my friends usually stay at the gym for one more hour after training on Monday, Wednesdays and Saturdays to condition. But we sometimes felt tired the next day, because we did all of that in one hour.

So we thought about splitting up the conditioning. That way we would only need half an hour more per day, but we wouldn't have to do all on the same day and we would get used to maximum strength work everyday.

Like on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we could do Pulling, Back and Legs and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays we could do Pushing and Abs?

As I said, Handstand Presses are done with the team everyday anyways!

Would it be ok to split it up? Or is it not good and all muscles should be worked on the same day?

Thank you!

ANSWER: Hi Alex,
      I am glad to help you.   I believe splitting up the training is better.  This process will allow you to zero in on more of a range of motion you wish to strengthen.  Working sets in your training allows the muscles to recover and be tested again.  This builds endurance and muscle tenacity.  Train smart and try to pinpoint exercises that directly benefit your weaknesses and the skills you wish to attain.  I wish you the very best and take care – Jack Leonard

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much for your advise - I really appreciate it!!!

And I have one more question (I swear it is the last one) and I would be really thankful if you could help me once again!

What is the hard part about a stalder? The "making it around the bar" or the "hitting handstand" part?

I can do one, but I have learned that a long time ago and it kind of built up over the years because we were working on it every now and then already in the early levels.

My sister has been a competitive acrobatic gymnast for a long time, but now she switched to artistic gymnastics.

She is good on floor, beam and vault and she is also pretty good on bars. She can do a consistent  kip straddle cast handstand on both low and high bar, she has her giants with a spot and her flyaway. Of course, she also has a back and front hip circle, stride circle, sole circle and all the basics.

She wants to have one circling skill that doesn't take too long to learn and isn't super hard.
t think free hip handstands or stalder handstands will take too long to learn!

I think a clear hip to maybe about horizontal would be cool, but she doesn't like the way it looks.
So she would love to have a very small but beautiful stalder circle, it doesn't even need to be to horizontal!
But if the "making it around the bar" part is the hardest thing about it, I think she can't do it, because she wants to learn it in about 6 months or so and she am strong but not super good in technique!

I know that the hard thing about free hips or toe handstands is the timing that you get to finish in a handstand.
"Getting around the bar" is pretty easy if you only go for horizontal or lower.
How is that with a stalder?

Then she could do: Kip - Cast to Horizontal - Stalder Circle - Kip - Straddle Cast Handstand

Thank you!

Hello Alex,
         I am glad to help you.  First you need to understand that not going to the handstand in a skill happens before the action goes to the handstand.  This is a process that occurs with the swing mechanics.  A horizontal clear hip or stalder occurs before the handstand and the process allows the athlete to understand and interpret more action and dynamics in the process.  FYI, the normal gymnast learning a clear hip or stalder handstand is more likey going to make it to the handstand …..starting in the handstand.  The bend of the bar and aggressive action allows the power to achieve the skill.  I have seen many gymnasts who don’t cast to a handstand (because they had a bad cast) still make it to the handstand because they know already the demands of the skill.  The athlete needs to know the demands of the skill to fix it in a bad swing approach or bad set up.  Otherwise, progression is the teacher.
Great video to watch on the stalder:

Great instructional video on progressions to the achieving the clear/free hip circle:

I wish you the very best and take care – Jack Leonard  


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Jack Leonard


Former 5 time Natl. Tumbling Champ, 3 time Natl. Vaulting Champ, Natl. Floor Exercise Champ; Ass`t coach of Dominique Dawes for 6 years; Owner/Director/Head coach of Kauai Gymnastics Academy on the island of Kauai in Hawaii; Retired Physical Ed teacher; Childrens Fitness Expert; Expert Consultant for gymnastics litigation; Retired Mens & Womens HS Gymnastics coach for 32 years. National coaching honors for Men in 1981 & Women in 2001.


I value the following awards because they were given by acknowlegement through my peers: The Nissen/Grissold Award given to the outstanding Tumbling and Tramp Athlete(1972), National High School coach of the year in 1981 for men and 2001 for women, 10 time County Coach of the Year. Medal Award given at the first World Tumbling Championships in London, England for dedication to the sport. Lastly, having the opportunity to coach Wes Suter(1988 Olympian)in his intermediate years and Dominique Dawes(1992 & 1996)

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